Pastor Dumisani Washington, founder of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, spoke to students on campus on Monday about why African Americans should be Israel’s biggest supporters.
“Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, has done more than any other nation to help the black diaspora and the only black continent in the world, period. Israel was the first country in the world to have more embassies in the continent of Africa than any other country besides the United States,” he said at the event.
Washington talked about the work Israel has done in Africa, including the state’s effort to fight the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria. He added that Israel is the only state not interested in colonizing or imperializing Africa.
“Israel is not interested in expanding, they are interested in only helping Africa, and they are interested in freedom,” he said. “Israel helped find the cure for ebola, they discovered the cure for African kidney disease, they built academic libraries all across Africa, the largest solar field in East Africa was built by an Israeli company. Israel fights famine in Somalia, they rescue African refugees in the Sinai.”
Washington, born in the segregated South during the 1960s in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a pastor, composer and author. His goal is to reinforce solidarity between the Jewish state and black Americans and communities of color.
“Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood with Israel, as did a leader of the Black Panther movement, Eldridge Cleaver, who became a Zionist,” he said. “(Cleaver) went to Algeria where he saw real African enslavement at the hands of the Arabs.”
The pastor told the audience that Israel is often gives assistance and aid in various parts of the world in times of tragedy.
“Israel treats their enemies, those who want to annihilate them, in hospitals Israel built to help Arabs that are wounded when Hamas fires its rockets at schools, hospitals, daycares and nurseries,” he told students at the Ohio Union. “These Arab-Palestinians who want to kill Israelis, Israel is treating them and using their resources to help save their lives, and people say this country should not exist anymore?”
Washington also said Israel lended medical assistance after the Haiti earthquake and the typhoon in the Philippines, adding that the state was the first to show up after an earthquake devastated Nepal earlier in the year.
Brian Kurukulasuriya, a second-year in political science and the student leader for Christians United for Israel at OSU, said he believes that Israel and the Jewish people are held to a high double standard.
“Israel is the bulwark of democracy in a very unsafe region for religious and ethnic minorities. Israel has been one of the biggest investors in the African continent, while the Palestinian leadership profits off of the exploitation of blacks,” he said.
As a Catholic and a Sri Lankan-American, Kurukulasuriya said he knows that Israel has not only been a great friend to Africa and the African diaspora but also to Sri Lanka.
“Israel provided great help to Sri Lanka when Sri Lanka was dealing with terrorism for many years. Israel helped train the special task force in Sri Lanka and provided military aid to them which was very significant,” he said.
After talking about Israel’s human rights and justice, Washington spoke about Palestinian human rights as well.
“Let’s talk about how Hamas, the ruling party of Gaza, is the second wealthiest terror organization in the world, this according to Forbes. Let’s talk about what kind of human rights Hamas practices. Hamas makes money in African trafficking,” he said. “Yes, Africans fleeing places like Sudan, in order for them to get somewhere free like Israel or Europe they have to cross the Sinai, where they come into contact with Hamas slave traffickers.”
The pastor ended his speech by telling students that he sees Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in this world, and he said he believes the language of Zionism is the language of justice.
“Israel is a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Imagine what Israel could do if it didn’t have to spend so much of its time defending itself against annihilation,” he asked his audience. “As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, we are not going to judge someone by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. We are not going to judge the Israeli-Arab conflict by who is black, white or brown; we are going to judge it based off of justice.”