Delegation-Based Education and Advocacy
Mission Statement: Interfaith Peace-Builders fosters a network of informed and active individuals who understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the United States’ political, military, and economic role in it. To build and nurture such a network, we lead delegations of people from diverse backgrounds to Israel/Palestine. These delegations emphasize listening to and learning from those immersed in the reality of the conflict, and advancing the work of Israelis and Palestinians committed to nonviolent struggle and peace with justice. We seek to empower delegates to educate their local communities and the media, counter unfair or inaccurate stereotypes, and advocate for a more just US foreign policy that:
- actively promotes civil, political and human rights
- affirms political self-determination for Palestinians and Israelis
- fosters economic and environmental sustainability in the region
- supports a diplomatic resolution to the conflict rather than one imposed by force of arms.
What We Do
Interfaith Peace-Builders sends delegations to Israel/Palestine so that residents of North American can see the conflict with their own eyes. Participants have the opportunity to learn directly from Israeli and Palestinian nonviolent peace/human-rights activists, to spend time in Palestinian and Israeli homes, and to experience the situation of Palestinians living under military occupation. The delegations focus on seeing, listening to, and recording the experiences and perspectives of a wide range of Palestinians and Israelis. Click here to learn more about our Delegation Program.
Interfaith Peace-Builders describes our work as “delegation based education and advocacy.” This phrase embodies our commitment to be more than just a delegation program. In fact, participants on IFPB delegations know that their on-the-ground experience is only the beginning. They recognize the need to counter the myths that both distance and perpetuate the conflict. This is not an age-old religious strife, but a remnant of 19th century nationalism and colonial policies. The dispute is political in nature, complicated by religious divisions, spawned by colonialism and nurtured by nationalism. Not only can it be resolved, but we have an obligation to work toward that end. There will be no peace in the world without peace in the Middle East, and there can be no peace in the Middle East without a comprehensive resolution to this festering conflict.
The conflict is not just “over there.” It influences United States’ foreign and domestic policy, the federal budget and budget priorities, and affects many communities in the US with ties to the Middle East. The US government gives Israel billions of dollars annually, defines its relationship with Israel as ‘special’ and, at the same time, envisions itself an active peace-broker in the region. As a result, US citizens have a responsibility to understand the conflict and to push our government to implement a more acceptable and just policy. IFPB’s Education and Advocacy Program promotes movement building and civic engagement by empowering delegation participants to become forces for change in their own communities. Interfaith Peace-Builders emphasizes continued engagement, activist skills training, and empowerment to ensure that the delegation experience becomes a transformational event and a building block in the larger movement for Israeli-Palestinian peace and a just application of US policy in the region. Click here to learn more about our Education and Advocacy Program.
Interfaith Peace-Builders does not sponsor, side with, or promote the interests of any party, individual, or specific organization in Israel, Palestine, the US, or elsewhere. We do not endorse specific solutions for the conflict (such as “one-state” or “two-state”). Our work is intended to introduce delegation participants to a variety of opinions, debates, and analyses on Israel, Palestine, and the role of international – and US - civil society in the conflict.
However, there are core values that inform our work and are rooted in our long-standing ties with communities of peace-builders, resisters to oppression, and nonviolent activists. We are against military occupation in all forms and places. We believe in the transformative power of nonviolent social change. We work to challenge oppression, racism, and war in all their forms. We believe that many of the misconceptions prevalent in US mainstream discourse on Israel/Palestine can be most effectively confronted by on-the-ground experience of the situation.
We meet with numerous organizations in Israel/Palestine that do, of course, have specific analyses of the conflict and that do take political, ethical, or legal positions on a host of issues. We are intentional in introducing the delegates to as many different opinions as possible in a two-week experience. Individual delegates are invited to draw their own conclusions from the experience, and as such, their opinions after the delegation are theirs alone. Click here to learn more about Interfaith Peace-Builders' rich history and modern development.