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David Harris-Gershon
David Harris-Gershon
David Harris-Gershon is the author of What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife? His work has appeared in The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and elsewhere. You can follow him on Twitter @David_EHG.

The Chutzpah of Netanyahu Calling Iran Deal an “Historic Mistake”


by: on July 14th, 2015 | 6 Comments »

The historic accord reached Tuesday between Iran and a United-States-led coalition of world powers has inspired strong and varied reactions across the world. Among these, the initial reaction offered by Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has become a point of focus.

In particular, much attention is being given to his calling the Iran deal an “historic mistake.”

Now, nobody is surprised by Netanyahu’s position. Nor is anyone surprised by his bold pronouncement. Indeed, in an unprecedented breach of diplomatic protocol earlier this year, Israel’s leader tried to undermine President Obama’s foreign policy by speaking before Congress, an address secretly orchestrated by John Boehner. This move – having a foreign leader come before Congress to undermine a sitting President – was the height of chutzpah. And it was a move, his trying to scuttle the deal before Congress, which Netanyahu called an “historic mission.”Despite all this, Netanyahu now calling the Iran deal an “historic mistake” demonstrates even greater chutzpah. Not because of how his words apply to the Iran deal, but how they reverberate given his own rule.

See, the real historic mistake is Netanyahu’s continued embrace of Israel’s decades-old occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.


Jewish & Palestinian Women Are Fasting in Front of Netanyahu’s Home for 50 Days


by: on July 13th, 2015 | 2 Comments »

Over 300 Jewish and Palestinian women will be fasting together over the next six weeks in a tent outside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem. Those fasting are part of Women Wage Peace, which formed during the Gaza war last summer as a collective voice standing against Israel’s brutal assault. Their fast is taking place from July 7 to August 26, marking the 50-day span of last year’s violent conflict, in which over 2,251 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed.

The purpose of their fast is twofold: 1) to demand pursuit of a political resolution and peace accord between Israel and Palestine, and 2) to spark conversations about Israel’s failed and painful use of violence to resolve its geopolitical conflicts.

Women chant in front of Netanyahu


Israeli Soldiers Reveal the Horrors of Gaza in ‘Breaking the Silence’ Report


by: on May 18th, 2015 | 5 Comments »

A major in Israel’s infantry, who fought in the Northern Gaza Strip during Israel’s assault in the summer of 2014, talks of devastation. He talks of endless barrages, buildings collapsing, city streets being razed by bulldozers, entire neighborhoods erased.

Then he says, You want to hear a joke? You’re reading his words in a report, so you have no choice but to nod as he explains, This is a joke that was popular in the army during the war:

Why do Palestinians only sing the chorus? Because they have no verses left.

The punchline only makes sense if you know that in Hebrew, the word for houses (בתים) is the same word for verses.

The solider tells you this anonymously because he must. You don’t know his name – only that he is “01″ – nor do you know the names of the over 100 Israeli soldiers who recently gave testimony to Breaking the Silence, an organization which normally works with soldiers who wish to reveal the ugly truths of Israel’s occupation.

Now, in a report released this month entitled, “This is How We Fought in Gaza,” Israeli soldiers, their identities hidden, have given the world a window into what life fighting in Gaza often looked like.

The overriding theme is destruction. Pure, unrelenting destruction motivated by fear, by the justifiable desire to minimize military casualties at almost any cost.


White House Chief of Staff: Israel’s 50-year occupation must end


by: on March 23rd, 2015 | 9 Comments »

Speaking before J Street conference attendees in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough amplified President Obama’s policy rift with Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

Responding to Netanyahu’s pre-election rejection of Palestinian statehood and subsequent attempts to walk back said rejection, McDonough had this to say:

“We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made,” McDonough told the J Street conference in Washington, whose left-leaning audience received his remarks enthusiastically.

“Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely,” he said. “An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”


I am now a ‘Pro-Pressure’ Jew


by: on March 21st, 2015 | 2 Comments »

Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has obliterated what it means to be ‘pro-Israel,’ setting Israel on a course towards national suicide which mainstream American Jewish organizations seem intent on enabling.

However, I and many others refuse to stand idly by as Israel self-destructs, understanding that to truly be ‘pro-Israel’ now means to be ‘pro-pressure’ – to champion nonviolent measures capable of forcing Israel to change from without, including those initiated by the Obama administration.

The phrase ‘pro-Israel’ over the years has come to signify supporting Israel as a Jewish, democratic state. In other words, it has been synonymous with support for the two-state resolution for Israel/Palestine and opposition to a single-state outcome. It has been synonymous with championing self-determination for both Palestinians and Israeli Jews.

However, in a 24-hour period leading up to and during Israel’s latest elections, Netanyahu concretized with his words what his actions already established: an Israel committed to perpetual occupation and discrimination. An Israel committed to a right-wing version of single statehood. An Israel committed to national destruction.

He did so by formally rejecting Palestinian statehood, embracing perpetual occupation and settlement expansion, and employing racists rants about Palestinian citizens “coming out in droves to the polls.” By doing so, he was rewarded with a striking victory and mandate which will likely lead to the most right-wing Israeli government in its history. It’s an outcome many in Israel’s own security establishment feared as more dangerous than any enemy, an outcome some think will inevitably lead to full, national apartheid.

Many Americans and diaspora Jews are, for the first time, realizing this, thanks to Netanyahu’s racist rhetoric and rejection of two states. Which is why ‘pro-Israel’ can no longer mean supporting Israel’s government. Indeed, for many it now means strongly opposing it, with being ‘pro-Israel’ meaning to be ‘pro-pressure,’ to back measures which will force Israel to change from without before it destroys itself from within.

