Activist community

Israeli Activist Addresses Community – The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Israeli actress, activist and author Noa Tishby spoke at Community Flex Time about her book, “Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth,” and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on February 25. Dror Yaron, Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies moderated the event organized by the Jewish Family Alliance (JFA) and the Jewish Club.

Tishby started the event by saying she was nervous about talking to young people about Israel. She said this is because it is such a difficult subject to talk about and it is frustrating to know that many people do not have the correct information on an often misunderstood topic.

Throughout the event, Tishby interacted with students and faculty asking questions relating to Zionism and apartheid. She said she thinks Israel, as a country, still needs to improve in many ways.

“When you’re right, you see that Israel is an imperfect country, like every other country in the world,” Tishby said. “But it doesn’t deserve the level of hate it’s getting, and it certainly doesn’t deserve to be canceled or dismantled.”

In an interview conducted after the event, Tishby said the topic of Israel is difficult to broach in light of the widespread misinformation in the media.

“I’m very aware that a lot of what I say that’s based on fact negates popular belief,” Tisby said. “But it is nevertheless a popular belief, and it needs to be challenged. To say that social media is not affecting our opinion as humanity right now is disingenuous. It targets us to give us exactly what we crave.

Alanah Dakar ’22 said Community Flex Times is dedicated to bringing the school community together and giving voice to unknown voices.

“[JFA] fought very hard to have someone with such a reputation and someone who understands all aspects of this conflict, whether Palestinian or Israeli,” Dakar said. “The event was comprehensible and thorough, with an evenly positioned explanation touching just the surface of the complex issue that is Israel and Palestine.”

Dakar said after reports of the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict in June 2021 spread rapidly through the media, it was important to hear about the issue from an educated source.

“We chose [Tishby] because we were aware of the growing anti-Semitism in Los Angeles,” Dakar said. “We wanted to educate high school students and prevent any misconceptions from spreading on social media.”

Although Dakar said she enjoyed the event, Zoe Shapiro ’23 said she felt Tishby’s tone was inappropriate on the subject and some of his remarks were inconsiderate.

“As a Jew, I honestly felt a bit embarrassed [Tishby was] the portrayal the school had of a Jewish activist,” Shapiro said. “I felt that his tone and way of speaking to the crowd seemed hostile, and some of his anecdotes seemed inappropriate and thoughtless to me.”