Contributed by CAMERA intern Emma Fruchtman
More than just being the Jewish State, Israel is a vibrant country that is a center for scientific advancement, history, culture, and diversity. As such, she holds great significance for Jews and non-Jews alike. Especially now, Israel relies on a widespread support network, in which both the Black community and Christian Zionists have been instrumental leaders.
In order to show students that issues regarding the State of Israel are “not only of Jewish concern, but are also humanitarian problems,” Elana Zelden, the CAMERA Fellow at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, brought Dumisani Washington to speak on campus at an event organized by her together with Illini Students Supporting Israel.
Dumisani is a pastor from Northern California, the Diversity Outreach Coordinator for Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a founder of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI), and an advocate for Israel. He hopes to strengthen solidarity between Israel and Black Americans and other communities of color. At this event, Dumisani inspired students with his personal narrative. “He described the importance of Christian Zionism and the connection between the Zionist and Civil Rights movements. Since Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, [many people can discover what Israel means to them without a seemingly direct link].”
Following the CAMERA sponsored event, Elana heard outstanding feedback. Dumisani’s presentation was “very interactive and kept the entire audience engaged for the whole time,” according to a student who attended. Using Facebook and other methods of social media, the event attracted 50 students, which was more than expected. It was a great success! Pro-Israel students are hoping that this will help cement a relationship between different groups on campus and engage more students in the future.