Jeffrey Goldberg

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Jeffrey Goldberg is an American-Israeli journalist and Zionist political pundit who writes for David G. Bradley's The Atlantic. Whereas The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan is considered a Liberal Zionist, Goldberg is marketed as the paper's right-wing Zionist. Referred to as Netanyahu's "faithful stenographer" by Roger Cohen of New York Times,[1] Goldberg focuses on matters related to Israel and its relationship with the United States in particular. He was influential in building American support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and has been criticized for making alarmist claims and using unreliable sources during the run-up to the war.[2] Goldberg is also known for launching attacks on those who criticize Israeli policy while constantly pushing the claim that Israel is a strategic asset rather than a liability for the US.[3] He has publicly attacked fellow staff members at The Atlantic (as well as the editors for their lack of "editorial standards") for allegedly making comments that are critical of Israel even though the publication and its writers are known to propagate a pro-Israel line.[4]

Early History

Goldberg was born and raised in New York but his self-stated strong identification with Israel saw him joining a Zionist summer camp and Kibbutz during his youth. He relocated to Israel during his college years and joined the Israeli Defense Forces shortly after. His acclaimed book, Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, is a memoir which includes an account of his experience as a guard at Ketziot, an Israeli prison located in the Negev desert were thousands of Palestinians were detained during the first intifada. Still in operation today, Ketziot is known for its harsh living conditions and for imprisoning boys and men without trial.[5]

During his residency in Israel, Goldberg served as a journalist for the right-wing Jerusalem Post. While working as Washington correspondent for The New Yorker, Goldberg produced an 17,000+ word article entitled "The Great Terror" which George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and others referenced as justification for the US invasion of Iraq. In it Goldberg described Saddam Hussein's gassing of the Kurds in long and vivid detail and strongly suggested that Hussein posed the same threat to the US and other nations. Goldberg also suggested that the Iraqi regime had ties with Al Qaeda. The article won the Overseas Press Club award for "Best international reporting in a print medium dealing with human rights."[6]

Goldberg has reported from various political hotspots in South Asia and the Middle East including Iraq, the occupied Palestinian territories, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has received awards from various organizations including the Anti-Defamation League which provided him with their Daniel Pearl Prize in 2005.

Reaction to Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror

Goldberg's 2008 "memoir" about his experience as a young military prison guard at an Israeli-run prison in the Negev desert which detained thousands of Palestinian prisoners during the Second Intifada received several favorable reviews in the mainstream media. The book has been described as a Thomas Friedman-like take on the Israel-Palestine conflict from the personal experiences of an American-Israeli Zionist. Among the most important critical reviews was one written by American-Jewish academic, Norman Finkelstein. In an in-depth article[7] Finkelstein debunks Goldberg's claims and points out factual inaccuracies, as well as Goldberg's own inconsistencies. Far from regarding the book as how it was marketed -- even-handed and critical -- Finkelstein establishes the way in which Goldberg presents Palestinians as inherently violent, a central theme throughout which challenges that perception.

American Middle East scholar Juan Cole also provides a critique of Goldberg's book on his blog.[8]

Online Attacks

Goldberg is known for launching vehement attacks on analysts he disagrees with. He is particularly sensitive to critics of Israeli policy, having even accused fellow staff member, Andrew Sullivan (a Liberal Zionist), of publishing "malicious nonsense" the day after Sullivan posted maps showing Israeli acquisition of Palestinian land.[4] In that same post Goldberg lashed out at The Atlantic staff for their alleged lack of "fact-checking standards." Cohen has also attacked other mainstream reporters, including Roger Cohen of New York Times, who Goldberg refers to as a "Jewish apologist for an anti-Semitic regime."[9]


