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

Foreign Aid, Trump Style: Getting Netanyahu Re-Elected

The embattled prime minister wants voters to forget the occupation. Trump is lending a hand. 

High officials in Benjamin Netanyahu's government don't usually gush praise for foreign reports on human rights in Israel and the occupied territories. Until now. The State Department's annual human rights report came out on Wednesday, with 113 pages on Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely's response: “Our greatest friend, the United States, continues to stand up for historical truth. ... This is an achievement of the prime minister and of our work in the [Foreign] Ministry.” The reason for her euphoria was an omission: The State Department's report no longer refers to the West Bank, Gaza or the Golan Heights as “occupied.” The report refers to the "Israeli-controlled" Golan and to “Israeli-controlled” parts of the West Bank, as distinct from areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. “The fact that the definition ‘occupied territory’ is missing from an official document of...

A Democratic Civil War Will Hurt Both Palestinians and Israelis

The Ilhan Omar fuss wasn't the Democrats' Corbyn moment—but U.K. Labour provides a warning of what to avoid.

Ilhan Omar tweeted. She apologized. Now what? More specifically, now what happens in the Democratic Party? I'm not asking for a friend. I am asking for myself, a Jerusalemite who can't help watching Washington. Both Israelis and Palestinians in this piece of land live politically downwind from you. You have a dumpster fire, we'll breathe the noxious smoke. Regarding what happened, the basics have been well-argued. Representative Omar's tweets alleging that U.S. politicians only support Israel because of $100 bills purportedly supplied by a mostly Jewish lobby indeed called up a classic anti-Semitic stereotype. (Yes, I've criticized AIPAC for years , and still think she got this wrong .) In contrast to much political backtracking, Omar's apology shows thoughtfulness that should be taken seriously . GOP hypocrisy in attacking her while ignoring the much more egregious use of the same anti-Semitic idea by Donald Trump and other prominent Republicans , is as contemptible as—well,...

Right, Left, Right

The leading challenger to Netanyahu may be electable. But he's a Never Bibi rightist. 

Our cat was sleeping quietly on the couch in our Jerusalem apartment when Benny Gantz's campaign jingle, whatsapped to us by a flack, started playing, "There's no more right or left / Just Israel before all else." The cat leapt from the couch and fled in a blur through the cat flap. I don't claim that the feline understood the words. I do think he understood the music coming from Gantz's insurgent candidacy better than a great many of the Israeli pundits who rushed to praise the ex-general's heavily orchestrated campaign opener. Gantz's speech came after weeks and months in which he stubbornly refused to say a word about his positions, even as public support for him grew—based, it seems, entirely on his military career, national name recognition, a reasonable smile, and a worldwide, dangerous desire for political saviors who are not a politicians. Before the speech Gantz's new party, Israel Resilience, was already in second place in the polls behind Prime Minister Netanyahu...

BDS: The Symbiosis of Enemies

The boycott movement and its loudest opponents blur the line between Israel and the West Bank. 

As if Florida politics wasn't enough for the state's new Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has started off his term as by stepping into the omnishambles of Israeli-Palestinian politics. In an announcement-via-tweet , De Santis said: As long as I’m Governor of Florida, BDS will be DOA. We have a moral obligation to oppose Airbnb’s policy against Israel in the West Bank, and today I’m announcing we are suspending authorization for state employees to use Airbnb for reimbursable travel expenses. This is an impressive—though hardly unusual—amount of ignorance and confusion in just under 280 characters. Still, DeSantis performed a service. In context, his tweet sheds light on the pandering inherent in the anti-BDS campaign by U.S. politicians—and on the crippling flaws of the BDS movement itself. (If you can't handle the idea that opposing sides in this argument can be making mistakes, you may close this page now. If you're okay with a brief bit of...

Will the Candidate Be Indicted? Voters Must Know.

With just three months to elections in Israel, the country needs to know if Benjamin Netanyahu will be charged. 

Israel's top prosecutor was already facing the most consequential decision of his career: whether to indict the prime minister. Then the suspect, Benjamin Netanyahu, called new elections. So now Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has a doubly consequential choice to make: Should he announce whether he'll indict Netanyahu—and on what charges—before the nation votes in April? In his handling of the drawn-out investigation of Netanyahu in three separate bribery cases, Mandelblit has made his name a synonym for dithering. So he sought advice, or at least moral support. In a side room during a legal conference, the AG met with an ad hoc council of sages of criminal justice—his retired predecessors, several of whom were also retired Supreme Court justices, all the way back to 93-year-old Meir Shamgar, who was chief justice for 13 years. Someone, it seems, leaked the verdict of the closed-door proceedings: Mandelblit said, “Publicizing the decision before the...

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