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

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...

Why They Don't Like Tzipi Livni

It might just have to do with her pronoun.

“Why do you hate us?” a West Bank settler leader shouted at Tzipi Livni, leader of the opposition in Israel's parliament. The outburst came during a meeting between settler leaders and the Israeli parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The committee, chaired by a member of the ruling Likud Party, convened at the settlement of Ofrah, following a terror attack there last week in which seven people, including a pregnant woman, were wounded. (Her child, prematurely delivered after the shooting, died.) Before the outburst, Livni had objected to the settler representatives' demand to expand settlements, supposedly as a way to provide greater security. “I don't hate [you], but I'm angry,” Livni answered. Her voice did not sound angry. She sounded definite, calm, and completely unperturbed as she told people what they don't like to hear. In the same meeting she told them, We're all here together, hurting. The pain of terror attacks tears all of us up. .....

The Allegation: Netanyahu Wanted the Best Image Power Could Buy

By allegedly subverting the free press, he showed why it is so essential.

After Benjamin Netanyahu returned to Israel from the United States as a young man, he worked for a time as a marketing executive for a furniture company. Around the time he came back to Israel, he also changed his name back to Netanyahu. In the States, he'd rebranded himself as Benjamin Nitay. It was easier for Americans to pronounce. Marketing and branding were the specialties that Netanyahu brought to his next career, in politics. He treated image-massaging not as a tool, but as a political philosophy. This week he came a step closer to a possible prison term for that philosophy. Early on, Netanyahu developed a doctrine that Israel's poor standing internationally wasn't caused by its policies. Rather, the problem was a strategic failure to sell itself well to foreign audiences. Most of all, though, Netanyahu marketed Benjamin Netanyahu. He worked hard on his speaking style, especially in front of television cameras. He learned to insert jokes, to toss in a line about American sports...

Airbnb Quit the Settlement Business. If Only Israel Would.

The Netanyahu government response to the company pulling out of the West Bank is insane, incompetent, or both. 

An old friend from America who's a tour operator came to Jerusalem and I went to meet him. His tour group was staying in a hotel in the center of town that I'd never noticed because, in the past, it was probably a down-on-its-luck apartment building or home to small offices of lawyers, accountants, and companies of indistinct purposes. Converting it to a hotel made sense, my friend said, because even in the November off-season, every hotel room in Jerusalem is full. Tourism is roaring. So are short-term rentals of apartments and of rooms in them. A 2017 survey of tourists in Tel Aviv found that half were staying in Airbnb or similar accommodations. Young friends tell me of Jerusalem university students making the rent by going home to mom and dad on weekends and renting their apartments to tourists. Then again, the rent is likely higher because some landlords are moving their properties from yearly leases to nightly rentals. Now Airbnb is in the middle of a political ruckus in Israel...