  • Harvard Professor Stephen M. Walt describes Goldberg as a journalist "...whose intense passion for Israel led him to emigrate there and enlist in the IDF, where he served as a prison guard. I have no problem with that, as Americans are allowed to hold dual citizenship; but it does help you understand why he is quick to attack anyone who criticizes Israel. Objectivity about the Middle East is not his strong suit."[10]
  • According to constitutional lawyer turned political analyst Glenn Greenwald, Goldberg uses two types of "smear tactics:" "guilt by association" and accusations of anti-semitism to silence debate:
...what Goldberg is doing relying on the most standard, by-now-clichéd debate-suppressive tactic of neoconservative Israel-fanatics in the U.S. Anyone who criticizes the actions of the Israeli Government will, for that reason alone, have "anti-Semite" tossed in their vicinity and attached to their name (just as those who criticized the actions of the Bush administration -- say, for attacking Iraq -- were branded "anti-American"). Any American citizen who argues that we are acting counter-productively with our unquestioning, full-scale support for Israel -- the use of American money, arms and diplomatic tools to enable anything the Israeli Government does -- is guilty of the crime of "Israel-bashing" and is condemned as being "anti-Israel."[11]
  • Former AIPAC-staffer-turned-critic-of-the-Israel-lobby M.J. Rosenberg notes that Goldberg's smear tactics are "nothing new," but in 2010 Goldberg began a directed attack on reputable critics of the Israel Lobby because Goldberg anticipates that these people will be the most important critics of his expected call for a US-led war on Iran:
Goldberg has a problem. As an American who chose to serve in the Israeli army (he was a guard at a Palestinian prison camp), he fears that Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer -- who accused the Likud lobby of promoting war with Iraq in their groundbreaking bestseller -- will point out that Goldberg is just about the least credible advocate for war with Iran.[12]
  • Journalist Daniel Luban has argued that Goldberg's use of quotes from insulting emails that he has allegedly received to prove that his "adversaries are all anti-Semites" is a clear distraction method:
...I can guarantee that anyone who writes about the Middle East online for any extended period of time receives plenty of deranged emails and comments from all sides of the political spectrum. Sometimes it is anti-Semitic email ranting about the Zionist Occupied Government of the U.S., and sometimes it is anti-Arab email ranting that there is no such thing as the “Palestinian people,” or that there can be no peace with Muslims because Islam is inherently a religion of war, or that the Palestinians should be ethnically cleansed from the West Bank and driven into Jordan...This means that if one wants to make the case that the “other side” is a bunch of crazed bigots, it’s quite easy to gather evidence by cherry-picking from the appropriate body of crazy emails.[13]
  • Prominent Jewish-American journalist and blogger Philip Weiss has pointed out that Goldberg has refuted the Jewish identity of anti-Zionist Jews:
Jeffrey Goldberg goes after the bloggers panel during the J Street conference and describes it as a group of "anti-Zionists with Jewish parents." Think about that. This is a statement of excommunication. He’s not saying anti-Zionist Jews. He’s saying we had Jewish parents. He’s not even calling us non-Jewish Jews, an insult that hurled by an old Israeli recently. This time we don’t get to be Jews. Thus he equates Jewishness with Zionism, entirely.[14]

Articles of Note

Analysis of "The Great Terror"

Goldberg is known for a series of articles he wrote during the run-up to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq which were used as reference by pro-war advocates. A 17,000+ word article in The New Yorker entitled "The Great Terror" was referenced by members of the Bush administration and has since been debunked by several analysts for its use of questionable sources and deeply alarmist claims. According to Harper's Magazine Ken Silverstein:

What's truly astonishing is that neither the New Yorker nor Goldberg have ever been held accountable for the egregious propaganda that was published prior to the invasion.[2]

On the alleged link between Iraq & Al Qaeda

The allegations include charges that Ansar al-Islam has received funds directly from Al Qaeda; that the intelligence service of Saddam Hussein has joint control, with Al Qaeda operatives, over Ansar al-Islam; that Saddam Hussein hosted a senior leader of Al Qaeda in Baghdad in 1992; that a number of Al Qaeda members fleeing Afghanistan have been secretly brought into territory controlled by Ansar al-Islam; and that Iraqi intelligence agents smuggled conventional weapons, and possibly even chemical and biological weapons, into Afghanistan. If these charges are true, it would mean that the relationship between Saddam’s regime and Al Qaeda is far closer than previously thought.[15]

