On Israel, the Washington Post’s Opinion Page is an Echo Chamber

Over at the Washington Post, both sales, and views are down. As the Wall Street Journal, among other outlets, reported, the Post has “suffered a greater audience decline than some of its rivals.” Both the WSJ, as well as the Post itself have suggested that covering U.S. politics at the expense of other areas contributed to the drop. But perhaps there’s another contributing factor: predictability.

And nowhere is the Post more predictable than the op-eds it publishes on Israel. With a few notable exceptions, the opinions that the newspaper chooses to publish on the Jewish state are as expected as they are biased.

Indeed, in a mere seven-day span, the Post published two op-eds by the same author that, more or less, said the same thing.

On Dec. 14, 2021, the Washington Post’s Global Opinion page gave a platform to Gershom Gorenberg, an Israeli historian, journalist and author. Gorenberg writes frequently for the Post, as well as other publications like The Atlantic and The New York Times. And he almost always has the same fixation.

To Gorenberg, Israeli “settlements”—that is, Jewish homes built in the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland of Judea—are responsible for the lack of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. And attempts to single out the Jewish state for opprobrium should be minimized, not condemned.

Gorenberg’s views were on full display in his Dec. 14, 2021 Post op-ed, entitled “Israel just showed its strategy on settlement boycotts: Gaslighting.” Gorenberg, writing about the attempt by ice cream makers Ben and Jerry’s to boycott the Jewish state, opted for mockery:

“Somewhere on Israel’s list of foreign policy worries, below the Iranian nuclear threat, but still significant, is ice cream.”

In July 2021, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream announced that it would no longer sell its products in what it referred to as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The move was widely hailed by the antisemitic boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, whose supporters include U.S.-designated terrorist groups like Hamas. And by referring to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) as “occupied Palestinian territory” the company not only erases the Jewish people’s historical connection to the land, it prejudges an outcome that can only be determined by negotiations—negotiations which Palestinian leaders themselves have rejected time and again.

Perhaps the chairwoman of the board, Anurhada Mittal, influenced Ben and Jerry’s decision. Mittal heads the Oakland Institute, an organization which has published defenses of Hezbollah and Hamas, terrorist groups that call for Israel’s destruction and the mass murder of Jews.

Ben and Jerry’s decision has been costly for its parent company Unilever and has spurred claims that its boycott, which targets Israel alone, is discriminatory. But instead of addressing any of these issues, Gorenberg minimizes them.

“Israeli officials,” he writes, “responded with a rich blend of fury and panic.” And Israeli President Isaac Herzog who “is supposed to voice only consensus views, reacted as if the company had declared a total boycott of Israel and labeled the move ‘a new kind of terrorism.’”

Gorenberg, of course, doesn’t mention that Hamas itself has proclaimed, “We salute and support the BDS movement.” Nor does he tell Post readers that U.S. Congressional testimony has highlighted links between pro-BDS groups and terrorist organizations. Similarly, he omits that, as CAMERA’s Adam Levick pointed out, Ben and Jerry’s decision coincided with a rise in antisemitic attacks on Jews abroad.

Further, in contrast to Gorenberg’s swipe at Herzog, when it comes to BDS, there is a “consensus view” among Israelis: they uniformly oppose it by wide margins. It is Gorenberg who, in his apologias for discriminating against the Jewish state, holds views that are outside of the Israeli mainstream.

Gorenberg’s fixation on settlements was again given column space in a Dec. 21, 2021 Post op-ed entitled “Mr. Blinken, you can pick up the phone and save a Palestinian village from destruction.” Gorenberg thanked the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, for putting pressure on the Israeli prime minister to halt plans for a “major new Jewish neighborhood at the northern tip of annexed East Jerusalem.” Not a new Jewish neighborhood!

The Post op-ed would have readers believe that the northern tip of “East Jerusalem” was annexed from a Palestinian state. He even refers to the area as a “Palestinian part of the city.” Yet, no Palestinian Arab state has ever existed. Jordan held the eastern portion of Jerusalem from 1948 until 1967, when Israel seized it after Jordan took part in a war to destroy the Jewish state—ignoring Israeli requests not to do so, and subsequently losing eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank in the process. Israel, he later writes, “conquered” the West Bank.

Gorenberg doesn’t deign to inform readers that there is a legal basis for Jewish claims to the land. As CAMERA has documented (see, for example, “The West Bank—Jewish Territory Under International Law”), Israel has a foundation for asserting sovereignty over the area. Additionally, the League of Nations Palestine Mandate, adopted later by the United Nations, calls for “close Jewish settlement on the land” west of the Jordan River in Article 6. The UN Charter, Chapter XII, Article 80, upholds the Mandate’s provisions. The 1920 San Remo Treaty and the 1924 Anglo-American Convention also enshrined Jewish territorial claims in international law.

Gorenberg calls for Blinken to again intervene in Israeli affairs and apply pressure to prevent the “destruction of much of Walajeh, leaving residents homeless and dealing another blow to peace in Jerusalem.” Yet, Walajeh was illegally built, without building permits. In nearly every country in the world, including in the United States, it is illegal to build residential dwellings without the requisite permits. However, Gorenberg calls for this to be overlooked as residents “needed roofs over their heads and built homes on their land.” Curiously, as noted above, Gorenberg doesn’t express similar sentiments when it comes to Jews living in Judea.

For Gorenberg, it should be U.S. policy to support the building of some settlements—specifically the illegally built Arab ones, some of which are constructed with the support of European governments in an attempt to change the facts on the ground. Jewish homes in the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland, however, are an “obstacle to peace.” These are consistent themes, and they’re consistently given a platform in the Washington Post’s opinion section.