I am mystified that Jerome Chanes’ review of Gershom Gorenberg’s “The Unmaking of Israel” (Fall Literary Guide, Nov. 25) ignores several of Gorenberg’s most outlandish proposals and radical views. Gorenberg advocates the dismantling of the entire hesder yeshiva framework (p. 234) and dropping the active promotion of Jewish immigration (p. 246). He also derides concern of the Iranian threat and the growing Islamization of the “Arab Spring” as a remnant of the shtetl complex of seeing Cossacks everywhere. His sympathy for the Arabs in Israel (whom he believes should be exempt from army service because “they would feel deeply uncomfortable serving in it,” p. 238) blatantly contrasts with his demonization of Jewish citizens of Judea and Samaria (The West Bank) whose “hallucinatory expectations … have warped Orthodox Zionism” (p. 231).
What lesson does he draw from Gush Katif? Rather than expressing concern with Jewish trauma or missiles raining down from Gaza upon Israelis, he focuses on what he deems a mistake in allowing those expelled to remain together as communities. This, Gorenberg emphasizes, teaches a lesson of what not to allow in the future: “The point of evacuating settlements is to end the ethnic conflict, not to import it” (p. 230-231).
Such unbridled contempt for the Jewish communities, along with his refusal to articulate any fault whatsoever on the Arab side, should suffice to disqualify his work from mainstream status. Apparently unfazed by Arab terror, incitement, abuse of human rights, the Palestinian Authority’s consistent refusal to recognize a Jewish state, blatant violation of the Oslo Accords to stop obscene celebration of terror and a glorified culture of death, Gorenberg is passionate only about Israel’s shortcomings.
Like the 10 meraglim (spies) of the Bible who scout out the land of Israel, Gorenberg presents a marred and misleading report that reflects a dangerously flawed perspective and bias. The result is an account that ruthlessly defames and discredits while providing comfort and welcome ammunition to those who demonize Israel.
Chair, Israel Action Committee of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale