J Street, a nonprofit pro-Israel liberal advocacy group, has elected a Muslim-American student to serve as president of its national student board.
Haartez reports Amna Farooqi, 21, was "decisively" voted for the position at J Street’s Summer Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C.
Farooqi, who is of Pakistani descent, is a senior at the University of Maryland studying government and politics as well as Israel studies.
While speaking at a recent J Street conference, she said she “fell in love with Zionism,” because the movement “became about taking ownership over the story of one’s people.” Below is a video of her speech:
Farooqi spent the spring 2014 semester in Jerusalem, studying Hebrew and political science at Hebrew University in order to “meet people on the ground and understand the Israeli narrative from their perspective, and to put faces to things and see some of these issues up close,” according to Haaretz.
Some people anticipate Farooqi’s election will spark “harsh criticism” from certain parts of the Jewish community who already see J Street as anti-Israel.
Isi Leibler, a veteran diaspora Jewish leader and prolific commentator on Jewish and Israeli affairs, once stated that it’s “ridiculous” to call J Street a “pro-Israel” organization since it “actively lobbies the U.S. government to undermine the policies of the democratically elected government of Israel.”
Meanwhile, Farooqi calls herself fortunate to be a part of the group and intends to do her part in resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.
“I am so excited to serve as J Street U’s president,” she said. “I’m very excited for the next year.”