On Iraq's alleged WMDs

There is some debate among arms-control experts about exactly when Saddam will have nuclear capabilities. But there is no disagreement that Iraq, if unchecked, will have them soon, and a nuclear-armed Iraq would alter forever the balance of power in the Middle East. “The first thing that occurs to any military planner is force protection,” Charles Duelfer told me. “If your assessment of the threat is chemical or biological, you can get individual protective equipment and warning systems. If you think he’s going to use a nuclear weapon, where are you going to concentrate your forces?”
There is little doubt what Saddam might do with an atomic bomb or with his stocks of biological and chemical weapons. When I talked about Saddam’s past with the medical geneticist Christine Gosden, she said, "Please understand, the Kurds were for practice."[15]


  • According to Alexander Cockburn, Goldberg's "The Great Terror" could not have come at a better time for pro-war members of the Bush Administration because it followed a joint FBI-CIA investigation which revealed that the alleged meeting between a 9/11 hijacker and an Iraqi intelligence agent prior to 9/11 (used as evidence that Al Qaeda was linked to Iraq) had not actually happened. Cockburn also notes that Jason Burke of the London Observer visited the Sulaimaniya prison where Goldberg met Mohammed Mansour Shahab, his main source for the "Great Terror," and established his lack of credibility. Burke's claim was also echoed by other journalists:
The piece was gratefully seized upon by the Administration as proof of The Link. The coup de grâce to Goldberg's credibility fell on February 9 of this year in the London Observer, administered by Jason Burke, its chief reporter. Burke visited the same prison in Sulaimaniya, talked to Shahab and established beyond doubt that Goldberg's great source is a clumsy liar, not even knowing the physical appearance of Kandahar, whither he had claimed to have journeyed to deal with bin Laden; and confecting his fantasies in the hope of a shorter prison sentence.[16]
  • In 2006 Ken Silverstein of Harper's Magazine noted that after successfully aiding the Bush Administration by warming Americans to the idea of waging war on Iraq, Goldberg began advising the Democrat Party against calling for a withdrawal because it would be exploited as a sign of weakness by the Republicans:
Goldberg and his friends predicted that events would unfold smoothly in Iraq, and now that they haven't, he wants to make sure that U.S. troops stay put and fight the war that he helped promote. The Democrats, he told the Washington panel, can regain power only by reaching out to their conservative wing (and to voters even further to the right who over the years have migrated from the party to the G.O.P.). He's been interviewing members of this vital voting-bloc, he said, and he was able to report that they would “like to leave Iraq but they'd really like to win Iraq” and are looking for “a party and leadership” that can lead the way to victory.[2]

Analysis of "The Point of No Return"

Former AIPAC staffer turned critic M.J. Rosenberg wrote in July 2010 that Goldberg would produce a report similar to those which he produced during the run-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq in The Atlantic's September issue: "For several days, the Atlantic's Jeff Goldberg has been calling Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer and other critics of Bibi Netanyahu "anti-Semites." Nothing new about that. For Goldberg, a major AIPAC neocon, all critics of Israeli policies are anti-Semites by definition...But why is he obsessing about Walt so much now?...because, in August, Goldberg is coming out with his big Atlantic piece calling on the United States to bomb Iran so that Israel does not have to.[12]


"The Point of No Return" is an article in the September 2010 issue of The Atlantic where Goldberg argues that if the Obama Administration does not halt Iran's alleged nuclear program within a certain timeframe (March 2011), Israel will launch a military attack. The article has been described by analysts as a pressure piece aimed at persuading the Obama Administration to attack Iran militarily on Israel's behalf. At its core is the argument that the US and Israel's interests in the Middle East align and that Iran's nuclear program presents an "existential threat" to Israel even though analysts have been providing evidence proving the contrary for years. Goldberg admits that he has been considering the possibility of an Israeli military strike against Iran for "more than seven years" and has "interviewed roughly 40 current and past Israeli decision makers about a military strike, as well as many American and Arab officials,"[17] but while Goldberg suggests that a military attack against Iran is inevitable and frames his report towards considering the question of who will launch it, analysts have pointed out that even he inadvertently highlights the implausibility of an attack when he cites resistance from key figures in both Israeli and US society. In every Iran-focused article Goldberg has written in recent years he has emphasized the notion of an Arab-Iranian divide and highlights this in "The Point of No Return" while ignoring a recent Brookings Institution poll that shows support for Iran has actually increased in key Arab states since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.[18]


Due to Goldberg's alleged framing of support for the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, his 2010 Iran-focused "The Point of No Return" was met with several significant critiques almost immediately after its publication.

