Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Guess Who's Coming To Lead J Street U?

The Washington Post has a fascinating interview up with Amna Farooqi, who just was elected head of J Street U (the organization's campus arm). Farooqi has caused a bit of a stir since she is a Pakistani-American Muslim -- not exactly whom you would expect to lead a pro-Israel Zionist organization.

I highly recommend reading this interview. Farooqi comes off as an extremely impressive and passionate woman; one genuinely committed to the cause of ensuring Jewish self-determination in tandem with Palestinian liberation. Her election has given J Street more than a milestone -- it has given them a strong leader as well.

The other thing I wanted to remark upon was the Farooqi's notation of her upbringing in Potomac, Maryland as a key influence that led her to this point. I'm familiar with those environs (Bethesda is the town next over), and to read what she said is truly heartening. Bethesda and Potomac are heavily Jewish, and strongly pro-Israel. That can be an interesting cocktail for someone who is not Jewish, and grows up in sympathy with the Palestinian cause. If it is expressed in zealous or ethnocentric or (god-forbid) racist terms, it can poison the outlook forever. But for Farooqi, her Jewish pro-Israel friends growing seemed to instill in her a sense that there was something to this narrative worth exploring. That, I think, is a tribute to my neighborhood and the sorts of people who live there, and the sort of thoughtfulness that is the right way for people to deliberate upon political issues of all sorts.

So I wish Ms. Farooqi the best of luck. But if I'm being honest, it seems she has enough of a wellspring of talent and passion that luck may well not be necessary.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've seen such anger directed at her online by leftists and Muslims. One of the saddest things about the I/P conflict, esp in the age of social media, is that people who bridge communities should be the most celebrated - and often they seem like the most hated.