Noa Tishby Offers Advice, Shares Experiences On Minneapolis Visit

Before being greeted with a standing ovation from a crowd of almost 1,500 people, Noa Tishby spent 30 minutes talking to students in high school and college in what she described as the “more informal” event in the gym at Beth El Synagogue. 

Tishby, a New York Times bestselling author of Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth and formerly Israel’s special envoy for combating antisemitism and delegitimization, started by giving a short statement to the students, telling the crowd: “You are the generation that gets it…we thought Antisemitism [was] over.” She talked about how we will face people who want us to lie about our identity as Zionists. She said, “If this happens, find other friends.” 

After that, she made a few jokes, the first of several in a trend that would continue once she reached the main event. She referenced an “interesting” representative from Minnesota, social media, “good” and “bad” colleges for Jews, among many other things.

Between jokes, Tishby gave loads of advice for how to deal with plenty of situations, from antisemitism on campuses (such as the University of Minnesota) to Jewish Voice for Peace – a progressive, anti-Zionist organization. She also advised students to try to “not get triggered” during the conversations they are having about Israel, as bringing emotions into the conflict will make everything worse. 

“True power comes from being able to have a [rational conversation],” she stated.

She concluded her first event by saying “being Jewish is not easy.” On their way to the main event, located in the sanctuary, students picked up autographed copies of her latest book, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Jew, a collaboration with author and former football player Emmanuel Acho.

While Tishby focused more on giving advice when she was talking to students, her moderated conversation with WCCO-TV reporter Jonah Kaplan focused more on her experiences. Once again sprinkling jokes throughout her conversation — this time with jokes about her passion for Israel and Judaism such as “I couldn’t shut up,”— Tishby started by sharing her experience on Oct. 7 (or Oct. 6 for her because she was in Los Angeles). She described getting “no sleep” that night because she was on Instagram Live for the entire night. 

She focused on emotions throughout her conversation with Kaplan, discussing how helpless she felt when she realized that people were asking her for help on her Instagram who did not survive the attack, how scared she was immediately on Oct. 6 when she realized the gravity of the situation, and how empowered she felt after embracing her identity as an Israeli.

However, Tishby also made clear the difference between being anti-Zionist and unilaterally supporting all of Israel’s actions: “I’m pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian,” she said. 

She also talked about those critical of Israel. She stated that “no country is perfect” and the people judging Israel “created an imaginary bar with impossibly high standards.” 

The event concluded with a powerful image of a full synagogue singing “Hatikvah” seven months after a similarly-sized crowd did the same at the Israel Solidarity Event, also in the Beth El Sanctuary, on Oct. 10.