The Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI) – which seeks to strengthen ties between the State of Israel, global Jewish community, and people of African descent — is soliciting applications for the inaugural class of its new Plan for Education, Advocacy, and Community Engagement (P.E.A.C.E.) initiative.
The goal of the program is to teach young, influential Africans and Black Americans the history and importance of the Israel-Africa and Black-Jewish relations and train them to become effective ambassadors and advocates for Black-Jewish solidarity.
IBSI Founder Dumisani Washington told the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) that the concept behind the P.E.A.C.E. initiative was born two years ago, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and the outburst of racial tensions in the United States following the killing of George Floyd.
“Everything kind of exploded all at once, unfortunately having at its epicenter hatred for Israel, hatred for Jews, with once again the Jewish people being blamed for everything going on, particularly with the continued rise of Black Lives Matter,” Washington noted.
The P.E.A.C.E. initiative, he said, was based on a “different approach to Israel advocacy, particularly in the Black community.”
“And when I say different, I mean more reminiscent of what was the past,” Washington added.
Each of the 20 selected pilot program participants from across the United States will begin learning this September from a 16-module online study course, with Israeli, African, and American instructors, and also travel to South Africa and Zimbabwe in December and Israel next June.
“A key component of our approach is that there be a consistent melding of both the Black American and African narrative when it comes to Israel,” Washington said. “We feel that it’s really important that this advocacy in the Black community is integrated with Israel’s relationship with Africa.”
In terms of candidates for the program, Washington said, “The thing that we’re really looking for is their involvement in their communities, whether as pastors, city council members, school teachers, or football coaches, we’re looking for that sphere of influence they have in their communities, who they are and their ability to share this information in a way that will influence others.”
“It’s important to us how they think, how they process information, and if they are good communicators,” he continued.
“We have very big expectations for this,” Washington stated. “We believe it will be eye-opening and revolutionary for [the participants].”
After they complete their studies and travels, P.E.A.C.E. graduates will form Tesfa Centers in their home communities (“Tesfa” is Amharic word for “hope”) that are intended to be hubs Black-Jewish synergy, focused on community service activities that connect Blacks and Jews in positive ways.
Further information on the P.E.A.C.E. initiative and its application process can be found here.
To learn more about the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, please visit: ibsi-now.org.
A promotional video for the P.E.A.C.E. initiative can be viewed below: