Israel fires special envoy Noa Tishby, who had criticized judicial reform

Noa Tishby: “It is not possible for me to know if their decision was driven by my publicly stated concerns about this government's 'judicial reform policy.'"

 Noa Tishby (photo credit: Courtesy)
Noa Tishby
(photo credit: Courtesy)

The Foreign Ministry dismissed Israeli actress and pro-Israel advocate Noa Tishby after she publicly criticized the government’s judicial reform program.  

“It is with disappointment and sadness, but an enduring determination, that I can confirm that the current Israeli government has dismissed me as Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism and the Delegitimization of Israel,” Tishby said in a notice she posted on her Twitter account.

“It is not possible for me to know if their decision was driven by my publicly stated concerns about this government's 'judicial reform policy.'

“But given the reality that antisemitism continues its dangerous rise globally, and the threat to Israel’s existence through delegitimization policies has not slowed, it is difficult to come to any other reasonable conclusion,” she wrote.

Noa Tishby holds a copy of her new book at a launch event in Los Angeles in April (credit: RICH FURY)Noa Tishby holds a copy of her new book at a launch event in Los Angeles in April (credit: RICH FURY)

The role of an Israeli advocate and the judicial reform

When she accepted the position Tishby said, she did so because she felt that the global antisemitic threat to Jews was “as significant today as any other point since the Holocaust” and she wanted to “stand with the many others united in the fight against hate.”

The role of an Israeli advocate, she said, should not include the suppression of her own opinions regarding events unfolding in Israel.

“That does not mean I must suppress my views and my decision to speak out was not taken lightly. 

“I voiced concerns because I believe absolutely in the importance of an independent judiciary in safeguarding the democratic system,” Tishby wrote.

The ability to honestly debate and criticize Israeli policy is consistent with “our status as the region’s single consistent democracy. 

“True patriotism involves standing up for the values and principles that form the foundation of our nation, even when it means questioning or opposing policies implemented by this or any government,” she said.

“I am disappointed by their decision but remain steadfast in my commitment to fighting antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel on the global stage,” Tishby wrote, ending her letter with the Hebrew phrase, “Am Yisrael Chai.”

She also posted on Twitter the Hebrew letter written to her by the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director-General for Public Diplomacy Emmanuel Nahshon in which he stated that she had been hired as an external contractor in April 2022 to represent the state of Israel based on an agreed-upon program of work for the rest of the year.

At the start of the year, the ministry held a conversation with Tishby about extending the contract but no document was ever signed.

“In light of existing circumstances the ministry has no intention of renewing the [contract],” Nahshon wrote as he asked her to stop using her title. Tishby has already put the words “former Special Envoy” on her Twitter page.

The Foreign Ministry on its Twitter account thanked Tishby for her the work she had done on its behalf and said it wished her "much success" in the future.

Last month she appeared on the HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher in which she explained she spoke about the strength of Israeli democracy as expressed by the protests against the government’s judicial overhaul program.

But she also said that the judicial reform program was “going too far” and that the government “wants to take too much power basically and overrule a supreme court decision by a basic majority.”

Tishby explained her public opposition to this issue, which marked the first time she had criticized an Israeli government. Her Bill Maher appearance followed a column she wrote against judicial reform for the Hebrew language website Ynet, in which she said her country was “changing its face.”

A native of Tel Aviv, who now resides in the United States, Tishby is a Hollywood actress and is the author of the book Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth.

She was appointed to her post under the previous government.