|MEET OUR PANELISTS
Jafar Farah is the Founder and Director of the Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel. Farah is a long-time advocate and activist for civil rights for the Arab community in Israel. He was formerly chair of the National Union of Arab Students and President of the Committee for Arab Students at the University of Haifa. After holding these posts, he founded CEGAS, the Center for Educational Guidance for Arab Students. As a community organizer and activist, he was involved in establishing several organizations such as I’lam, ACAP (Arab Center for Alternative Planning) and the follow up committee for Arab education. Before establishing Mossawa, Jafar worked as a journalist for the Local network of Ha’aretz and as a TV producer. He continues to write articles that are published regularly in the Hebrew and Arabic press. He is one of the founders of the first Arab-language television station in Israel, Hala TV.
Dr. Shibley Telhami is the Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, Director of the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Among his publications are Power and Leadership in International Bargaining: The Path to the Camp David Accords, his best-selling book, The Stakes: America and the Middle East, which was selected by Foreign Affairs as one of the top five books on the Middle East in 2003, The World Through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East, and The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011. He was selected by the Carnegie Corporation of New York along with the New York Times as one of the “Great Immigrants” for 2013. He is also a recipient of the University of Maryland’s Honors College 2014 Outstanding Faculty Award and was recently selected as a 2018-2019 Distinguished Scholar-Teacher.
Maya Berry is the Executive Director of the Arab American Institute (AAI). In 1996 she established AAI’s first Government Relations department, which she led for 5 years before becoming Legislative Director for House Minority Whip David Bonior, where she managed the Congressman’s legislative strategy and developed policies on international relations, human rights, immigration, civil rights and liberties, and trade. In her personal capacity, Berry is a long-time Democratic Party activist who served as a member of the 2016 Democratic National Convention’s Platform Standing Committee and has attended all but one Democratic National Convention as a Delegate, Alternate or Standing Committee Member since 1992.
Jeremy Ben-Ami is the President of J Street, bringing to the organization deep experience in American politics, a strong belief in the power of diplomacy and a passionate commitment to the state of Israel. In this role, he has been at the center of the evolving debate around Israel and US foreign policy in Washington and in the American Jewish community. Ben-Ami received a law degree from New York University and is a graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Relations at Princeton University.
MODERATOR, Lara Friedman is the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP). With more than 25 years working in the Middle East foreign policy arena, Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular expertise on the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.