As an American Jew invested in Israel and Palestine’s future, I now formally consider myself to be a ‘pro-pressure’ Jew. Allow me to explain:


Netanyahu Rejects Two-State Solution Amidst Plummeting Poll Numbers


by: on March 12th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, released a statement this week via Likud, his political party, making official what has been implied many times over: that he rejects the idea of two, self-determining states as the path toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The statement made clear that Netanyahu now disavows a speech he delivered at Bar Ilan University in 2009 as “no longer relevant.” The speech’s topic? The path towards creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel. To hammer home Netanyahu’s rejection of Palestinian statehood, the statement threw in the following, just in case its intention wasn’t clear:

“Netanyahu’s entire political biography is a fight against the creation of a Palestinian state.”

Truer words have never been spoken.


Massive anti-Netanyahu rally draws over 50,000 to the streets of Tel Aviv as elections loom


by: on March 7th, 2015 | 3 Comments »

Days after Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, claimed to be speaking for “the entire Jewish people” in his speech before Congress, tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets, rejecting such a ridiculous notion by calling for his ouster.

The explicitly anti-Netanyahu rally, which organizers say drew 80,000 people, comes just 10 days before Israel’s elections, with most polls showing Netanyahu’s Likud vulnerable to being defeated by a center-left coalition.

At the rally, former Mossad Chief, Meir Dagan, blasted Netanyahu as more dangerous than any perceived enemy and the greatest obstacle to peace:

“Israel is a country surrounded by enemies, but the enemies are not scaring us. I am afraid of our leadership.”


“Benjamin Netanyahu has served as prime minister for six years straight, six years in which he has not led a single genuine process of change to the face of the region or the creation of a better future. On his watch, Israel conducted the longest [military] campaign since the War of Independence.”

aDagan’s voice is representative of those in Israel’s security establishment who both rejected Netanyahu’s speech before Congress and his attempts to derail President Obama’s Iran diplomacy. Indeed, Netanyahu organized the speech behind the back of his own National Security Advisor, knowing it would be rejected as dangerous and damaging to U.S.-Israel relations.

This week, Netanyahu defended himself from attacks on the right by claiming to be the greatest supporter of Israel’s settlement enterprise in Israel’s history, the only claim he’s made recently which rings true. In response to this and Israel’s continued occupation, multiple speakers at the Tel Aviv rally charged Netanyahu with pushing Israel toward full apartheid, including Dagan.

It remains difficult to determine whether Netanyahu’s foreign policy push and speech before Congress, one of the most elaborate election stunts in recent history, will end up helping or hurting his election chances.


Jon Stewart on Netanyahu: “I speak for ALL Jews, including the ones who don’t want me to!”


by: on March 5th, 2015 | 4 Comments »

On Tuesday, Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, used the U.S. Congress to stage a most elaborate campaign commercial in the run-up to Israel’s elections in two weeks. He did so at the behest of GOP leaders, and damaged every conceivable metric he claims to be invested in save one: his own suddenly-rising poll numbers back home.

With his speech, Netanyahu damaged U.S.-Israel relations by turning Israel into a political football. He caused the collapse of Democratic support for the Iran bill in Congress he claimed to support. And he was abandoned as ‘dangerous’ by his own security establishment.

Additionally, by claiming to represent “the entire Jewish people” before Congress, Netanyahu fed into a dangerous anti-Semitic trope, conflating Israel and all Jews. It’s a conflation many American Jews rejected, including Senator Dianne Feinstein, who had this to say:

“He doesn’t speak for me on this. I think it’s a rather arrogant statement. I think the Jewish community is like any other community. There are different points of view. I think that arrogance does not befit Israel, candidly.”

Jon Stewart added his voice to the growing number of American Jews upset by Netanyahu’s proclamation by mocking the Prime Minister’s conflation:



Senator Feinstein on “arrogant” Netanyahu’s claim to represent all Jews: “He doesn’t speak for me.”


by: on March 1st, 2015 | 3 Comments »

Senator Dianne Feinstein today blasted Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, for claiming that he will be speaking on behalf of “the entire Jewish people” before Congress on March 3, calling Netanyahu “arrogant.”

On Sunday, Netanyahu called his trip to Washington “a fateful, even historic mission” that he is undertaking as “the emissary of all Israelis, even those who disagree with me, of the entire Jewish people.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) knocked Netanyahu for suggesting that he represents all Jewish people on the topic of Iran.

“He doesn’t speak for me on this,” Feinstein said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think it’s a rather arrogant statement. I think the Jewish community is like any other community. There are different points of view. I think that arrogance does not befit Israel, candidly.”

Netanyahu has repeatedly claimed, as Israel’s Prime Minister, to speak on behalf of all Jews. And it’s a claim he’s been articulating with troubling frequency as he prepares to attack President Obama’s Iran diplomacy before Congress. However, not only is his claim both preposterous and dangerous, it’s not even true with regard to the issue of Iran. Indeed, 52 percent of American Jews embrace Obama’s diplomatic efforts with Iran, the same efforts Netanyahu is coming here on Tuesday to undermine.


NYT cartoon shows Netanyahu turning Congress into an Israeli settlement


by: on February 27th, 2015 | 3 Comments »

Patrick Chappatte in The New York Times has destroyed Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in his latest political cartoon. The piece, entitled “Mr. Netanyahu Goes to Washington,” plays upon Netanyahu’s continued expansion of Israel’s West Bank settlements in critiquing his upcoming speech before Congress on March 3.