Jeffrey Goldberg

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

  • Jake Tapper's 'The Outpost'

    In his Second Inaugural speech yesterday, President Obama once again referred to the coming end of the war in Afghanistan. This was a bit misleading, the conflation of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan with the war's end. The actual war might be going on for a while longer, between the Taliban and the forces America trained and supported. And if those forces lose, America might one day be back, if the Taliban once again decides to turn Afghanistan into a safe haven for terror.

    There have been many books written on the subject of America's seemingly endless engagement in Afghanistan, but none better than Jake Tapper's "The Outpost," which manages to do three things at once: It provides us with a gripping, ground-level understanding of the fight to hold a single patch of Afghan territory, and it lets us see the absurdity of so much of the American decision-making in this conflict. And finally, Tapper renders beautifully the lives of America's forgotten soldiers -- the ordinary men from dead-end towns who make up the core of America's all-volunteer army, who risk their lives (and, in this story, often give their lives) for an America that was not, for them, a land of opportunity. I sat down with Jake a couple of weeks ago at The Atlantic to talk about his book. (In the interest of full disclosure, I read several chapters of Jake's book in manuscript form, and made a few minor editing suggestions.) (And special thanks to The Atlantic's Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, who produced, directed, scripted, catered and lit this video.)

  • Obama: 'Israel Doesn't Know What Its Own Best Interests Are'

    Immediately after the U.S. went to bat for Israel at the United Nations in late November, voting against a resolution that called for upgrading the status of the Palestinians (the resolution passed overwhelmingly), the government of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, turned around and announced, over U.S. objections, that it would begin planning a new settlement in a geographically sensitive area of the West Bank. It was a thumb in the eye of the Palestinian Authority, which proposed the U.N. resolution, and it was a bit of a slap at the U.S., which has consistently counseled Israel against settlement expansion.

    In my Bloomberg View column this week, I describe Obama's reaction to Netanyahu's tactics:

    When informed about the Israeli decision, Obama, who has a famously contentious relationship with the prime minister, didn't even bother getting angry. He told several people that this sort of behavior on Netanyahu's part is what he has come to expect, and he suggested that he has become inured to what he sees as self-defeating policies of his Israeli counterpart.

    In the weeks after the UN vote, Obama said privately and repeatedly, "Israel doesn't know what its own best interests are." With each new settlement announcement, in Obama's view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near-total isolation.

    And if Israel, a small state in an inhospitable region, becomes more of a pariah -- one that alienates even the affections of the U.S., its last steadfast friend -- it won't survive. Iran poses a short-term threat to Israel's survival; Israel's own behavior poses a long-term one.

    The dysfunctional relationship between Netanyahu and Obama is poised to enter a new phase. Next week, Israeli voters will probably return Netanyahu to power, this time at the head of a coalition even more intractably right-wing than the one he currently leads.

    Read the whole thing here.

  • A Wonderful New Book About Scientology, by a Wonderful Writer

    Work from "an unparalleled spelunker of the religious mind"

    Working with Lawrence Wright was one of the great pleasures of my journalism career. Even before I met Larry, at the New Yorker, I was a great admirer of his, and my admiration only grew as I got to know him personally, and as I watched him work. There is no more careful reporter in the world than Larry, and no one who is as thorough and as indefatigable.

    "The Looming Tower," of course, is one of the greatest works of narrative non-fiction published in the past several decades, but all of his work on religion -- he's an unparalleled spelunker of the religious mind -- is very much worth reading. Which is why I'm so particularly excited this week to read his just-published investigation of the Church of Scientology, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.

    You can order it from Amazon right here.

  • Egyptian President Calls Jews 'Sons of Apes and Pigs'; World Yawns

    Mohamed Morsi recently deployed an anti-Semitic formulation to describe Jews. Why hasn't it been noted more widely?

    Earlier this month, the Middle East Media Research Institute posted video taken in 2010 of Egypt's current president, Mohamed Morsi, calling Jews the "descendants of apes and pigs."

    The Jerusalem Post provided this summary of his remarks:

    "... Morsi denounced the Palestinian Authority as a creation of "the Zionist and American enemies for the sole purpose of opposing the will of the Palestinian people." Therefore, he stressed, "No reasonable person can expect any progress on this track."

