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

Netanyahu's Saudi Fantasy

Like Likud leaders before him, the Israeli prime minister thinks he can redesign the Middle East.

AP Photo/Oded Balilty, Pool Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister office in Jerusalem. P erhaps because he was at a conference in Bulgaria, just a few hundred miles up the Black Sea coast from Istanbul, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got around to publicly commenting last Friday on the murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamil Khashoggi a month earlier in the Turkish capital. “What happened in the Istanbul consulate was horrendous, and it should be duly dealt with,” Netanyahu said. The first part of that sounds fine. The second part sounds like he was talking about someone being pulled over for DUI, rather than about a brutal murder carried out by agents of the government of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Both parts belonged to the lip-service clause, after which Netanyahu got to his point. “Yet ... it is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world,...

Apropos Those Bombs: Netanyahu Says He Had Nothing to Do with Rabin's Assassination

The more a leader stokes the hate, the less he can claim that he couldn't have imagined the results.

Abir Sultan/Pool via AP, File Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. “ If the campaign of incitement and vilification against anyone who disagrees with your views does not stop, blood will be spilled here. ... There is a deep division and you, elected leaders, have the power to end it.” Those words were spoken in Hebrew at the beginning of this week. They were not intended as a comment on the bombs that had not yet been discovered in the mail in America. Unintentionally, though, they provide commentary on the responsibility for violence by the supposed lone extremist. The words come from Noa Rothman, granddaughter of Yitzhak Rabin. She was speaking at the state memorial ceremony for the prime minister who was assassinated 23 years ago. The “you” to whom she referred to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was present to hear her, and more widely to his political camp. Netanyahu and his loyalists were terribly offended...

For the Left, No Hope Means No Votes

Netanyahu is likely to win Israel's next election because the left fails to challenge the raw emotions of anger and fear. 

AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay speaks to supporters following his victory in Tel Aviv, Israel. T he two prevailing predictions in Israeli politics are that elections will be held in early 2019, and that Benjamin Netanyahu will be prime minister again when the votes are counted. Naturally, a zillion things could prove these forecasts wrong, especially the second one. For instance, the police and attorney general could wrap up the three or four endless corruption probes (depending on how you count) against Netanyahu and indict him, though it would seem like Godot strolling onstage in the middle of the play about him. A new party and candidate could emerge, and sweep the election. Who knows? Yet the reasons behind these predictions are solid, and say a lot about politics in Israel and beyond: Personality does matter, and the people who do politics best are experienced politicians. Most basic: The right will always do anger better. The mostly likely pretext for new...

The Trump Two-State Plan? Don't Make Me Laugh.

Trump is again promising an Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal. If it ever happens, it's likely to be a very bad joke. 

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly D iplomats are trained in decorum. They call a bitter argument a “frank and cordial exchange of views.” They don't laugh out loud at national leaders addressing the UN General Assembly. Or at least they didn't until Tuesday. Because there's a point when honesty overcomes the most practiced professional self-control, and that point came when Donald Trump claimed that his administration has “accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” The polite diplomats laughed in unison. Who could blame them? I have a harder time understanding reporters who didn't respond in the same way the next day, when Trump spoke before his meeting at the United Nations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump said that he would publicize his plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace “over the next two to three to four months,” and that he now supports a two-...

Corbyn Makes the Zionist Case. Netanyahu Harms It. How's That for Irony?

British Labour is a long way from being done with its anti-Semitism problem.

AP Photo/Alastair Grant Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn listens to a question from the media at a political rally in central London F or the moment, the British Labour Party's anti-Semitism crisis is—well, not over or even recessed, but possibly on slightly lower volume. On Tuesday, the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) adopted the full definition of anti-Semitism that it earlier bowdlerized. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn's attempt to add a long statement diluting the decision failed, in a body normally seen as under his full control. The NEC vote might fulfill the Hebrew proverb “A clever person climbs out of a hole that a wise man doesn't fall into.” It could start a process of reconciliation between Labour and Britain's Jewish community, help what is supposed to be a progressive party purge itself of its own bigotry problem, and allow Labour to get on with fighting the train-wreck Tory government. Or maybe not, especially if another controversial Corbyn video or Facebook...