  • US foreign policy expert Stephen M. Walt argues that a central aim of Goldberg's article is to "mainstream" the idea of launching a military attack on Iran:
In short, a central purpose of this article is to mainstream the idea that an attack on Iran is likely to happen and savvy people-in-the-know should start getting accustomed to the idea. In other words, a preemptive strike on Iran should be seen not as a remote or far-fetched possibility, but rather as something that is just "business-as-usual" in the Middle East strategic environment. If you talk about going to war often enough and for long enough, people get used to the idea and some will even begin to think if it is bound to happen sooner or later, than "'twere better to be done quickly." In an inside-the-Beltway culture where being "tough" is especially prized, it is easy for those who oppose "decisive" action to get worn down and marginalized. If war with Iran comes to be seen as a "default" condition, then it will be increasingly difficult for cooler heads (including President Obama himself) to say no.[19]
  • According to Eli Clifton, Goldberg is toeing the neoconservative line on Iran which aims to force the US to attack Iran on Israel's behalf:
A consensus appears to be forming in neoconservative circles that the best way to force the Obama administration to launch a military attack on Iran’s alleged nuclear facilities is to convince the White House that Israel is prepared to attack with or without a green-light from Washington. Of course to make this threat work, hawks need to convince the White House and the U.S. public that the Israelis just might be foolhardy enough to attack unilaterally...Jeffrey Goldberg, a Corporal in the Israeli Defense Forces during the first Intifada, would seem like a useful messenger for those seeking to put pressure on Obama to either ramp up sanctions or, ultimately, commit the United States to a potentially disastrous military attack.[20]
  • US foreign policy analyst and academic Trita Parsi argues that Goldberg's article is part of a campaign to garner support for a US military attack on Iran because Israel needs to portray Iran as a threat in order to halt the possibility of Iran developing good relations with the US -- a result which make Iran a competitor to Israel's own relationship with the US:
But it wasn’t new Iranian capabilities or a sudden discovery of Iran’s anti-Israeli rhetoric that prompted the depiction of Iran as an existential threat. Rather, it was the fear that in the new post-Cold War environment in which Israel had lost much of its strategic significance to Washington, improved relations between the US and Iran could come at the expense of Israeli security interests. Iran would become emboldened and the U.S. would no longer seek to contain its growth. The balance of power would shift from Israel towards Iran and the Jewish state would no longer be able to rely on Washington to control Tehran. "The Great Satan will make up with Iran and forget about Israel," Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University in Israel told me during a visit to Jerusalem.[21]
  • Steve Clemons writes in The Washington Note that Iran's behavior is not that of an irrational state that would militarily attack another nation:
“My own view of Iran differs from that of Netanyahu who told Goldberg, "You don't want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs." While I am uncomfortable with and oppose a nuclear-armed Iran as well, Iran has shown itself to be a strategic, rational, albeit ruthless, calculator of its interests -- not an irrational, suicidal nation. It has been at odds with the U.S. for decades and displays more the attributes of a severe abuse victim whose view of the world and its options have been distorted and mal-shaped from being under regime change siege for so long. There is no likely quick fix to the absence of trust between Iran and the US and its allies.[22]
  • Paul Woodward argues that even though Goldberg focuses heavily on the prospect of Israel bombing Iran, he doesn't provide any substantial war plan scenarios because it is a logistical implausibility:
Even if Goldberg is participating in a neocon game of bluff, the only kind of bluff worth engaging in is one that has credibility. To make a credible argument that Israel has the intention of going it alone, Goldberg would have to present the outline of a credible plan of attack. He doesn’t even try...And he prefaces this “plan” by saying Israel only gets one try. That’s not even a back-of-an-envelope war plan. It’s more like a Twitter war plan...Five years ago Kenneth Pollack dismissed the idea that Israel could attack Iran on its own. I don’t see any reason to doubt that his analysis on the military logistics of an attack still remains sound. Indeed, there seem to be plenty of Israeli analysts who concede that Israel simply does not have the option of going it alone. Even Goldberg quotes an unnamed Israeli general who says: “This is too big for us.”[23]
  • Goldberg ends his article by indirectly suggesting that the US and Israel's interests in the Middle East align and that heeding to Netanyahu's demands will also benefit the Obama Administration:
When I asked Peres what he thought of Netanyahu’s effort to make Israel’s case to the Obama administration, he responded, characteristically, with a parable, one that suggested his country should know its place, and that it was up to the American president, and only the American president, to decide in the end how best to safeguard the future of the West. The story was about his mentor, David Ben-Gurion...Peres went on to explain what he saw as Israel’s true interest. “We don’t want to win over the president,” he said. “We want the president to win.”[24]