    "Either [you accept] the Zionists and everything they want, or else it is war," Morsi said, "This is what these occupiers of the land of Palestine know - these blood-suckers, who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs." (You can watch Morsi deliver these remarks here.)

    Richard Behar, at Forbes, watched what happened once these atrocious remarks were made public:

    I studied the Pigs-and-Apes story's journey and trajectory through America over the past week with Sue Radlauer, the Director of Research Services here at Forbes. We gave it seven days to see if any of the so-called "mainstream media" -- a pejorative phrase that too-often obscures more than it reveals -- bestowed the hate speech even a few sentences of back-page ink.  Nothing.

    Of course, the demonization of Jews is commonplace and de rigueur in the Arab media (although most Americans wouldn't know that because they are not being made aware of it). But what makes this omission in Big Media especially egregious is that Morsi -- sometimes spelled Morsy or Mursi -- went even further than genetically pairing Jews with lower beasts. As you can see and hear for yourself in the Morsi Tapes, he called for an end to any and all negotiations for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians - droning on that all the land belongs to the latter. He called for a boycott of American goods because of its support for Israel. (Of course, he didn't bother mentioning that American taxpayers have provided nearly $70 billion of aid to Egypt, since it made peace with Israel in 1979, and the spigot continues for now.) He even went so far as to label the Palestinian Authority an entity "created by the Zionist and American enemies for the sole purpose of opposing the will of the Palestinian people and its interests."

    Egypt is the largest Arab country. Morsi is its president. It seems noteworthy that the president of Egypt recently deployed a traditional Islamist, anti-Semitic formulation to describe Jews. Why, then, hasn't it been noted more widely? One possibility is, to borrow a phrase, the soft bigotry of low expectations. Another: Anti-Semites have done such a thorough job of convincing the media that anti-Semitism doesn't exist that when it does pop up it causes a paralyzing form of cognitive dissonance. I'm open to other explanations, so send them my way. 

  • Not So Fast on the Rise of Israel's Far Right

    A dissent from the conventional wisdom that Israeli politics are lurching rightward.

    Michael Singh, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, dissents from the conventional wisdom that Israeli politics are lurching rightward:

    It is incontrovertible that the list chosen by Likud voters in their recent primary -- which includes hardliners such as Moshe Feiglin -- represents a sharp move to the right for the party. It is also correct that a recent poll by Israel's Dahaf Institute indicates that the Jewish Home-National Union party, which is to Likud's right, stands to more than double its representation in the Knesset, taking seats from Likud and its electoral partner, the secular-right Israel Beitenu party.

    What is noted less often, however, is that left-wing parties have also gained. The same poll shows gains not just for the Labor party, but for the far-left Meretz party as well as social-justice-focused Yesh Atid (which did not previously exist), as well as for Tzipi Livni's "Movement" party. The losers are the Likud-Israel Beitenu coalition, projected to lose nine seats, and the centrist parties -- Kadima, which had twenty-one seats but will cease to exist, and Ehud Barak's "Independence" party, which will not field candidates with his retirement from the Knesset.

    Despite this shifting within both the left and the right, the polls indicate an absence of movement between the two poles. The result, rather startlingly, is that despite the churn, the right-left balance is forecast to remain precisely as it currently stands. The data projects not a more right-wing Knesset, but a more polarized one. It also projects a weaker position for Prime Minister Netanyahu in coalition politics, which could well mean a more right-wing government than that he currently heads, though -- depending on what deals he is able to cut -- this is hardly a foregone conclusion.

  • The Rise of Israel's Far-Right

    The editor of the Times of Israel pens a sobering reality-check.

    David Horovitz with a reality check:

    Sixty-five years after those who spoke for the local Arabs rejected a Jewish state, this will likely be an Israel that has voted to reject a Palestinian state -- prompted by a combination of the Palestinians' intransigence, doubletalk, hostility and terrorism, and of Israeli Jews' security fears, historic connection and sense of religious obligation.

