Jeff Goldberg’s Exclusive With Bibi – And Over The Top Headline


I am a big fan of Jeffrey Goldberg as a thoughtful, knowledgeable and often fearless journalist, who has interviewed Islamic militants in Gaza, among other hair-raising encounters in his reporting for The New Yorker, and more recently at The Atlantic.

He scored journalistic scoops during the Presidential election with exclusive interviews with both Barack Obama and John McCain, focusing on their views on Israel and other Jewish issues.

This week he landed another major interview, this time with Benjamin Netanyahu on the day he was sworn in as Israeli prime minister. The interview offers insights into Netanyahu’s priorities and strategies in dealing with foreign policy. But it does not make good on its headline: “Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran – Or I Will.”

Nowhere in the Goldberg piece does Netanyahu say that Israel plans to attack Iran, nor does it even hint that the new Israeli leader will offer an ultimatum to Obama.

What it does say, as Netanyahu has been saying now for several years, is that Israel must convince the U.S. and the rest of the world that a nuclear Iran is a threat not only to Israel but to the U.S. and everyone else.

To his credit, when I e-mailed Goldberg about the headline, he acknowledged that it was a stretch, though he added that it reflected the sense he got from Netanyahu’s advisors.

was editor and publisher of The Jewish Week from 1993 to 2019. Follow him at