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

Isaac Herzog: The Man With Small Answers

The leader of Israel's Labor Party says he has the solution for the diplomatic deadlock. But he's really part of the problem.

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit Israeli leader of the center-left Zionist Union Isaac Herzog speaks with Israeli voters persuading them to vote for him in the upcoming Israeli elections in his party headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, March 16, 2015 a day ahead of legislative elections. I saac Herzog, the nominal and ineffectual leader of the Israeli opposition, has found what he believes to be a platform for challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: despair of reaching a two-state agreement in the foreseeable future. The main lesson of this exercise is that despair is not an inspiring political message. But then, Herzog has never been accused of being an inspiring politician. Despair does not provide a reason to act; it is an excuse for failing to do so. The danger of Herzog's despair isn't just that it will provide the current Israeli government with one more PR argument for inaction, but that it will also fuel the sense in other capitals that there's nothing to be done about the...

They Don't Mind Being Called McCarthyites

A process of political selection in the Israeli right favors paranoia and disregard for democracy.

Abir Sultan, Pool Photo via AP, File
Abir Sultan, Pool Photo via AP, File In this January 18, 2015, file photo, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett speaks with the media ahead of a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “ In most cases, it turned out he was right,” Ronen Shoval tweeted in Hebrew a few days ago. The “he” in that sentence refers to Joseph McCarthy. Shoval, founder of the attack-dog organization Im Tirtzu, was responding to critics who charge his organization and its allies in government with McCarthyism, as described here in Peter Dreier's article this week. Shoval's answer was to happily accept the label. He's not alone. Knesset Member Ofir Akunis of Prime Minister's Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party once responded to the same charge on a TV talk show with, “Every word [McCarthy] said was correct.” Shoval sometimes plays the part of McCarthy so well that one wonders if he knows that the Cold War is over. In an interview with me five years ago, he not only accused the New Israel Fund (NIF) of “aiding...

Washington Discovers the Occupation Is not a Good Thing

The U.S. ambassador to Israel has harsh, honest, and long-overdue words about Israeli actions in the West Bank.

AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File
AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File In this Sunday, April 22, 2012 file photo, Israeli flags fly over the Ulpana neighborhood in the West Bank settlement of Beit El near Ramallah. D an Shapiro is not just a diplomat, but the U.S. ambassador to Israel. For someone in that politically fraught job, Shapiro made an unusually clear remark this week about Israel's actions in the occupied West Bank. But before looking at Shapiro's comments, I must tell a story. On a Friday in March 2014, Abbas Momani—a Palestinian photographer for the AFP news agency—drove to the Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah to shoot a weekly, virtually ritual confrontation between Palestinian teens and Israeli soldiers and police. Momani was a bit late. The Israeli forces had already broken up the Palestinian protest, which had included throwing rocks at the adjacent Israeli settlement of Beit El. Then they'd had a second face-off with a group of settlers, who'd thrown stones in the opposite direction and attacked...

Why Are Democrats Voting for Israeli Settlements?

The Customs Bill, set to pass the Senate soon, includes a provision protecting Israeli settlements. 

AP Photo/Cliff Owen
AP Photo/Cliff Owen U.S. Senator Ben Cardin raises his hand as he and Senator Lindsey Graham walk on-stage to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, Sunday, March 1, 2015. S ometime very soon, the U.S. Senate will pass a bill that requires the government to treat the West Bank as part of Israel. Not only that, it will obligate the administration to pressure other countries to do the same. These provisions have provoked no serious opposition as the bill has worked its way through the congressional maze. Instead, Democratic lawmakers raise their hands to do the work of the GOP-Likud axis, in what may be a bizarre act of penance for their own courage in supporting the Iran deal last summer. The bill's own language says it's aimed at fighting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. In reality, it may actually encourage boycotts of Israel. The bill says it's meant to preserve the “sustainability of peace”...

Terrorists Want You to Be Very Afraid. So Don't Be.

Panic, wild hyperbole, and hatred of Muslims are victories for the Islamic State. So please, chill out.

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews Shoppers approach an NYPD anti-terror patrol unit in Herald Square, New York City, on November 27, 2015. T he original meaning of words is washed away by overuse. So a reminder: Terrorism is intended to make you feel terror, to make fear flood your mind and keep you from thinking straight. That's true whether it takes place in Paris, San Bernardino, or Jerusalem. The first step in defeating terrorism, therefore, is to chill out. Take a long slow breath. Then we can talk calmly about things to do next. Here's a small example to start with. In October, when the current wave of terror attacks began in Israel and the occupied territories, a major Israeli supermarket chain removed knives from its kitchenware shelves. It was done without fanfare. The owner of the chain explained that it didn't make much sense to have a guard at the entrance checking handbags for weapons—a standard precaution in Israel—if someone could walk in, grab a knife off at Aisle 3, and start...

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