    Curiously, however, this dramatic imminent shift in the national orientation stems less from a surge by the Israeli electorate from left to right -- if the polls are accurate, there isn't going to be all that much of that. Rather, it is the right itself that has already shifted. The right has become the far-right. The Likud is both bleeding support to the adamantly pro-settlement Jewish Home, and itself chose a far more stridently pro-settlement slate for these elections: On the Israeli right in 2013, Benjamin Netanyahu, rhetorically at least, is a discordant relative moderate.

    The Israeli right may not grow by much numerically on January 22. Likud, Yisrael Beytenu, Jewish Home and National Union held 49 seats between them in the last parliament, and many polls suggest that those same parties -- some allied, some defunct, some resurgent -- will this time draw a similar number of seats or perhaps just a few more. But this is a different Israeli right, almost certainly helming and setting the tone for our different Israel.
  • Andrew Sullivan Responds to My Last Post

    A question raised and answered

    Andrew writes:

    On Hagel, I wrote that "Goldblog made the calculation, staying politically neutral (which is itself a political decision for him to retain access with both the Obama administration and the American Jewish Establishment)." Goldblog objects:
    What calculation did I make? I simply stated yesterday morning that it didn't seem likely that AIPAC would be making a cause of defeating the Hagel nomination. (Later reporting, by Eli Lake and others, confirmed this.)

    What political decision did I make? I had already written in favor of Chuck Hagel's nomination for secretary of defense -- I even wrote that his straight talk could be good for Israel to hear. "Maybe, at this point, what we need are American officials who will speak with disconcerting bluntness to Israel about the choices it is making," is what I wrote, to the displeasure of some in Andrew's "American Jewish Establishment." How is this neutral?
    I could quibble about the manner and tone of Goldblog's writing on Hagel, but he's basically right on this. I was too hasty and unfair. I apologize.

    I'm not sure what the quibbles would be, but never mind. I appreciate that Andrew revisited his post on the issue.

  • What Is Andrew Sullivan Talking About?

    AIPAC, anti-Semitism, and one blogger's imcomprehensibility

    Andrew writes, under the headline "AIPAC Won't Fight Hagel":

    Goldblog made the calculation, staying politically neutral (which is itself a political decision for him to retain access with both the Obama administration and the American Jewish Establishment):
    I'm not so sure AIPAC will be throwing itself into this fight.

    I actually don't know what Andrew is talking about. What calculation did I make? I simply stated yesterday morning that it didn't seem likely that AIPAC would be making a cause of defeating the Hagel nomination. (Later reporting, by Eli Lake and others, confirmed this.)

    What political decision did I make? I had already written in favor of Chuck Hagel's nomination for secretary of defense -- I even wrote that his straight talk could be good for Israel to hear. "Maybe, at this point, what we need are American officials who will speak with disconcerting bluntness to Israel about the choices it is making," is what I wrote, to the displeasure of some in Andrew's "American Jewish Establishment." How is this neutral?

    And I have also defended Hagel publicly, both in Atlantic posts and in a Bloomberg View column, against the charge that he's anti-Semitic. You can read my defense here. So what is Andrew talking about?

  • About All Those Neocons at the Pentagon ...

    Chuck Hagel does not represent the revolution in thought some of his supporters, and enemies, believe.

    From The Washington Post:

    For neoconservatives, who dominated foreign policy during George W. Bush's presidency, Hagel represents a threat to their continued influence at the Pentagon. He was critical of Bush foreign policy initiatives in Iraq and Afghanistan and has challenged the influence of pro-Israel activists on U.S. foreign policy.

    The previous paragraph actually makes no sense. How much "continued influence" do neoconservatives have at the Pentagon, which is currently run by the Democratic, non-neocon Leon Panetta? And how much influence did neoconservatives have during the reign of Bob Gates, who was an enemy of the neocons? There is no neocon infuence at the Pentagon today, and there hasn't been any for years. I wish people would calm down and remember that Chuck Hagel in many ways resembles Bob Gates in his approach and outlook. Hagel does not represent the revolution in thought some of his supporters, and enemies, believe.

  • Does This Comment Make Chuck Hagel a Philo-Semite?

    What happens when you try to extrapolate from a single decontextualized statement

    From Chemi Shalev:

    President Barack Obama's controversial candidate for the post of U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, believes that in any Middle East peace agreement there is only one issue that is not negotiable: Israel's Jewish identity.