Former Bush Administration staffers Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett conversely argue that "greatness" for the Obama administration will not result from serving Israeli interests:

Regarding Iran, what constitutes "greatness" for Obama? Clearly, Obama will not achieve greatness by acquiescing to another fraudulently advocated and strategically damaging war in the Middle East. He could, however, achieve greatness by doing with Iran what Richard Nixon did with Egypt and China -- realigning previously antagonistic relations with important countries in ways that continue serving the interests of America and its allies more than three decades later.[25]

War on Iran


Following the release of secret diplomatic cables between the US and other world governments by WikiLeaks (the event became known as "cablegate"), journalist Antony Loewenstein pointed out that Goldberg use the cables to "vindicate claims that the “Arab lobby” are behind attempts to bomb Iran."[26] Writes Goldberg:

Here’s another fact that might astonish Walt and Mearsheimer: It turns out that the Jewish lobby wasn’t even the main lobby working to bring about an attack on Iran. It was, according to the treasure trove of State Department cables released by Wikileaks, the Arab lobby — whose lead lobbyist is, by the way, the King of Saudi Arabia (which is a big job, since he’s also in charge of the world’s oil supply) — that was at the forefront of an intensive, even ferocious, anti-Iran lobbying effort. For Walt and Mearsheimer to acknowledge that the Arab lobby, and not the Jewish lobby, was the prime mover of this issue would mean that they would have to recall their book, and somehow stuff back into a bottle all of the anti-Semitic invective they unleashed in the book’s wake. So don’t expect an apology anytime soon.[27]

Loewenstein went on to argue that Goldberg was "avoiding the elephant in the room pointed out by Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein."[26] Writes Silverstein:

t’s undoubtedly true that many nations did urge the U.S. to take action. But what even U.S. diplomats note in the secret cables, is their frustration that figures like the Saudi king would not make such statements publicly and would not support U.S. action against Iran were it to happen. So what you have is a case of the leaders and diplomats from these countries telling their U.S. interlocutors what they think they want to hear. And even if we presume that these leaders do want the U.S. to attack, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and no nation except Israel wants to eat this pudding.[28]

Loewenstein's final response to Goldberg's take:

Let’s not forget that if Iran is bombed or attacked, some of the key public figures pushing for this action are Jews, the same people who advocated the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, attacks in Pakistan etc. Clearly Arab dictatorships fear a regional rival but radical Zionists and Israel will receive the lion share of blame if Tehran is under attack. Hello anti-Semitism.[26]

