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

The Israeli Election: Triangulation Failed. Ignoring Minority Voters Was a Disaster.

And there might be a lesson here for people in other nations hoping to unseat an authoritarian-minded leader in an upcoming election.

Oded Balilty / AP Photo
Almost as soon as the polls closed in Israel, media outlets elsewhere produced predictable stories treating “Israelis,” all of them, as a monolithic mass marching in lockstep to give Benjamin Netanyahu his fifth term, or declaring yet again that Israelis are moving rightward. Yes, Netanyahu was re-elected. This is tragic and dangerous enough, without adding clichéd generalities. (If you want to know why I find the clichés irritating, imagine that you are, say, an American at a dinner party in New Zealand and the polite progressive sitting to your left asks you, “So why did you people elect Trump?”) Barring unexpected glitches in building a coalition, Netanyahu will indeed stay in the prime minister’s office with a coalition of six parties. Those parties hold a slightly narrower majority in parliament than they did last time. If Netanyahu works to bury a two-state agreement or weaken the judicial system, it won’t be a move rightward but...

Donald Trump, the Golan, and the Return of the Old World Disorder

The president is dismantling the post-World War II measures meant to prevent another such catastrophe. Historical ignorance is his enabler.

Donald Trump just recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory occupied in a war 52 years ago. Trump also supports Brexit, doesn't give a fig for NATO, thinks neo-Nazis may be “very fine people,” and is trying to sabotage America's very belated halfway attempt to emulate the national health-care systems of other developed countries. Yes, these things are connected. They show Trump's role as a prime mover of a global trend: dismantling the measures taken after World War II to prevent another such human-made mega-catastrophe. The trend, and America's role in it, suggests something frightening—that the ability to remember historical events and learn from them may be limited by the length of a human life. Before the global picture, let's zoom in on the Golan, that narrow piece of Syria taken by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. In 1981, Israel unilaterally annexed that the Heights. No other country in the world accepted that move—until this week,...

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...