    The former Republican senator from Nebraska, described by conservative Republicans and Jewish critics as "antagonistic" toward Israel and even as a "borderline anti-Semite" wrote in his 2008 book America; Our Next Chapter that any U.S. president is required "to engage actively in the dangerous and politically risky business of peacemaking. We know that a peace settlement will not happen if the parties are left to their own devices."

    However, Hagel added, "there is one important given that is not negotiable: a comprehensive solution should not include any compromise regarding Israel's Jewish identity."

    My take on the accusation that Hagel is an anti-Semite can be found here.

  • AIPAC's Uncertain Role in the Upcoming Hagel Nomination

    AIPAC tries -- sometimes imperfectly -- to both be, and appear to be, bipartisan. And the people who run it aren't stupid.

    I'll have more on the nomination of Chuck Hagel later, but just one note for the moment: There's an assumption out there that AIPAC, the most powerful pro-Israel group on Capitol Hill, will be supporting an all-fronts effort to block this nomination, for all of the reasons being discussed: He's unfriendly to Israel, he's soft on Iran, and so on. But I'm not so sure AIPAC will be throwing itself into this fight.

    AIPAC, unlike, say, the Republican Jewish Coalition, or the Bill Kristol Coalition, tries --  sometimes imperfectly -- to both be, and appear to be, bipartisan. The people who run AIPAC aren't stupid: They know that if they foment strong opposition to Hagel on the Hill, they will earn President Obama's enmity, whether or not they succeed or fail. Discussions inside the group -- and what the group is hearing from its friends on the Hill, and in the administration -- is that the president very much wants Hagel at Defense, and would be very upset if a group whose agenda he has more-or-less supported (a strong no to containment of Iran, maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge, siding with Israel at the United nations) tries to deny him the defense secretary he wants, and who is a personal friend.

    The administration is worried most about AIPAC -- it does not generally pay attention to the editorials of The Weekly Standard -- and its emissaries have been working overtime to ensure AIPAC's quiescence. I could obviously be wrong, and information may come out in confirmation hearings that makes it impossible for AIPAC to sideline itself, but my guess at this moment is that the AIPAC will not mount a significant campaign on the Hill.

  • Kant vs. Augustine on Concealed-Carry Handguns

    Fallows has weighed in on the discussion, in particular on my challenge to TNC, who stated that he was actively uninterested in owning a handgun for self-defense.

    The Obama Administration is floating, via the Washington Post, several fairly serious gun control measures that would, if adopted, most likely have little impact on the pace or devastation of gun massacres such as the one in Newtown, but could, over decades, make it somewhat more difficult for criminals, and the dangerously deranged, to get their hands on guns:

    A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.

    All of these measures are reasonable. Strengthening mental health checks is obviously important, and a national database of gun sales could have some use, particularly for post-shooting investigations, and closing the so-called gun show loophole, as I've written before, would at least place a stumbling block before unqualified gun buyers. But unless and until the government comes up with a plan to radically reduce the number of guns in civilian hands (roughly 300 million, and that number is most likely growing at a torrid pace, because discussion of stringent gun control measures sends gun buyers flocking to stores and gun shows), then not too much will change. Which is why I believe law-abiding, screened and trained citizens should be allowed to carry handguns, if they so choose. It's an unfortunate, but realistic, response (not the only response, of course) to the tragic fact that criminals and the dangerously mentally ill have fairly easy access to weaponry.

    My colleagues Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Fallows have disagreed with me on this, and TNC and I had a back-and-forth on the subject, which you can read here. Fallows has weighed in on the discussion, in particular on my Augustinian challenge to TNC, who stated that he was actively uninterested in owning a handgun for self-defense. (I was arguing, in essence, the Augustinian perspective, that we have a responsibility to defend the lives of others, even if we choose not to use violence to defend ourselves.) Jim came in with this comment:

    Since we're rolling out the big-time thinkers, I'll say that the reason I prefer the Coates side of the argument (more guns are not the answer), over the Goldberg side (in the right circumstances they can be), is well expressed not by Augustine but by Immanuel Kant.

