Some Straight Questions for Jeffrey Goldberg

Obama's statements in a recent and well publicized interview with Atlantic Monthly's Jeffrey Goldberg had clear anti-Semitic elements. That was noted in various articles. But what about Goldberg?

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

OpEds Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld

Jeffrey Goldberg is a senior American journalist who recently interviewed US President Barack Obama for the Atlantic Monthly.[1] He has interviewed Obama in the past, and in this latest interview, Goldberg brought up the Iran nuclear deal and ISIS, and also asked Obama for his opinion on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.[2]

In their discussion of the conflict, Goldberg did not challenge Obama on his use of double standards against Israel and his other observations of extreme bias. The president expresses what he calls “tough love for Israel”, while remaining silent about the major Islamo-Nazism in Palestinian society. In light of Obama’s tilted perspective, I have prepared a few questions for Goldberg should he have the occasion to conduct a future interview with Obama and should he decide to become a more objective journalist.

Goldberg could start, for instance, by asking Obama: “Mr. President, when I interviewed you in May 2015, you spoke about how we should be ‘repairing the world.’ Yet, if we look at the world in its current state and compare it to how matters stood were when your presidency began in 2009, it seems that the main issue at hand should be how to prevent the world from going further downhill."

“Relations between the West and Russia were much better when your presidency started than they are today. The Middle East is in far greater chaos today than it was in 2009. Genocidal movements in the Muslim world have greatly expanded since 2009.

What are you doing about preventing the world from becoming even more chaotic instead of fantasizing about repairing it?”

Goldberg could then ask, “You made a variety of statements about Israel having to live up to Jewish values, with some of those values largely invented by yourself. What makes you an authority to speak on Jewish values? Why should anyone believe that you have more than a superficial and distorted understanding of them?

“In the past, you have even been known to radically misrepresent Islam when you declared that ISIS is not Islamic.[3] The Pew Foundation investigated support for al-Qaeda in various countries while Bin Laden was alive. There was wide backing for al-Qaeda in a variety of Muslim societies in 2014. Among Palestinians it was around 25%.[4]  

Al Jazeera, the international TV station of Qatar – a country which opposes ISIS -- asked its Arab viewers in May 2015 whether or not they agreed with the values of ISIS. Of the more than 50,000 who replied, 81% agreed with ISIS.[5] Even if it were 10% that would have been shocking. A variety of Muslim theologians across the Muslim world agree that ISIS’s views are a legitimate form of Islam.[6]

Mr. President, what makes you an authority on Islamic values to such an extent that you may belittle the conclusions of all these Muslim people regarding Islam and what it represents?

“You state that Israel should take risks to achieve a two-state solution. The late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took irresponsible risks when he chose to have Israel withdraw from Gaza in 2005. He was warned by Israeli experts that Hamas or Al Qaeda would take over the area. This is exactly what happened. Israel has been under violent attack from Gaza for years. Yet Israel is frequently criticized by the West when it defends itself against Hamas, an Islamo-Nazi movement that clearly states in its charter and elsewhere that it wants to exterminate the Jews.[7]

"Mr. Netanyahu says that ceding additional territory would ultimately lead to having it taken over by Islamic terrorists. Netanyahu says this in view of the current Middle East reality,[8] and there are strong indications that he is right.”

Goldberg could continue by asking this question: “Hamas came out as the largest Palestinian party, gaining the majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament during the only democratic elections that have ever been held in the Palestinian territories - those of 2006.[9] Hamas clearly states its aim of exterminating the Jews. Its top representatives have repeated this attitude publicly during Israel’s 2014 Protective Edge campaign.[10] Recent polls show that if elections were to be held at present, Palestinians would prefer Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah over the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas.[11]

Why do you claim that Mr. Netanyahu errs in saying that any territory Israel would cede would fall in the hands of Islamic terrorists and why would you want him to take this risk?

Goldberg’s next question could be, “During the interview, you criticized the existence of Israeli checkpoints. You know that these checkpoints were installed in order to reduce the number of Israelis being murdered by Palestinians.

Isn’t your approach an example of an increasingly frequent phenomenon, that of progressives indirectly supporting murderers, for instance by remaining silent about Palestinian Islamo-Nazism?”

A further question to Obama could be, “You speak of avoiding double standards. You criticize Israel out of your so-called attitude of ‘tough love’. Yet you remain silent about the widespread Palestinian Islamo-Nazism and the many crimes of Islam, a religion from which far more criminality emerges than from any other religion. You are also silent regarding the frequent, radical, anti-Semitic hatred emerging from large parts of the Muslim world.”

The US State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism defines double standards as acts of anti-Semitism.[12]

Why should your use of extreme double standards regarding Israel not be considered acts of anti-Semitism?”

Another question: “You confessed your love for the Jewish people. Why, then, did you call the murder of Jews in the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris ‘random attacks’ while they were so clearly anti-Semitic ones?”[13]

And finally, “In your speech in the Adas Israel Synagogue in Washington, D.C., given a few days after our interview, all you said was that the “Palestinians aren’t the easiest of  partners.”[14] As their biggest party is the Islamo-Nazi Hamas, this remark was a caricature of reality.

Why do you consider that your flagrant understatement regarding Hamas, while heavily criticizing Israel, is not yet another expression of extreme double standards?  

If Mr. Goldberg requires further clarification on the issues raised above, I’ll be happy to provide it.


[1] Jeffrey Goldberg, “‘Look ... It’s My Name on This’: Obama Defends the Iran Nuclear Deal,” The Atlantic, 21 May 2015.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Statement by the President on ISIL,” The White House, 10 September 2014.

[4] "Concerns about Islamic Extremism on the Rise in Middle East,” Pew Research Center, 1 July 2014.


[6] Graeme Wood, “What ISIS Really Wants,” The Atlantic, March 2015.

[7] “Hamas Covenant 1988,” Yale University Law School, 2008.

[8] Calev Ben- David, Jonathan Ferziger, “Netanyahu Says He Won’t Allow Palestinian State If Elected,“ Bloomberg, 16 March 2015.

[9] Scott Wilson, “Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in Mideast,” The Washington Post, 27 January 2006.

[10] “Hamas Spells it Out: Our Aim is the Extermination of the Jews,” Israel National News, 29 July 2014.

[11] “Special Gaza War Poll,” Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 26-30 August 2014.

[12] “Defining Anti-Semitism,” U.S. Department of State, 8 June 2010.

[13] Tom McCarthy, “White House backs Obama claim that victims of Paris deli attack not 'targeted,'” The Guardian, 10 February 2015.

[14] “Obama: Like Israelis, Palestinians have right to be free on their land,” Haaretz, 22 May 2015.