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

Tough Like Tzipi

As Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni prepares her run for prime minister while Hillary Clinton ends her run for president, the question becomes: How tough must a female candidate be?

One line of Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's resume has always been an enigma. From 1980 to 1984, it says, Livni served in the Mossad. This week, some details of her work in the ultra-secretive espionage agency emerged in the Sunday Times of London . While based in Paris, an acquaintance told the paper, "Tzipi was not an office girl. … She blended in well in European capitals, working with male agents, most of them ex-commandos, taking out Arab terrorists." Her closest female partner was Mira Gal, who is now Livni's bureau chief at the Foreign Ministry, the Times said, hinting at a sisterhood of old spooks. You don't need a conspiratorial mind-set to assume that Livni, or an ex-spook close to her, planned the placement and timing of that report. Because it was published abroad, there was no risk of the Israeli military censor blue-penciling it, but it was quickly picked up by the Hebrew media. It came just as Livni was preparing for a political battle to replace scandal-tainted...

Losing Lebanon

Violence has shaken Lebanon as Hezbollah, backed by Iran, resists efforts by the nation's pro-western government to weaken its power.

The time, according to Hilal Khashan, was 10 minutes past the ceasefire. That was another way of saying 10 minutes after another Hezbollah victory, Khashan explained. I phoned Khashan -- head of the political science department at Beirut's American University -- several days into Lebanon's latest armed upheaval. He spoke in a strangely dispassionate tone I've heard before in Jerusalem and Ramallah, the voice of a man taking refuge from chaos in careful analysis. So far, Khashan said on Sunday night, the crisis that erupted last week has yielded "a major achievement" for Hezbollah. Iran, Hezbollah's patron, has extended its influence in Lebanon. The obvious loser is the pro-Western government of Lebanon's prime minister Fouad Siniora. From Beirut, U.S. support appears to be a phantom; Bush unwilling or incapable of supporting its Lebanese allies. From the slightly greater distance of Jerusalem, I'd add, there's another implication of the fire burning anew in Lebanon: The Bush...

The Mideast Editing Wars

The hawkish pro-Israel group CAMERA's campaign to warp Wikipedia articles was ineffectual. But it's a warning not to trust the online encyclopedia -- and to be wary of partisan "accuracy" advocates in the Israeli-Palestinian Narrative War.

"We will go to war," reads the ungrammatical email, "after we have build our army, equipped it, trained… so if you want to win this war help us build our army." The language, fortunately, is figurative. According to that email and others, the members of a secret cell of nationalist operatives were expected only to edit, not to explode. Their battleground in the great Israeli-Arab Narrative War would be Wikipedia, where they would heroically struggle to retake virtual territory for "accuracy and impartiality" by keeping "Israel-related articles… from being tainted by anti-Israel editors." For instance, they'd rename the article on the "2006 Lebanon War," making it the "2006 Israel-Hezbollah War," thereby eliminating the calumny "that this war was conducted against Lebanon." (Never mind the impact on Lebanon as a whole, or the fact that the Israeli government itself named that conflict the Second Lebanon War.) Behind the clandestine Wiki-editing effort apparently stood the Committee for...

J Street on the Map

Today's announcement of a new Washington-based pro-Israel lobby is long overdue. Finally, there is a lobby working for what Israel and the U.S. really need: Middle East peace.

Reading the front page of my Hebrew paper last weekend, I tried to imagine an American senator saying something like, "I have great respect for the Israel Defense Forces. But eventually Israel will have to leave the West Bank. In its heart, the Israeli nation has already decided. The Israeli army should not create a rift with Palestinians that haunts us for generations. Think of Palestinians stripped at the checkpoints only because there might be terrorists among them. Think of those who stand for hours at checkpoints because we fear that a booby-trapped car could pass through." I didn't have to make up that speech from scratch, because I was reading about Ehud Olmert saying words very similar to a forum of IDF commanders in the West Bank. The prime minister could say that despite their short-term security benefits, West Bank checkpoints have long-term moral and strategic costs for Israel. How many pro-Israel members of Congress fear that if they voiced the same concerns, AIPAC would...

Hamas: A Silent Partner for Peace?

Faced with internal political pressures and the hard fact of Israel's strength, Hamas has moderated its political positions significantly. The moment may be ripe for pushing Hamas further toward the center.

What would happen if Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal gave an interview and nearly no one in the West listened? Well then, it would be possible for the Israeli government and the Bush administration to continue with dead-end policies for dealing with the Islamic movement that rules Gaza, without anyone asking questions about failed strategic assumptions. Meshaal is the Damascus-based head of Hamas' political bureau, its main leadership body. While his precise relationship with the head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, is unclear, Meshaal is normally described as Hamas' leader. Last week he gave an interview to Al-Ayyam , a pro-Fatah Palestinian daily. In it, he stressed that he's still committed to the Palestinian unity agreements of 2006, the basis for last year's short-lived Hamas-Fatah power-sharing deal in the Palestinian Authority. He reiterated that he would accept a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 boundaries -- that is, alongside Israel, not in place of it...