    The whole concept of Kant's "categorical imperative" -- testing an idea by what its consequences would be if everyone acted that way -- seems an ideal match for the "more guns" question. In Jeff Goldberg's hypothetical, I personally would feel better if I, uniquely, had a gun in hand to use against the perpetrator. But I would not prefer a situation in which everyone was carrying guns, all the time, and ready to open fire on anyone who looked threatening. Or even if a lot more people were doing so. Thus for me, a "more guns" policy fails the categorical imperative test. It's better for me if I do it, worse for us all if everyone does it. But read the exchange and see what you think.

    I'm not sure Jim is actually arguing with me here, because I don't believe that "everyone," or any number of people close to everyone, should be carrying guns. I believe that only vetted, licensed and trained citizens should be allowed by their states, or their local authorities, to possess weapons outside the house (and, actually, this sort of oversight for people who don't even want to bring their guns outside would be okay with me).

    The population of concealed-carry permit holders in the U.S. now exceeds 9 million, and this group is responsible for very little crime -- they commit crime at a rate lower than the general population, and lower than police officers, and they certainly, as a rule, don't open fire on anyone who looks threatening. They are not the problem, and concealed-carry generally is not the problem. It may even be part of a solution, until such time as a giant magnet appears over the continental U.S. and sucks into the sky America's civilian-owned weapons, or until the gun control movement convinces the majority of Americans who believe in private weapons ownership to open a debate about the 2nd Amendment.

    In the meantime, I can't get two Newtown numbers out of my head: 26, the number of people, mainly small children, who were murdered in the school; and 20, the number of minutes it took the police to arrive.

  • 'Women Who Own Assault Weapons Have Tiny Penises'

    A survey of the past few weeks' serious commentary (and dreck) on guns and gun control

    I've read a great deal of serious commentary about guns and gun control over the past few weeks. I've also read a lot of dreck. And also some funny dreck. Here is my favorite example, from Todd Hartley in the Aspen Times: "Women who own assault weapons have tiny penises, just like their male counterparts. That would explain why they're angry enough to buy a weapon whose sole purpose is to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible."

    I've also been attacked from every direction for my recent Atlantic piece, "The Case for More Guns (and More Gun Control)." My favorite hostile tweet came from the anti-gun control Twitter commentator @Joescustomrods, who wrote, "Just read your article on gun control. You belong with the rest of the sheeple my freind. Almost 9000% ignorance."

    Almost 9000 percent ignorance? Why "almost"?

    From the opposite side of the gun control debate, the Washington Monthly, the august journal of progressive analysis and opinion, stated the following in a critique of my article: "(Goldberg) spouts libertarian gibberish and wanks off to macho fantasies about whipping out his penis substitute and blowing the bad guys away."

    I would like to answer the Washington Monthly's accusation by denying categorically that I wank off to macho fantasies about whipping out my penis substitute and blowing the bad guys away.

    I'll let actual libertarians answer the first charge. The Washington Monthly, by the way, falsely and repeatedly asserts that the headline on the Atlantic article is "The Case for More Guns," not, "The Case for More Guns (and More Gun Control"). I don't have much hope that the editors will correct that bit about wankery, but they should at least correct the title of the piece.

  • So Many Myths About Guns and Gun Control

    Is Obama going to confiscate your legally owned weapons? Does allowing more concealed handguns make society more dangerous? There's a clear answer to both questions.

    From my Bloomberg View column:

    Myth No. 1: The extremism of the National Rifle Association and its chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, is hurting its cause.

    LaPierre's seemingly unhinged recent performances, first at his no-questions news conference and then on NBC's "Meet the Press," have convinced gun-control advocates and members of the news media that he is out of his mind. He isn't. His appearances were calibrated to appeal to the Second Amendment absolutists who make up the NRA's base, and to help sell weapons manufactured by companies that rely on the NRA to keep their market as unregulated as possible. The NRA's tactic is to gin up paranoia among gun owners that President Barack Obama is going to confiscate their legally owned weapons.

    Myth No. 2: President Barack Obama is going to confiscate your legally owned weapons.

