We talk to Amir Tibon

March 12, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Amir Tibon is the Assignments Editor and U.S. News Editor for Ha’aretz and is the guest speaker for the United Progressive Judaism United Israel Appeal’s online event on Monday.

Amir Tibon

From 2016 to 2020 he was the paper’s Washington correspondent, covering the Trump administration, Congress and the U.S. Jewish community. Amir’s writing on Israel and the Middle East has appeared in The Atlantic, the New Yorker and other leading U.S. publications. His first book, a biography of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, came out in 2017. Amir lives in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, the closest place in Israel to Gaza, with his wife and daughter. 

He will speak on the future for Progressive values in Israel on Monday, March 15th at 7pm  [Australian Eastern States].
JW: When did you return to Israel and does it signify your days of being a foreign correspondent may be over?
AT: I covered the Trump administration in Washington from the first day of the administration until the 2020 election, a fascinating period that included a lot of drama specifically on the issue important to the readers of Haaretz: the U.S.-Israel relationship, American policy in the Middle East and antisemitism. In April 2020, my wife and I became parents with the birth of our daughter Galia. While she was born in the United States, it was clear to us that we ultimately wanted to raise her in Israel, close to our families. And that’s the main reason we decided to return home.
JW: Have you visited Australia either professionally or on a personal basis?
AT: I’ve never visited Australia, and would love to do so one day, god willing. I have several friends who chose your country as their destination for the ‘post military’ trip that many young Israelis do once they are released from the IDF. All of them had a wonderful time.
JW: Did you ever believe the events in Charlottesville could have been a forerunner of the insurrection?
AT: The antisemitic terror attacks that took place in Charlottesville and Pittsburgh were the two most important stories that I got to cover during my years in America. I travelled to both places in the aftermath of the attacks and spoke to local Jewish community members who were shocked that such things were happening in America, a country long considered safe for the Jews. In my view, these events and the violent attack on the U.S. Congress in January 2021 are directly connected to one another. They are part of a broader story of the Trump era – the rise of far-right, antisemitic, violent forces that are committed to destroying American democracy. And I think this will remain a major problem for America, and American Jews, for many more years, unfortunately.
JW: Is it too early to predict Israel’s future working with Biden?
AT: I think Biden is a strong supporter of Israel and has been for most of his political career. He has visited Israel many times and has forged personal friendships with Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Netanyahu. But Biden, unlike his predecessor who was only committed to glorifying his own name, is committed to American traditional foreign policy interests and to America’s democratic values. This means that like previous Republican and Democratic presidents, he will ask Israel to refrain from expanding or annexing settlements in the occupied territories, and will promote a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If Israel’s March 23 election leads to the formation of a very right-wing and very religious government, as Netanyahu hopes it will, then we could unfortunately find ourselves at a crisis with the administration, and that would be a shame because Biden is not looking for a confrontation with Israel right now – he is too busy handling COVID and repairing the damages caused by Trump to America’s economy and international standing.
JW: What message given your hand-on experience do you have for Israel’s supporters in Australia?
AT:  Israel is going through an unprecedented period of political instability, with four elections in just two years and the prospect of fifth election already on the horizon. The main reason for this crisis is the alliance between Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Ultra-Orthodox parties, who are committed to changing Israel from a democratic country with an independent judiciary, a free press and liberal values, to a more religious and less free society. The ongoing political crisis isn’t just ‘about politics – who gets to hold what job in the Knesset and the government – it’s about Israel’s very future as a democratic country.
The Amir Tibon event will be held at Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne and Emanuel Synagogue in Sydney as well as Zoom.



One Response to “We talk to Amir Tibon”
  1. Eion Isaac says:

    Many don’t see a significant effect on democracy because there are elections and maybe there will be a fifth it’s like rolling referendums .
    Also there is a free press and people freely gather to demonstrate and shout “Gevalt “
    The problem is Tribalism the claim for the Land is contested between Jewish People and Arabic and predominantly Islamic people .
    The Two states was rejected by Fatah under Arafat and by Hamas and with mass murder suicide bombing from 1993 and their Education and Psychological Conditioning of every Palestinian Generation is an eventual majority Arab State with millions of Arabs allowed into Israel
    and as few Jews as possible allowed into Judea and Samaria.
    As for Demilitarisation no way will Fatah and Hamas keep this .

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