Previous Statements on Iran by Goldberg

Goldberg has been widely criticized for allegedly mainstreaming the notion of the US launching a military attack on Iran (see "Analysis of "The Point of No Return") by indirectly suggesting that if the US doesn't attack, Israel will, and it is in the US's interests to do it on Israel's behalf. Analysts within the US and elsewhere have been accordingly arguing for decades that a military attack on Iran by the US will not only have grave consequences for the US, but for the region as a whole -- a notion that is accepted by experts on the right and left of the political spectrum. For example, global security analyst Paul Rogers argues that "An attack on Iranian nuclear infrastructure would signal the start of a protracted military confrontation that would probably grow to involve Iraq, Israel and Lebanon, as well as the USA and Iran." Rogers's report "concludes "that a military response to the current crisis in relations with Iran is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further."[29]

  • In a May 2009 op-ed for the New York Times, Goldberg compares Iran to the "Amalek," the leader of a biblical group of "nomads" that attacked Hebrews and were subsequently annihilated. In Jewish tradition the Amalekites symbolize the archetypal enemy of the Jews. "Israel’s Fears, Amalek’s Arsenal"[30] received a sharp response from prominent Jewish-American blogger Richard Silverstein, who regards Goldberg as "willing tool of Israel’s perception management campaign for Iran war":
Iran is NOT Amalek. The children of Israel did nothing we know of to deserve Amalek’s murderous attacks. That is how the Bible justifies the genocidal command to annihilate Amalek. Iran, and Muslims, while they have no right to kill Israelis, certainly have a right to denounce them in strong terms. This is far from Amalek. And that is the danger of abusing theological categories for political purposes. What Bibi is doing is a toxic distortion of Jewish history. As a Jew who loves and studies the history of my people, I deeply object to his falsifications.[31]
  • In every recent article that Goldberg has written about Iran, he has pushed the case for exploiting an alleged Sunni-Shia divide (by building a Sunni-Israeli allegiance) to counter an Iranian rise to power in the region. Goldberg's "How Iran Could Save the Middle East"[32] is a good example of this claim which he repeatedly makes.
  • Goldberg has written several attacks against US foreign policy experts and former Bush Administration members Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett. Their responses include important critiques of Goldberg's recommendations for US-Iran foreign policy. See:

On alleged Gulf Arab Support for a Military Strike on Iran

In July 2010 Goldberg blogged about an interview with Yousef al-Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to Washington, alleging that the UAE endorsed a military strike on Iran: "he did say the U.A.E. would sooner see military action against Iran's nuclear program than see the program succeed."[33] One hour after publishing that post, Goldberg put up another one entitled "UAE's Ambassador Endorses an American Strike on Iran (Cont'd)," with further remarks intending to prove his understanding of the ambassador's position.[34] However, UAE officials quickly denied Goldberg's representation of al-Otaiba's comments and clarified their position on military action on Iran:

These statements came as part of general discussions held on the sidelines of an unofficial gathering and were taken out of their context in which Al-Otaiba was speaking...The UAE has already declared, more than once and in official statements issued by the Foreign Ministry, its position on the Iranian nuclear issue. The UAE totally rejects the use of force as a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue and rather calls for a solution through political means that are based on the international legitimacy, transparency as well as the need for working, through the International Atomic Energy Agency, on the right of all states to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The UAE, at the same time, believe in the need of keeping the Gulf region free of nuclear weapons.[35]

Prominent blogger Paul Woodward adds that Goldberg "glossed over" the point of the "stage interview" -- Palestinian nationhood -- to focus on Iran instead:

As Goldberg’s blog posts after the interview also made clear, when it comes to Iran, the topic that interests him above all else right now is pumping up support for a military strike against Iran. When the UAE ambassador pointed out that Palestine is the core issue in the region, Goldberg simply glossed over the fact.[36].

Contrary to Goldberg's claims, a 2010 poll released by the Brookings Institution shows that support for Iran's nuclear program has been on the rise in key Arab states.[18]

Castro's Confession

On September 7 and 8, 2010, Goldberg made headlines around the after he reported that in an interview with him Fidel Castro had called on the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to 'stop slandering the Jews' and confessed that the 'Cuban Model Doesn't Even Work For Us Anymore'.[37][38] Goldberg claims he went to Cuba on a personal invitation from Castro, who had read his recent article on Iran and Israel. He was accompanied by his friend Julia Sweig of the Council on Foreign Relations. Despite the attention grabbing headline, the actual post doesn't have Castro saying such a thing to Ahmadinejad at any point. According to Goldberg, 'Castro's message to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, was not so abstract'

Over the course of this first, five-hour discussion, Castro repeatedly returned to his excoriation of anti-Semitism. He criticized Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust and explained why the Iranian government would better serve the cause of peace by acknowledging the "unique" history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence.