    He isn't. He is so far from doing that it's comical to believe otherwise. There's no constitutional mechanism for him to do so. There's no practical way for him to do so. And he has no motivation to do so, because he's on record defending the rights of sportsmen, hunters and -- this is crucial -- people who believe in armed self-defense to own guns. As Vice President Joe Biden said during the 2008 campaign, "Barack Obama ain't taking my shotguns, so don't buy that malarkey."

    Myth No. 3: There is no proposed gun-control measure that would make the U.S. safer.

    True, there are as many as 300 million guns in the country, with more coming into circulation every day. But some new regulations would help. Closing the so-called gun-show loophole -- which allows many guns to be sold without benefit of a federal background check -- would make it at least marginally more difficult for unqualified buyers, such as felons and the mentally ill, to get weapons. Since 1994, about 1.9 million purchases have been stopped because of background checks. A semi-smart criminal, or a high-functioning deranged person, would still most likely find his way to a gun. But it would be beneficial to place more stumbling blocks in his path.

    Myth No. 4: Renewing the assault-weapons ban is the clear answer to making the U.S. safer.

    "Assault weapons" are defined as such mainly because they have the appearance of military-style rifles. In my definition, any device that can fire a metal projectile at a high rate of speed into a human body is assaultive in nature. How deadly a shooting is depends as much on the skill and preparation of the shooter as on what equipment he uses. Again, it may be beneficial to ban large-capacity magazines and other exceptionally deadly implements. But we shouldn't be under the illusion that this will stop mass killings.

    Myth No. 5: Only pro-gun extremists want to place police officers in schools.

    Before LaPierre took up the cause of armed security protecting students, President Bill Clinton advocated a similar program to assign police officers to schools across the country after the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. "Already," Clinton said at the time, the program "has placed 2,200 officers in more than 1,000 communities across our nation, where they are heightening school safety as well as coaching sports and acting as mentors and mediators for kids in need."

    Myth No. 6: Columbine proved that police officers in schools can't stop massacres.

    It is true that a sheriff's deputy assigned to Columbine engaged in a shootout with the two killers but failed to stop them. It is also foolish to draw broad lessons from a single incident. In 2007, at the New Life Church in Colorado, an armed volunteer security officer named Jeanne Assam shot and wounded a gunman who had killed two people outside the church and two others the night before. Assam most likely saved many lives that day. Does this mean that all churches should have armed security officers in the pews? Again, it is difficult to extrapolate from a single incident. But licensed and trained civilians carrying arms do represent one solution to gun violence.

    Myth No. 7: Issuing more permits for carrying concealed handguns makes society more dangerous.

    There are more than 8 million concealed-carry permit holders in the U.S., and the number grows each year. These are people who are vetted by local law enforcement. They commit crime at a lower rate than the general population. And, by some estimates, they commit crime at a lower rate than police officers.

    Read here for the rest.

  • What the Likud's 14th-Ranked Knesset Candidate Thinks of Arabs

    A shocking quote from a fairly high-ranking Israeli politician.

    CORRECTION APPENDED


    Bradley Burston did me a favor today by resurrecting a quote from Moshe Feiglin, the hard-right Israeli who is number 14 on the joint Likud-Yisrael Beyteinu Knesset list (meaning that he will certainly be a member of the next Knesset). I had forgotten about my interview with Feiglin nine years ago, which was part of my reporting for a New Yorker story on the settlement movement. It's quite a shocking quote, and it's disturbing to see that Feiglin is now a part of the Likud leadership. Here's the quote, in context:
    Moshe Feiglin, a Likud activist who lives in a West Bank settlement and heads the Jewish Leadership bloc within the Party -- he controls nearly a hundred and fifty of the Likud central committee's three thousand members -- believes that the Bible, interpreted literally, should form the basis of Israel's legal system.

    "Why should non-Jews have a say in the policy of a Jewish state?" Feiglin said to me. "For two thousand years, Jews dreamed of a Jewish state, not a democratic state. Democracy should serve the values of the state, not destroy them." In any case, Feiglin said, "You can't teach a monkey to speak and you can't teach an Arab to be democratic. You're dealing with a culture of thieves and robbers. Muhammad, their prophet, was a robber and a killer and a liar. The Arab destroys everything he touches."

    CORRECTION: Feiglin was 14th on the Likud list. On the joint Likud-Yisrael Beyteinu list, he is 23rd.

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