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

Are Jews White? It's a Mistake Even to Ask

Trump has revived American anti-Semitism. It's not about color or race.

Sipa via AP AP Photo/Steve Helber
“Are Jews white?” is a question that began fading from my mind 40 years ago, when I left America. In my neighborhood of Jerusalem, as in the rest of Israel, Jews comes in all shades—from blonde to black. The conflict between Jews and Palestinians isn't about race. Nor are the tensions between Jews from Europe and those from the Muslim world—though activists and academics sometimes import the terms “black” and “white,” in defiance of their lying eyes. Since Donald Trump's ascent, though, the issue of Jews and whiteness pops up increasingly in the links shared by friends in the United States. Since Charlottesville, the question of Jews' color has become a near-daily side dish on my news platter. This bothers me. With the humility of an emigre—someone both outside and inside American culture—I suggest that discussing reborn American anti-Semitism in terms of color and race is mistaken, misleading, and pernicious. I understand...

What a Difference a Witness Makes

Netanyahu's multiple scandals are closing in on him. Let us hope.

Gali Tibbon, Pool via AP
Yes, I know that schadenfreude is an unworthy feeling. And I know that Benjamin Netanyahu hasn't yet been indicted for corruption, and if indicted he might not necessarily be convicted, and that his coalition is, for the moment, holding together. I know that the prime minister and his hangers-on are already throwing disrepute on the entire Israeli judicial system to defend him, at least until the hangers-on turn against him, as his allies usually do—including his ex-chief of staff, who just turned state witness. And yes, I know that even if Netanyahu is forced to resign, early elections might merely bring a different right-wing politician to power. I think this covers most of the reasons I'm not supposed to be excited that the corruption cases against Netanyahu just became much, much more solid. Having listed them, I admit: I am still happy that the day seems closer when “Netanyahu” will be nothing more than a name that will stump desperate Israeli high school...

Jammed Reception

Everyone looked at Hedy Lamarr; no one saw a tech genius. After all, she was beautiful. A new film tells her story.

AP Photo
Had she been a man, she might have been remembered as a folk-hero inventor, the genius without formal schooling who transformed an era, a mid-20th century Thomas Edison. Instead, she spent her life in a very public form of solitary confinement: prisoner of the role of Hollywood goddess, sentenced for her beauty. The woman was Hedy Lamarr. A new documentary about her, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, is making the world round of film festivals. Wanting a release both from ever-fiercer summer heat and from politics, I went to the Jerusalem screening. The air conditioner coped with climate change. The escape from politics was less successful—unless you leave gender, immigration, and identity out of politics. Here's the side of her life that was publicly visible. She grew up as Hedwig Kiesler, daughter of a wealthy Viennese couple. In her teens, her startling beauty gave her entree to the Central European film world. Her biggest role was in a 1933 Czech movie, Extase (Ecstasy), in...

The First Qualification Is Inexperience

Israel's Labor Party gambles on an insurgent. It's all the rage.

AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov
The upheaval finally reached Israel Monday, at least the small dusty corner of Israel known as the Labor Party. From there it might spread. Until now, Israelis have had to watch foreign news reports for the politics of insurgency, of “we're mad as hell,” of “give us anything but the people we know”: socialist Bernie Sanders nearly taking over the Democratic Party, serially bankrupt businessman Donald Trump taking over the Republican Party and then the United States, centrist technocrat Emmanuel Macron blowing away every established party and getting elected president of France. Even if the world's fashions can be a bit slow to get to Israel, they do finally arrive. Monday the Labor Party elected as its new leader an outsider named Avi Gabbay. Gabbay has only been a member of Labor for six months. If a membership card was mailed to him, it may not have arrived yet, given the state of the Israeli post office. The only political position he has held was minister...

Settlements: The Real Story

Fifty years after the Six-Day War, a mistaken account of how settlement began still plagues Israeli politics.

AP Photo/Dan Balilty
This article appears in the Summer 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Let’s go back 50 years, to mid-July 1967: A jeep arrives at an abandoned Syrian army base in the Golan Heights. A man jumps out. He’s 24, a shepherd from a determinedly secular, left-wing kibbutz in the Galilee. Feeling adventurous, he has joined a group that will establish a new kibbutz in the Heights, part of the territory that Israel conquered a month before. He’s the first to arrive—which also makes him the first Israeli settler in occupied territory. So began the Great Entanglement. Today more than 600,000 Israelis live in land conquered in June 1967 in six days of fighting with Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The victory created a temporary military occupation and the potential for Israel to negotiate for peace from a position of strength. It’s the settlement enterprise that has chained Israel to occupied territory. It’s settlement that creates a two-...

Pages