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J Street chapter opens at the University of Arizona

Some+of+the+board+of+J+Street+U+of+A+at+the+J+Street+national+conference+with+Rep.+Pramila+Jayapal+%28D-WA%29.+In+order+from+left+to+right%3B+Ross+Nemeth%2C+Charlie+Shadid%2C+Daniel+Wittenberg+and+Izak+Lord-Wohlstein.+Courtesy+of+Daniel+Wittenberg.
Some of the board of J Street U of A at the J Street national conference with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). In order from left to right; Ross Nemeth, Charlie Shadid, Daniel Wittenberg and Izak Lord-Wohlstein. Courtesy of Daniel Wittenberg.

J Street U of A is a newly registered club at the University of Arizona that is all about politics and democracy.

J Street U of A is the UA chapter of J Street U. The club strives to teach students about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and advocate for human rights, peace and democracy. The club plans to hold honest and nuanced conversations regarding the conflict and the United States’ involvement. 

“We believe that it’s really important that we can provide a forum for people to just come, learn, discuss and bring ideas,” Daniel Wittenberg, former president of J Street U of A said.

Wittenburg, sophomore, founded the UA chapter of J Street over a year ago. With the help of the officers and members, they worked hard to get J Street U of A recognized. 

Wittenberg said that they first registered as an official club in spring of 2022. “I’d say it took about a week to get everything together because we needed an advisor and to create a constitution,” Wittenberg said. The club has to register every April for the following school year which, from now on, will take only a few hours.

Wittenberg has recently been elected to become the West Coast vice president for J Street U nationally. He said that he’ll still be involved in the club but most of his time will be spent doing things for all West Coast chapters.

Charlie Shadid, sophomore, is stepping into Wittenberg’s position and taking over as president of J Street U of A starting this semester. 

Shadid has had an interest in politics since he was in high school and knew that he wanted to get involved during his college years. He saw J Street U of A at the club fair in his freshman year and knew that was the route he wanted to take due to his background knowledge on the conflict. 

He said he got involved in the club pretty quickly and soon took an officer position as secretary. 

Shadid said that when he joined the club he tended to take more of a pro-Palestinian approach to the issue but after having discussions, he shifted his thinking a bit. 

“It has made me understand, you can take a side that supports both. It’s not black and white,” Shadid said, “You can just support human rights and express outrage against human rights violations.”

Mayra Shoshitaishvili, sophomore, was involved in J Street U of A before she even officially joined in the spring 2023 semester.

She learned about the club through Wittenberg during her freshman year and connected to it on a personal level. Her family immigrated to the U.S. during World War II.

“I want to get more involved with things relating to my culture,” Shoshitaishvili said. 

Shoshitaishvili said that she wants to be able to help people in Palestine and Israel as an emergency medical technician. 


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