Haaretz Aims to Engage, Raise Voice of Liberalism at NY Conference

Israeli President Reuven “Ruvi” Rivlin will be concluding his visit to the U.S. by giving a policy speech at The HaaretzQ inaugural conference in New York at the Roosevelt Hotel Sunday morning.

The all-day conference, co-sponsored by the New Israel Fund, will focus on the interrelationship of Israel’s democratic identity, internal discord and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Other speakers include U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat, Rob Malley, White House Senior Advisor on Countering ISIS; Matt Nosanchuk, White House liaison to the Jewish community; Knesset Members Tzipi Livni, Merav Michaeli, Ayman Odeh, Tamar Zandberg, and Omer Barlev, as well as Talia Sasson, NIF Board President, J Street’s Jeremy Ben Ami, Rabbi Rick Jacobs and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, among others.

In an interview with Jewish Insider, Haaretz Editor in Chief Aluf Benn said that the idea of doing a conference in New York to interact with its many English readers in the U.S., and New York City is the ideal venue since it has the largest gathering of Jews in North America.

“When you bring participants like President Rivlin and Ambassador Power it gives you the opportunity to start a conversation and it gives the ideas raised at the conference more values,” Benn said.

Benn also explained why Rivlin, who’s not a supporters of the two-state solution, was chosen to address a conference that will address the peo-peace and the left views of Israelis on the peace process. “President Rivlin, more particular in his current position, is first and foremost a prominent of liberalism and democracy in Israel. And while he’s never supported the two-state solution, he raises the voice of liberalism at a time when it’s not so popular all over the political spectrum, specifically in the ruling party – the Likud, ” he asserted. “Rivlin was the last man standing in his party. He ran a successful campaign for the presidency against the will of the Prime Minister. So, in a way, Rivlin is the kind of critical voice needed in Israel.”

Rivlin’s opposition to a two-state solution, Benn explained, also comes from a liberal standpoint in which you naturalize all citizens and give them equal rights rather than hold millions of Palestinians under occupation. “But in any event, Rivlin is not in a position to negotiate a peace settlement or engage in the diplomatic process,” he stressed. “His importance in Israel is to be the beacon of liberalism, despite being the target of hate and hateful rhetoric from the far right.”

Haaretz’ journalists and columnists, such as Ari Shavit, Amira Hass, Uri Blau, Chemi Shalev, Peter Beinart, Anshel Pfeffer, Barak Ravid and Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, will also speak or serve as moderators during the many breakout sessions.

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