Elshishtawy Talks to J Street U Student Leaders

April 17, 2014

MPAC’s National Policy Analyst Hoda Elshishtawy was recently invited to speak at J Street U’s Town Hall at Johns Hopkins University. The event, “Homeland and Diaspora: Political Developments in the Palestinian Territories and Arab American Communities,” was attended by over 120 J Street U student leaders from across the nation.

Elshishtawy spoke on a panel including, Aziz Abu Sarah, Executive Director at the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution; Khaled Elgindy, Fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Rebecca Abou-Chedid, co-Chair and Board of Director at Just Vision.

The panel highlighted foreign policy concerns playing out among American Palestinian and Arab institutions and how they advocate on foreign policy initiatives. Palestinian and Arab communities in the U.S. are important domestic political players and key stakeholders in the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Elshishtawy highlighted the need for young Jewish and Palestinian Americans to come together on college campuses to address concerns, challenges and opportunities when it comes to the peace process and the conflict in general.

“Unfortunately, the general trend of feeling safe in engaging on this issue on college campuses is low,” Elshishtawy said. “We need to create safe spaces on campuses for students to be able to feel comfortable to speak freely in an effective and respectful manner. Additionally, when students don’t feel safe, they disengage; and when students marginalize their voices, they become disempowered.”

Over the last nine months, Secretary Kerry has been pushing for negotiations between Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas to work toward a sustainable two-state solution.

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