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 D.J. Trump Medicine Show Comes to Israel

A sculptor works with stone. A confidence artist works with people's desire to believe.

Debbie Hill, Pool via AP
Debbie Hill, Pool via AP Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. I n the American legend of the confidence man, he arrives in a small town by train or riverboat. He claims to be a professor who can teach children to play expensive musical instruments without effort, or a minister and the heir of the richest man in town. He talks quickly, thinks of lies even faster. He is everything to all people. The legend dates from an era before radio or television. So the confidence man succeeds in fooling the yokels just as long as no one shows up from the last town he took in. When word does catch up with him, as in Mark Twain's version, he's likely to be tarred and feathered , and run out of town on a rail. In the 2017 remake, the American confidence artist arrives in a small country in the Middle East aboard Air Force One. In a plot twist that defies credibility, he actually is the president of the...

Fifty Years Later: The Six-Day War Teaches Where Brinkmanship Leads

As history shows, an unflinching approach to foreign policy is rarely a good idea. 

YAACOV AGOR/Creative Commons
YAACOV AGOR/Creative Commons An Israeli gun boat passes through the Straits of Tiran near Sharm El Sheikh during the Six-Day War with Egypt. T he word “brinkmanship” is popular on news pages in these days of Donald Trump. Sometimes it's half-figurative, as when Trump threatens a shutdown of the U.S. government over his budget demands. But often it's used in the original sense: willingness to go to the brink of war—as when North Korea's Kim Jong Un shows off his missiles and Trump threatens a “major, major conflict with North Korea” while moving his missiles around. Merriam-Webster reports a rise in searches for “brinkmanship” since about April 8—matching the since-debunked news that a U.S. flotilla was sailing toward Korea. Seeing Trump and Kim Jong Un go to the brink is like watching two high school guys with large muscles and small brains prepare to race their pickups at each other—except that the whole world is riding in the back of the trucks. And yet, brinkmanship still enjoys a...

The Trump Effect on Israeli Politics

Israel has enacted its very own travel ban, on supporters of boycotts. The timing is no coincidence.

Abir Sultan, pool via AP, File
Abir Sultan, pool via AP, File Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. R abbi Arthur Green wants to know if he can still come to Israel. Green asked the question in a letter originally published in Hebrew in Haaretz , the Israeli daily. He said he's scheduled to be here in Israel for academic conferences in June and October, and that during his last trip he gave 15 lectures. Green is modest; he doesn't explain how prominent he is in the American Jewish community as a rabbinic educator, theologian, and scholar of Jewish mysticism. He does, however, say that he will not use wine from the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba for kiddush , the blessing over wine on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. There are grounds to believe that products of settlements are tainted by theft, he writes with careful understatement. In his letter, he encourages others to follow his practice. That is, he openly encourages boycotting the products...

If Only They'd Leaked the Briefing Paper to Fox

Trump blithely dumped support for a two-state accord. Palestinians and Israelis will pay the price. It's a case study in his foreign non-policy. 

Rex Features via AP Images
Rex Features via AP Images President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walk into the White House. C ontrary to what you may have read, the so-called president of the United States did not stand next to Benjamin Netanyahu and announce that he has abandoned American backing for a two-state agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. What Donald Trump actually announced last week was that the new American regime has abandoned caring about Israeli-Palestinian peace, or for that matter caring to understand the issue. This is actually much more cynical and dangerous, and demonstrates, with exclamation marks, how people far from American shores are likely to suffer from America's strange choice of a leader. “So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.” Trump said at his press conference with Netanyahu. “I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state...

Be Grateful That He's Not Subtle About It

I live in a country where democracy is fading. Trump's all-out assault makes it easier for Americans to sustain resistance.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon President Donald Trump holds up a signed executive order in the Oval Office of the White House, Saturday, January 28, 2017. S trange as it may sound, I'm jealous of progressive Americans as they contend with the Trump dystopia. At least the assault on your democracy—and on your most basic sense of what country you live in—is coming all at once. For an Israeli, this is a reason for envy. The gradual offensive against our own democracy has made resistance far more difficult. Nonetheless, you may be able to learn something from our experience—not so much from our successes, but from our mistakes. I know that three months after election night you still can't wrap your mind around it. The rest of the world—or at least my corner of it—watches America the way someone watches a car racing over a cliff: horrified and riveted. I can't escape by switching from English to Hebrew news. Trump, spelled from right to left, is all over the Israeli media. On Sundays, the top...