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 Expulsion and the Evidence

In 1972, the Israeli government lied to the Supreme Court about why it expelled thousands of people from their homes. Here's the real story.

AP Photo
AP Photo Moshe Dayan speaking to settlers in Yamit in 1978, an area in northern Sinai then under Israeli control. T he report is 44-years-old, typed in Hebrew, copied by mimeograph for a few high officers and officials. It describes, in dry military language, how the Israeli army came to evict thousands of Beduin from their homes in the Sinai Peninsula, then under Israeli occupation. It took a legal battle before the Israeli Supreme Court for me to be allowed to see it. What it proves decisively is that before the same court, 44 years ago, a senior government lawyer presented an argument for the state that—let me put this delicately—has no connection to the facts, and the court accepted it. Army and government papers show that the same happened in two other key Supreme Court rulings early in the occupation. I am retelling this now not just to set the historical record straight in light of new evidence, though that's important enough. The affair also says a great deal about the role...

The Elegance of a Dissident

How scholar and activist David Shulman showed that you can oppose what a state is doing without rejecting the state itself.

Cunaplus/Shutterstock
Cunaplus/Shutterstock Jerusalem's Temple Mount behind a barbed-wired fence. S ometimes sanity prevails. In Israel today, I feel the need to point such an unusual—such a not surrealistic—moment. David Shulman, renowned scholar of Indian religions, won the country's highest civilian honor—even after announcing that he would donate the prize money to an intensely controversial Israeli-Palestinian group. I regret to inform you that this has implications that are not black and white. The Israel Prize is a kind of local Nobel, with the state rather than the bequest of the long-dead rich funding the awards. In contrast to the Nobel, the fields for which the prize is granted vary from year to year, in order to give recognition to a wider spectrum of achievement. It's very much a national institution: The prize ceremony is held on Independence Day, with the president, prime minister, and chief justice in attendance. This year one of the fields was philosophy and religious studies. A committee...

Yes, Sometimes It Is Anti-Semitism

The crisis in Britain's Labour Party has some wider lessons for progressives. 

Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/AP Images
Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/via AP Images Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone is surrounded media outside Millbank in Westminster, London, on April 28, 2016, as Jeremy Corbyn is facing intense pressure to suspend his close ally after he defended the actions of an MP suspended over an anti-Semitism row. K en Livingstone, formerly mayor of London, presently a member in very bad standing of the British Labour Party, can be thanked for this much: He has provided a painful moment of clarity in the debate over whether anti-Zionism is, at least sometimes, anti-Semitism. The answer is yes. For instance, when one says that when Hitler came to power “in 1932 [sic], he was supporting Zionism,” as Livingston recently did , or when one says that not hating all Jews, just Jews in Israel, is not an anti-Semite, as he subsequently did . This bears explanation. But first comes some context, and dispensing with certain reflexive objections. So let's start here: Last week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn...

Why Would Netanyahu Want to Remind the World of the Golan Heights?

The Israeli prime minister comes from a movement that suffers from desperate attraction to defiant gestures.

Rex Features via AP Images
Rex Features via AP Images As UN led peace talks on the future of Syria are being held in Geneva, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to the Golan Heights Sunday and declared that Israel will never leave the strategic region. N ext week the normally near-empty country roads that take you up the grassy slopes into the highlands will be packed with cars. It will be Passover, and Israeli families on vacation will be heading for trailheads leading to the green gorges of the Golan Heights. On Israeli maps the Golan is simply part of Israel, unilaterally annexed for all practical purposes nearly 35 years ago. On the rest of the world's maps it is Israeli-occupied Syrian territory. Right now, it is most definitely the calmest stretch of sovereign Syrian soil. Foreign ministries around the world know that, ironically, the Golan is possibly the only piece of Syria that at least one armed group is not actively trying to take from another. In principle, no country in the world accepts...

Why Bernie's Socialism Doesn't Make Him Anti-Zionist

It makes no sense to portray Sanders as leading a charge against Israel. 

AP Photo/Steve Helber, File
AP Photo/Steve Helber, File In this September 14, 2015, file photo, Liberty University students listen as Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, gestures during a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. H ere's a certain version of history: Once, in a different era, the era into which Bernie Sanders was born, “New York was full of Yiddish socialists.” Jews, or very large numbers of them, continued leaning left until the late 1960s, when right-wing Zionism took over as the moving spirit of American Jewish life. Universalism, sadly, gave way to exceptionalism. Sanders, though, is an “evangelist” of the old socialist tradition, “the kind of Jew that Zionists would very much like us to forget.” In very brief form, that's the account in Jesse Myerson's cover story in the Village Voice a few days ago. A colleague sent me a link, which reached me on a stopover between North America and my small Hebrew-speaking country in the Middle East. It's a strange read...

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