Gershom Gorenberg

Gershom Gorenberg is a senior correspondent for The Prospect. He is the author of The Unmaking of Israel, of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 and of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. He blogs at South Jerusalem. Follow @GershomG.

Recent Articles

The Reinventor

Which Shimon Peres will be remembered depends on what his successors do.

AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File
AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File The late Israeli President Shimon Peres listens during a meeting at the president's residence in Jerusalem on October 28, 2013. S himon Peres had a superhumanly long career in politics. By the time he'd been in public life for 60 years or so, it seemed fair to expect that three things would never happen: that he would win an election, that he would die, and that it would be possible to make an accurate assessment of what he believed, finessed, and accomplished. In 2007, Peres finally won election to the ceremonial post of president of Israel. Yesterday he died. The accurate accounting, if it's ever possible, will have to wait much longer. If a CV of public service were enough to attract voters, Peres certainly had one. On the eve of Israeli independence, still in his early 20s, he was put in charge of manpower and arms acquisition in the Haganah, the militia that became Israel's army. In a standard account, he wanted to move to a combat role, but...

So Let the Settlers Stay. They Won't.

Netanyahu's strange new PR video is a bluff that deserves to be called out.

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit Jewish settlers march during a demonstration against the proposed decision to evacuate a West Bank outpost in the Ulpana neighborhood, in the West Bank settlement of Beit El near the Palestinians city of Ramallah, Monday, June 4, 2012. I overheard the conversation on a home-buyers' tour of West Bank settlements. No, I was not thinking of buying anything. It was May 1992, a few weeks before the Israeli election in which Yitzhak Rabin was expected—correctly—to defeat Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. In a bid to preserve its policies, Shamir's government was trying to sell every house available in the settlements, at incredibly low prices. Big newspaper ads announced free bus tours to see the offerings. I decided to slip onto a bus, listen, and watch. At one stop, a young guy posed a question to the guide. “What if they give it all back?” he demanded. He had his arm around his wife, who looked even younger and was noticeably pregnant. They were the definition of...

The Beach Movie of the Absurd

The Burkini fuss isn't just an embarrassment for France. Diversity is under attack across the West.

AP Photo/Claude Paris
AP Photo/Claude Paris A bylaw forbidding women to wear burkini is posted on an information panel at a public beach in Villeneuve-Loubet, French Riviera, southern France, Friday, August 26, 2016. A t midday last Friday, in an upstairs room in central Copenhagen, 1,400 miles north of the beach in Cannes, jumma prayers began: A woman imam chanted the call to prayer and another delivered the Friday sermon. It was reportedly the first female-led Muslim service in Scandinavia. The event at the Miriam mosque, as the room in Copenhagen is now known, garnered far fewer headlines than the controversy over Muslim women wearing full-body bathing suits on the beaches of southern France. To be fair, the Copenhagen service wasn't a stand-alone breakthrough. A women-led, women-only mosque began holding services in Los Angeles last year. It's been over 20 years since the female scholar of Islam Amina Wadud gave the sermon at Cape Town's Claremont Main Road Mosque, at the invitation of Rashied Omar,...

Things That Aren't Genocide: The Iran Deal and the Occupation

The Israeli defense minister’s Holocaust comparison, like that of the Black Lives Matter platform, is a serious political mistake.

AP Photo/Dan Balilty, File
AP Photo/Dan Balilty, File Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman walks under a screen showing him and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the inauguration of their election campaign in Jerusalem in December 2012. “ What possible foreign policy purpose could that serve?” That, more or less, was the first tweeted response I saw to the statement issued by Israel's Defense Ministry, which means by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. It equated the year-old Iran nuclear deal to the 1938 Munich pact, which, it said, “did not prevent the Second World War and the Holocaust, precisely because [the] basic assumption, that Nazi Germany could be a partner to any kind of agreement, was wrong.” Yes, folks, it's 1938 again. The statement was a response to a comment by President Barack Obama. It served no foreign policy purpose whatsoever. But it does serve another, unintended purpose: It spotlights an irrational, maddening, misleading motif in how people—from government leaders to...

Why Netanyahu Suddenly Wants a Deal on U.S. Aid

The prime minister, in an attack of good sense, realizes that a GOP victory may not be good news for Israel.

Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP
Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday, July 24, 2016. H ere's one more twist to the Year of Bizarre Politics: Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel and Republican-in-all-but-name, has recognized that the best deal on American aid he can get is from Barack Obama. The timing of this decision, just after the GOP formally nominated a certain oft-bankrupt businessman and racist agitator for president, may be a coincidence. People running out of a house just as smoke starts coming out the windows, I suppose, could also be due to some coincidence. The more logical explanation is that like many of his conservative ideologue friends, Netanyahu has concluded that a Republican victory in November will not bring salvation. Here's the plot line up to now: The current 10-year U.S.-Israel memorandum of understanding on military aid will expire in 2018. It provides for $3.1 billion per year in American...

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