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

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...

The Frenemies Gambit

Benjamin Netanyahu uses European support for human rights to attack domestic dissent in Israel.

(Photo: AP/Dan Balilty)
(Photo: AP/Dan Balilty) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on July 10, 2016. W hen a human-rights group points to government abuses, what should the country’s leaders do? Let’s see. They could ignore it. They could debate the facts. They could even investigate and change policies. Or they could label it a tool of foreign powers. I’m sorry, but not surprised, to report that the last option is the one being taken by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his closest coalition partners. The smear campaign has gone on for years. Sometime late on Monday night, rhetoric turned into legislation, as Netanyahu’s coalition pushed the so-called Transparency Law through parliament. More widely known as the NGO Law, ostensibly it merely tightens financial reporting rules for nongovernmental organizations in Israel. In reality, the law is a transparent bid to mark some of the country’s main human-rights groups—including those that report...

Marriage of Inconvenience

Economics have pushed Israel and Turkey to an overdue reconciliation. But Gaza, supposed cause of the rift, gains too little

Murat Cetinmuhurdar, Presidential Press Service, Pool via AP
Murat Cetinmuhurdar, Presidential Press Service, Pool via AP Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses people gathered for a traditional "Iftar" Muslim feast at his palace in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, June 27, 2016. Israel and Turkey struck a broad reconciliation pact Monday that will restore full diplomatic relations after six years of animosity between the once-close Mideast powers. A t mid-day Tuesday, a couple of hours after Israeli and Turkish officials signed the accord to end the two countries' six-year estrangement, a targeted ad popped up in my Twitter feed in Jerusalem. It came from Turkey_home, a joint effort of Turkey's Tourism Ministry and its national airline, and linked to a video of sensuous scenes of swimming and windsurfing in an azure sea. Aha, I thought, that didn't take long. They want us back. In the evening, a few hours after that, my phone began vibrating with news alerts, first in Hebrew, then in English, with fragmentary reports about gunfire and...

Trump as a Strategic Asset of the Islamic State

The candidate is playing the part assigned to him in terrorist strategy.

AP Photo/Jim Cole
AP Photo/Jim Cole Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at Saint Anselm College Monday, June 13, 2016, in Manchester, New Hampshire. S omewhere in Raqqa on Monday night, we can presume, several Islamic State higher-ups gathered around a screen to watch Donald Trump's speech about the mass murder in in Florida—his renewed demand to ban immigration by Muslims, and his allegation that American Muslims as a group, all of them, are giving cover to terrorism. The first comment in that room in Syria was mostly likely, “Thank God, at least something is going right for us.” The details of the scene are conjecture. The import of Trump's words is not. For this reason, Hillary Clinton's post-Orlando speech was missing one critical connection. She was right to use the word “terrorism,” to talk about the battle against the Islamic State, and to warn against transforming grief into hatred of Muslims. But that doesn't quite go far enough. President Obama came closer to the mark when...