What Does Jeffrey Goldberg Know About Iran Anyway?

Just when you get done writing up ignorance about Iran in Israel, former IDF Corporal Jeffrey Goldberg goes and tries to call out Matt Yglesias, who is visiting Israel for the first time, for having written about the Jewish State before he made the Hajj. Goldberg, in a parenthetical interjection, writes:

you’d think with all his commentary on the place he had actually visited once or twice before, but such is blogging

It leads to an obvious question, and Goldberg’s Atlantic colleague Max Fisher beat me to it on Twitter (which we’ve been using, too, @LobeLog ):

I don’t get this criticism of [Matt Yglesias] because I’m pretty sure Goldberg has never been to Iran http://bit.ly/bg8TL1

Well I  have no idea if Goldberg has been to Iran, which he just wrote a nearly 10,000 word piece about attacking. But maybe he’s been there — I don’t know. Maybe he crossed over for a quick visit when he was only fifteen miles away in Halabja, Iraq. Goldberg was there writing a massive piece for the New Yorker, published in March 2002, where the star witness — in a 1000-word section sub-headed “THE AL QAEDA LINK” — turned out later to be a serial liar. But that wasn’t “blogging,” was it — it was a reported piece. (Goldberg, incidentally, sticks by his reporting, or has Eli Lake do it for him anyway.)

Goldberg, of course, supported the invasion of Iraq back then (Ken Silverstein called it “Goldberg’s War”) and, within a year, it was a done deal. On Iran, which I don’t know if he’s been to, he insists that his feeling about a military strike is “profound, paralyzing ambivalence” at least until the end of this year (another two and a half months).

Actually, to find the last major spat between Yglesias and Goldberg, you’d have to go all the way back to November of 2009, when Goldberg was “opposed to a military strike on Iran by either the U.S. or Israel for a whole range of reasons… publicly and vocally opposed to a strike for some time.” (Yglesias failing to mention Goldberg’s opposition to strikes was what the tiff was about.) I don’t know exactly how long “some time” was, but, if he goes into the ‘Attack!’ camp on New Year’s Day 2011, his stint in the “ambivalent camp” will have been less than five months. And, though I’m still unsure if he’s been to Iran, just this week, he hinted about wanting to go there one way or another when he wrote:

[T]he essential Goldblog question remains: If Teheran doesn’t find negotiations tempting, and if sanctions don’t work, and if the Iranian nuclear program keeps progressing on the path it is on, what will the Obama Administration do?

The man’s needle seems to be moving awfully quickly towards war. And here he is, jibber-jabbering away on Iran, which he has or hasn’t been to — I don’t know.

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.



  1. I think Goldberg is a man with an agenda and is part of the $36 million campaign the Israeli’s have to subvert the US’s media to support not the US’s interests but Israel’s interests.
    The interniew with Tom Ashcroft on “ON POINT” was very telling.
    But,hey, that could just be me and maybe Rick Sanchez.

  2. I was just wondering Ali, would you happen to know whether Jeffrey Goldberg has ever been to Iran? “Enquiring minds want to know.”

Comments are closed.