After relating encounters of Christian anti-Semitism from his own childhood, Castro, writes Goldberg added that

the Iranian government should understand the consequences of theological anti-Semitism. "This went on for maybe two thousand years," he said. "I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. I would say much more than the Muslims. They have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything." The Iranian government should understand that the Jews "were expelled from their land, persecuted and mistreated all over the world, as the ones who killed God. In my judgment here's what happened to them: Reverse selection. What's reverse selection? Over 2,000 years they were subjected to terrible persecution and then to the pogroms. One might have assumed that they would have disappeared; I think their culture and religion kept them together as a nation." He continued: "The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust." I asked him if he would tell Ahmadinejad what he was telling me. "I am saying this so you can communicate it," he answered.[37]

In other words, Goldberg's Castro made a general statement about Jewish persecution over history, and advised the Iranian government to be sensitive to these concerns. He also made some insensitive comments about Muslims. Other than the headline, however, nowhere in Goldberg's article does Castro call on Ahmadinejad to 'stop slandering the Jews.'

In his followup post Goldberg describes Castro greeting Adela Dworin, the president of Cuba's Jewish community, with a kiss. Goldberg comments parenthetically: 'another message for Ahmadinejad, perhaps.' It is not clear if his statement is ironic.[38]

Castro Recants

In his followup post, Goldberg quotes Castro as saying that 'The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore.'[38] Like the Ahmadinejad quote, it made international headlines. But it has been denied by Castro: he says his comments were about capitalism, not the Cuban system. He also accused Goldberg of 'manipulation.'[39] The interview has also been treated by some journalists. Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein writes:

If there weren't pictures, I'd think Jeffrey Goldberg's meeting with Fidel Castro was fabricated. It's just too incredible to be believed.[40]

On the use of Unverifiable Sources

  • Lebanese-American Political Scientist As'ad AbuKhalil has criticized Goldberg's tendency for making claims which are invulnerable to refutation because they are based on conversations with sources who are dead and therefore cannot confirm or deny the quotes attributed to them. Commenting on a Goldberg article[41] in which he attributes particularly extreme views to two assassinated Hamas leaders (Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi and Nizar Rayyan), Abukhalil asks:
why are those people that he identifies as rabid anti-Semites confiding in him of all people, and revealing their innermost thoughts to him? I mean, Rayyan did not talk to the press and did not talk Arab journalists but for some reason he felt that Goldberg, having served in the Israeli terrorist army, is the right person to confide in, especially on Sunni-Shi`ite matters. [42]





