National correspondent for The Atlantic
For the past decade, Jeffrey Goldberg has peddled blatantly false war propaganda with disastrous consequences, fronted for the military-industrial machine, played a key PR role pushing America into war with Iraq, and advanced the agenda of the Israeli military-intel establishment—but he has never had to account for his failures and his lies. Put another way: If Judith Miller was a dweeby Ivy League graduate who worked as a detention camp guard holding Palestinian prisoners, and she never had to answer for her journalistic fraud after being exposed, she would be Jeffrey Goldberg.
The recovered history of Jeffrey Goldberg
- In the early 1990s, Goldberg served as a prison guard at Ktzi'ot, Israel’s largest detention camp for Palestinian political prisoners. In an interview, Goldberg described his prison guard duty as "not ... an entirely negative experience” and “hopelessly exotic for me." The prison has long been criticized for its inhumane conditions, including frequent beatings, lack of drinking water and forced labor. Among the hundreds of books forbidden to prisoners at Ktzi'ot have been The Lord of the Rings and Hamlet.
- In his 2006 book Prisoners, Goldberg described a scene from Ktzi'ot in which his friend repeatedly hit a Palestinian prisoner in the head with a with a heavy, sharp-edged army radio, beating him to a bloody pulp, a beating that Goldberg "deduced was prompted by something [the prisoner] said." Goldberg admits that he lied to cover up the crime: "I found another military policeman, and handed off the wobbling prisoner, who was by now bleeding on me. 'He fell,' I lied."
- Goldberg also admitted he took part in beatings of Palestinian prisoners, but justified it this way: "Unlike [Goldberg's camp guard friend], I never hit a Palestinian who wasn't already hitting me."
- In 2012, Goldberg denied that he was ever a prison guard: "the actual title of my position was 'prisoner counselor,' believe it or not, which meant that I saw after the culinary, hygiene and medical needs of the prisoners." Yet in his book, Goldberg explicitly states that he was more than just a counselor: "I was a 'prisoner counselor,' a job title that did not accurately reflect my duties in the related fields of discipline and punishment, but which did convey the notion that I was not meant to engage the prisoners solely with pepper spray and barked commands." [ 1 ]
- In 1991, right after finishing his prison guard duty, Goldberg wrote an article for the Jerusalem Post titled "More tear gas, please?" in which he explicitly identified himself as an "Israeli" participating in the "armed administration" of Palestinians. "This leaves us, and by us, I mean Israelis of good will, in a quandary: We administer approximately two million people in the occupied territories..." In the same article, Goldberg mocked Palestinian suffering with crude jokes suggesting, for example, "Arab women ... compete in 'Miss Gaza Refugee Camp' and 'Miss Mother Who Sends Her Children into the Street to Catch Israeli Bullets with Their Heads' contests."
- After 9/11, Goldberg became one of leading "journalists" responsible for propaganda that drummed up unfounded terrorist fears in order to scare the public into war with Iraq. Goldberg was one of the key Bush administration media assets used to manufacture non-existent links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.
In 2002, Goldberg published a two-part fake scare story in the New Yorker alleging that the Shia Muslim group Hezbollah had penetrated deep into the United States and was, among other things, running a black market cigarette ring on American soil in order to finance its terrorist operations. He also claimed that Iraq and Hezbollah were likely to attack Israel in retaliation for the impending U.S. invasion of Iraq: "Iraq will fire missiles at Israel—perhaps with chemical or biological payloads . . . But Hezbollah . . . might do Saddam’s work itself." Goldberg won a $20,000 "International Investigative Reporting Award" from the Center for Public Integrity for the story.
That same year, in 2002, Goldberg published a New Yorker article—titled "The Great Terror"—that connected Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein through a single extremely unreliable source: a jailed drug dealer provided by Kurdish intelligence. The London Observer interviewed this same prisoner and determined that he was "a liar" and his story "simply not true." But that didn't stop Dick Cheney, who "twice waved around that prisoner’s story in Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece . . . on Sunday talk shows in late 2002" in order to sell the invasion to the American people.
- "The Great Terror" won the Overseas Press Club's award for "best international reporting in a print medium dealing with human rights," and was praised by former CIA director and active neocon James Woolsey, who called the story "a blockbuster." Woolsey was also heavily cited and quoted in the article and, as some have speculated, might have helped Goldberg with some of the article's "research." [ 2 ]
- In 2007, David Bradley, owner of the Atlantic, was able to lure Jeffrey Goldberg away from his position at the New Yorker to work at the Atlantic by bribing Goldberg with a couple of ponies.
- A 2008 MRI scan of Jeffrey Goldberg's brain revealed that photos of Ahmadinejad and Bin Laden lit up his ventral striatum, an area of the brain responsible for processing reward. Although Goldberg claimed to be puzzled by the MRI results, the implication was very clear: Exploiting fear of Iran and terrorism had brought Goldberg big career rewards. In the same experiment, a photo of Atlantic Monthly publisher David Bradley lit up a part of Goldberg's brain normally triggered when a person looks at his own reflection in the mirror.
- In 2009, Jeffrey Goldberg suggested that American Jews who don't agree with Israeli apartheid policies have given up their Jewish identity—they were no longer Jews, but "anti-Zionists with Jewish parents."
- In 2012, Goldberg took part in a smear campaign initiated by AIPAC against liberal bloggers critical of Israel's policies. Goldberg relied on a quote by a fake anti-Semitism "expert" later scrubbed from existence by the Washington Post to falsely accuse them of anti-Semitism.
- Goldberg's shilling for Israel has become increasingly bizarre and fringe-nutcase, so much so that even former Bush admin lackeys and Iraq War boosters like Andrew Sullivan have started bashing him. Goldberg's degeneration has reached a point where he now cites "birther" conspiracy theory websites as credible sources about alleged Iranian plots to destroy Israel.
- More on Goldberg's prison guard duties here, and his denial here. [↩]
- Description accompanying the award: "In this exposé of the crimes of the Iraqi regime, Goldberg described Saddam Hussein's horrifying gas attacks against Kurdish villages, investigated ties between Iraq and al Qaeda terrorists and explored the scope of Iraq's chemical weapons arsenal. Goldberg spent six months on this assignment, often from places that were off limits to western journalists. A former CIA director, James Woolsey, called the story "a blockbuster." [↩]