Noa Tishby talks antisemitism, Israel
Photo: Romy Modlin
More than 1,200 members of the Dallas Jewish community packed the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center Feb. 4, 2024, for the Dallas Federation’s “From Home to Homeland” event.

At Dallas Federation’s Feb. 4 event, actress/activist’s message hits home

By Shana Medel
Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas

American-Israeli actress turned activist Noa Tishby forcefully addressed rising antisemitism and supporting Israel at the “From Home to Homeland” event, organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.

To a crowd of more than 1,200 attendees who came from across the Metroplex to see her at Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, she urged:

“The most important thing we can do now is to reengage — tell our story of the State of Israel and tell our story of the Jewish people. Because we’re great storytellers, but we haven’t invested in telling our stories properly.”

Tishby, one of the most outspoken advocates for Israel in Hollywood, has been using her stardom to fight a wave of global hate toward Jews and Israel, intensified by the war with Hamas. As a trusted Israel explainer, she has been reaching people where they are, namely social media, as well as college campuses, news shows and even print.

Her bestseller, “Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth,” has become a go-to, accessible introduction to Israel.

Photo: Tamytha Cameron
JFGD leaders welcome speakers Noa Tishby and Hadas Eilon. From left, Dan Levitan, Shiva Beck, Sherry Goldberg, Dot Haymann, Tishby, Eilon, Debbi K. Levy, Igor Alterman.

She said, “The conversation about Israel has changed. The debate has changed from the policies guiding the country to language like ‘colonialist endeavor.’ When I heard that, I understood that this narrative is something that could take Israel down…. That is why I wrote the book.

“The reason I named it a ‘simple guide’ is because people think it’s so complicated. I wanted to be clear — it’s not complicated. The Jewish people deserve the right to self-governance and self-determination in parts of their ancestral lands. Period.”

In 2022-2023, Tishby served as Israel’s first-ever special envoy for combating antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel. Through her role, she fought Jewish hatred — in all forms.

“The anti-Israel response is about delegitimizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state by any means necessary. What happened on (Oct. 7) was the activation of 30 years of anti-Israel rhetoric and agenda that is now actually showing its face. So it’s about time we realize what we need to do to fight that and to preserve Israel,” she said.

The crowd also heard from other Israeli voices, including Hadas Eilon, a survivor of the Oct. 7 massacre. Eilon was visiting family in Kfar Aza, once a sleepy and scenic kibbutz, when Hamas terrorists attacked, burning homes and butchering residents. For 34 hours, she and five family members hid in a safe room, clenching onto the door handle to prevent terrorists from entering.

Two days later, Eilon, who grew up in Kfar Aza with her four siblings, learned her brother Tal was among those murdered by Hamas.

“I need everyone in the world to know that there is no denying and no downplaying what happened on Oct. 7,” Eilon said. “There are still seven members of Kfar Aza who are part of more than 130 hostages in Gaza and we must keep them on the forefront of our agenda.”

Attendees also heard from pillars of Jewish Dallas, including Igor Alterman, president and CEO of JFGD. He said the spike in antisemitic incidents, a near 400% since Hamas raided southern Israel and massacred 1,200 people, has been a painful reminder of centuries-long Jewish hatred.

Photo: Tamytha Cameron
Activist and actress Noa Tishby headlined the Dallas Federation’s “From Home to Homeland” event Feb. 4, 2024.

“It has been lurking in the background and it has resurfaced,” Alterman told a hushed room. “These are no longer stories of our grandparents, images of torn black-and-white photos that tell of a distant past. We are dealing with hate and prejudice right here, right now.”

As lifelong supporters of Israel and her people, Alterman added, Jewish Dallas was built for this moment, among many others.

“Through each moment, we are reintroducing the blueprint for repairing the world, something we are mandated to fulfill as Jewish people,” Alterman said. “And we will continue to do so. This is a mitzvah of true and high purpose.”

Dot Haymann, board chair of the Dallas Federation, summarized the collective importance of every person in the room.

“The commitment to our people and our homeland is constant. There is no break. We are one people and one nation, united by purpose and mission. Tonight, we remember our shared commitment — why supporting the Jewish people is so crucial,” Haymann said.

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