  1. Roger Cohen, 'Israel Cries Wolf', New York Times, 8 April 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ken Silverstein, 'Goldberg's War', Harper's Magazine, 30 June 2006
  3. Glenn Greenwald, 'The Jeffrey Goldberg Media',, 27 June 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jeffrey Goldberg, 'Andrew Sullivan Revises History (Again)', The Atlantic, 12 March 2010
  5. Martin Asser, 'Palestinians languish in Israeli jails', BBC, 8 August 2003
  6. Overseas Press Club of America website, accessed 25 July 2010
  7. Norman Finkelstein, Jeffrey Goldberg's Prison, CounterPunch, October 6/7 2007
  8. Juan Cole, "Cpl. Jeffrey Goldberg, Guarding the Prison of the Nationalist Mind", Informed Comment, 17 March 2010
  9. Jeffrey Goldberg, A Memo to Roger Cohen, The Atlantic,10 April 2009
  10. Stephen M. Walt, The problem with judging a blog by its commenters (updated), Foreign Policy, 21 July 2010
  11. Glenn Greenwald, 'Jeffrey Goldberg's gasping, dying smear tactics',, 20 February 2009
  12. 12.0 12.1 M.J. Rosenberg, 'Why Jeff Goldberg Is Losing It', TPM Cafe, 23 July 2010
  13. Daniel Luban, 'Somebody Get Jeffrey Goldberg A Tissue',, 23 July 2010
  14. Philip Weiss, 'Jeffrey Goldberg suggests anti-Zionists aren’t Jews', Mondoweiss, 28 October 2009
  15. 15.0 15.1 Jeffrey Goldberg, 'The Great Terror', The New Yorker, 24 March 2002
  16. Alexander Cockburn, 'Hacks and Heroes: Meet the New Yorker's Goldberg; Israeli Draft Resisters; Bulworth Screenwriter Lashes New York Times; Are Drunks' Dreams Corrupt?', CounterPunch, 28 February 2003
  17. Jeffrey Goldberg, "The Point of No Return", The Atlantic, September 2010
  18. 18.0 18.1 Jim Lobe, "Iran Benefits from Arab Disillusion with Obama", IPS, 5 August 2010
  19. Stephen M. Walt, "Mainstreaming war with Iran", Foreign Policy, 11 August 2010
  20. Eli Clifton, "Is Jeffrey Goldberg Trying To Rationalize Another Preemptive War In The Middle East", Lobe Log, 10 August 2010
  21. Trita Parsi, "A campaign for war with Iran begins", Salon, 13 August 2010
  22. Steve Clemons, "Jeffrey Goldberg Probes Israel's Iran Strike Option: Is Netanyahu a "Bomber Boy?", The Washington Note, 10 August 2010
  23. Paul Woodward, "You must do what we can’t, because if you don’t, we will", War in Context, 11 August 2010
  24. Jeffrey Goldberg, "The Point of No Return", The Atlantic, September 2010
  25. Flynt Leverett & Hillary Mann Leverett, "The Weak Case for War with Iran", Foreign Policy, 11 August 2010
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Antony Loewenstein, "The key players behind attacking Iran are radical Zionists", Antony Loeweinsten, 1 December 2010
  27. Jeffrey Goldberg, "The Impotence of the Pan-Semitic Front", The Atlantic, 30 November 2010, accessed on 1 December 2010
  29. Paul Rogers, Iran: Consequences of a War, Oxford Research Group, February 2006
  30. Jeffrey Goldberg, "Israel’s Fears, Amalek’s Arsenal", New York Times, 16 May 2009
  31. Richard Silverstein, Jeffrey Goldberg, Willing Tool of Israel’s Perception Management Campaign for Iran War, Tikun Olam, 17 May 2009
  32. Jeffrey Goldberg, "How Iran Could Save the Middle East", The Atlantic, July/August 2009 Issue
  33. Jeffrey Goldberg, 'UAE Ambassador on the Challenge of Iran', The Atlantic, 6 July 2010
  34. Jeffrey Goldberg, 'UAE's Ambassador Endorses an American Strike on Iran (Cont'd)', The Atlantic, 6 July 2010
  35. Staff Report, 'UAE envoy's Iran statements 'taken out of context, Gulf News, 7 July 2010
  36. Paul Woodward, UAE ambassador confirms: Palestine is the core issue, War in Context, 8 July 2010
  37. 37.0 37.1 Jeffrey Goldberg, Fidel to Ahmadinejad: 'Stop Slandering the Jews', The Atlantic, 7 September 2010
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Jeffrey Goldberg, Fidel: 'Cuban Model Doesn't Even Work For Us Anymore', The Atlantic, 7 September 2010
  39. Mauricio Vicent, Castro dice que fue malinterpretado y "es el capitalismo el que ya no sirve", El Pais, 10 September 2010
  40. Ezra Klein, [1], Washington Post, 10 September 2010
  41. Jeffrey Goldberg, Why Israel Can’t Make Peace With Hamas, New York Times, 13 January 2009
  42. Asad AbuKhalil, 'When Jeffrey Goldberg interviews the dead', 'The Angry Arab Blog,' 14 Jaunary 2009