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

Washington Discovers the Occupation Is not a Good Thing

The U.S. ambassador to Israel has harsh, honest, and long-overdue words about Israeli actions in the West Bank.

AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File
AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File In this Sunday, April 22, 2012 file photo, Israeli flags fly over the Ulpana neighborhood in the West Bank settlement of Beit El near Ramallah. D an Shapiro is not just a diplomat, but the U.S. ambassador to Israel. For someone in that politically fraught job, Shapiro made an unusually clear remark this week about Israel's actions in the occupied West Bank. But before looking at Shapiro's comments, I must tell a story. On a Friday in March 2014, Abbas Momani—a Palestinian photographer for the AFP news agency—drove to the Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah to shoot a weekly, virtually ritual confrontation between Palestinian teens and Israeli soldiers and police. Momani was a bit late. The Israeli forces had already broken up the Palestinian protest, which had included throwing rocks at the adjacent Israeli settlement of Beit El. Then they'd had a second face-off with a group of settlers, who'd thrown stones in the opposite direction and attacked...

Why Are Democrats Voting for Israeli Settlements?

The Customs Bill, set to pass the Senate soon, includes a provision protecting Israeli settlements. 

AP Photo/Cliff Owen
AP Photo/Cliff Owen U.S. Senator Ben Cardin raises his hand as he and Senator Lindsey Graham walk on-stage to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, Sunday, March 1, 2015. S ometime very soon, the U.S. Senate will pass a bill that requires the government to treat the West Bank as part of Israel. Not only that, it will obligate the administration to pressure other countries to do the same. These provisions have provoked no serious opposition as the bill has worked its way through the congressional maze. Instead, Democratic lawmakers raise their hands to do the work of the GOP-Likud axis, in what may be a bizarre act of penance for their own courage in supporting the Iran deal last summer. The bill's own language says it's aimed at fighting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. In reality, it may actually encourage boycotts of Israel. The bill says it's meant to preserve the “sustainability of peace”...

Terrorists Want You to Be Very Afraid. So Don't Be.

Panic, wild hyperbole, and hatred of Muslims are victories for the Islamic State. So please, chill out.

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews Shoppers approach an NYPD anti-terror patrol unit in Herald Square, New York City, on November 27, 2015. T he original meaning of words is washed away by overuse. So a reminder: Terrorism is intended to make you feel terror, to make fear flood your mind and keep you from thinking straight. That's true whether it takes place in Paris, San Bernardino, or Jerusalem. The first step in defeating terrorism, therefore, is to chill out. Take a long slow breath. Then we can talk calmly about things to do next. Here's a small example to start with. In October, when the current wave of terror attacks began in Israel and the occupied territories, a major Israeli supermarket chain removed knives from its kitchenware shelves. It was done without fanfare. The owner of the chain explained that it didn't make much sense to have a guard at the entrance checking handbags for weapons—a standard precaution in Israel—if someone could walk in, grab a knife off at Aisle 3, and start...

The Spy Who Couldn't Keep His Mouth Shut

With Jonathan Pollard out on parole after serving 30 years for spying for Israel, the public deserves a reprieve from the bilateral hypocrisy his case inspired.

(Photo: AP/Bryan R. Smith)
(Photo: AP/Bryan R. Smith) Jonathan Pollard, who served 30 years for selling intelligence to Israel, leaves the federal courthouse in New York on November 20. I n the fall of 1985, I was a night news editor at The Jerusalem Post. The stress of the job was greater than usual, because the FBI had arrested an Israeli spy named Jonathan Pollard. Every evening we'd design the next day’s front page, with a big rectangle at the top of Page 1 reserved for the spy affair, and then we'd wait. Because it was seven hours earlier in Washington than in Jerusalem, the last possible moment for our Washington correspondent to file his story was 5 p.m. on his wristwatch, midnight our time, and the last minute was usually when it came. Then it was my job to phone the military censor's office, read the story aloud to the duty officer, and listen to him bar publication of all the important parts. It would be another few years before the Israeli Supreme Court drastically curtailed the censor’s powers. One...

How Far-Right Nationalism Fuels Jerusalem's Temple Mount Controversy

Netanyahu's awful choice of PR chief reveals how nationalism feeds the conflict at Jerusalem's holiest spot. 

AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File
AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men stand in front of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City on October 12, 2015. J ust before Benjamin Netanyahu took off for Washington, he flew straight into a political storm at home. Israel's prime minister announced his choice of Ran Baratz for the post of public diplomacy director—the government's spin czar, responsible for Israeli PR globally. Netanyahu and Baratz, a right-wing Internet pundit and ex-philosophy professor, had hit it off personally and politically. No one at the Prime Minister's Office bothered with an obscure vetting tool called Google. Reporters did use that tool, however, and immediately turned up provocative pronouncements on Baratz's Facebook page and in op-eds in the mainstream media. Netanyahu canceled plans to bring Baratz with him to Washington, dissociated himself from the statements, and said he'd deal with the mess when he got home. None of this erased the impression that Baratz writes the...

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