Netanyahu’s diplomatic charm offensive in Africa is bound to fail

Israel/Palestine
on 16 Comments

Israel is making a big effort to improve its image and strengthen its diplomatic ties in Africa. Last year, Benjamin Netanyahu was the first Israeli prime minister in decades to visit the continent, and an Africa-Israel Summit is scheduled in the west African nation of Togo this October, which could attract 25 to 30 heads of state.

Israel’s aim is clear: bribe African nations with technology, agricultural help and military aid, in return for diplomatic support at the United Nations and other international organizations.

Tel Aviv’s push will almost certainly fall short. Ever since the 1970s, African nations have publicly supported Palestinian rights, and there is no sign of a change. Just last December, Senegal and Angola voted at the U.N. Security Council to declare Israeli settlements/colonies in the West Bank as illegal. In response, Israel petulantly canceled its aid programs in both countries.

What’s more, setting Palestine aside, Africans are aware that Israeli policies in Africa itself have long contributed to economic looting and support for dictatorships. Israel has just re-arrested a leading Israeli businessman, Beny Steinmetz, in an investigation into money laundering that is apparently connected to his allegedly stealing billions from Guinea over massive iron ore deposits.

But another Israeli billionaire, the shadowy Dan Gertler, is still under the radar. Gertler is at the heart of a gigantic looting scandal in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the world’s poorest nations, once again torn by violence. He apparently flies home to Tel Aviv from DR Congo most weekends, unscathed, even though Israel passed a law 8 years ago outlawing foreign bribery.

Israel’s arms exports to Africa have also contributed to tragedy. The excellent online alternative Israel publication, +972, exposed Tel Aviv’s weapons sales to South Sudan, which is caught up in an awful civil war in which as many as 300,000 people may have died.

Israel’s questionable policies in Africa are not new. Back in 1987, the Israeli academic and writer Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi published his thoroughly researched The Israeli Connection: Who Israel Arms and Why. Among Hallahmi’s findings was that by the mid-1980s Tel Aviv was the prime military supplier to Mobutu Sese Seko, the dictator of Zaire, as DR Congo was known then, and Israelis also helped trained his secret police. Mobutu’s disastrous 32-year reign is a major reason DR Congo is in such a terrible state today.

Netanyahu told Israel’s ambassadors to Africa earlier this year, “The first interest is to dramatically change the situation regarding African votes at the UN and other international bodies from opposition to support.” To achieve this goal, Israel has a lot of history to overcome.

About James North

Other posts by .


Posted In:

16 Responses

  1. mcohen..
    August 20, 2017, 12:33 am

    Israel has a lot to offer african countries in the agritech sector.world class proven products.this is crucial to helping african countries feed there people instead of getting handouts from aid organizations.

    • just
      August 20, 2017, 10:06 am

      That’s rich, indeed. Israel takes more from “aid organizations” (including the US government and their too quiescent and ignorant taxpayers) than any country on this planet. Anything good that Israel can offer “Africa” has already been diminished by theft and death as Mr. North has profiled. Netanyahu’s agenda has never been anything but horror for millions of souls. Have you seen/witnessed how Israel treats African refugees (including Jewish ones)? Check out David Sheen:

      http://www.davidsheen.com/racism/#articles

      Check out Ronit Dison’s recent article right here:

      “Why I am leaving Israel”

      http://mondoweiss.net/2017/08/why-leaving-israel/

      “Agritech” can be provided by many others, including Africans. Arresting climate change would be a marvelous place to start~ NOW.

      “Netanyahu told Israel’s ambassadors to Africa earlier this year, “The first interest is to dramatically change the situation regarding African votes at the UN and other international bodies from opposition to support.” ”

      Not every hungry human is susceptible to raw bribery. Dictators might be.

  2. just
    August 20, 2017, 7:44 pm

    I guess great minds think alike, James North!

    Ali Abunimah:

    “Will South Africa push back Israel’s charm offensive in Africa?

    South Africa will boycott an Africa-Israel summit planned for the Togolese capital Lomé in October.

    Pretoria’s ambassador in Beirut reportedly said that the summit was aimed at normalizing relations between African countries and what he termed an “occupation state.”

    He also pledged support for efforts to urge other African states to do the same.

    If South Africa follows through, it may indicate that it is ready to exert more diplomatic muscle to counter Israel’s influence.

    Togo is inviting the governments of all 54 African states to the summit, but Palestinians, Morocco and South Africa are working to oppose it, Israeli sources told The Times of Israel.

    In June, Morocco’s King Muhammad VI boycotted a summit in Liberia of the West African regional grouping ECOWAS because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited.

    Netanyahu has described Togo’s willingness to host the upcoming summit as “the best testimony to the success of our policy, of Israel’s presence in Africa.”

    Supporting Africa’s “most brutal regimes”

    Israel has a long and sordid history of involvement on the continent. Once maintaining ties with several dozen countries, its relations with African states cooled significantly after the 1967 and 1973 Middle East wars.

    But Israel maintained extremely close ties with apartheid South Africa. Tel Aviv was the white supremacist regime’s main weapons supplier when Pretoria was under a tightening international embargo.

    Israel now markets itself to African countries as a purveyor of development technologies such as drip-irrigation – assistance it withdrew from Senegal in revenge for that country’s December vote for a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

    But Israel has continued to fuel violence and atrocities in Africa by supplying arms used in conflicts in South Sudan and Burundi and sending weapons to Rwanda before the 1994 genocide – a role Israel has sought to cover up.

    According to the New African magazine, most trade between Israel and Africa has been “in the defense and military sector, exporting Israeli arms, experts and techniques to some of Africa’s most brutal regimes.”

    Summit host Togo is reportedly one country where Israel provides military training.

    But now in addition to military exports, the New African reports, many Israeli firms are “looking to Africa as a business playground.”…

    …Veteran South African freedom fighter and former government minister Ronnie Kasrils is also warning lawmakers that Israel lobby groups are trying to undermine their stance by inviting them to events with the Israeli officials under the umbrella of Jewish community organizations.

    The ANC’s parliamentary caucus said the refusal to meet the Israeli delegation stems from “disquiet” about the Knesset’s recent law retrospectively “legalizing” settler grabs of Palestinian land.

    It adds that: “The continuous killings of Palestinians by the Israeli security forces, administrative detentions, deportations and many other human rights violations also form part of the reasons why the ANC cannot allow itself to be co-opted into this charm offensive by Israel through this parliamentary visit.”

    The question is how hard South Africa will push and how successful it will be in convincing other African states not to be co-opted either.”

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/will-south-africa-push-back-israels-charm-offensive-africa

  3. Susan A
    August 21, 2017, 12:23 am

    That’s the problem: “Africa’s most brutal regimes” will be more than happy to be bribed by Israel. I hope James is right, but fear that he may be wrong. I hope that Africa proves my fears unfounded.

  4. Arafatbastard
    August 21, 2017, 8:16 am

    But, it’s working.

    You need a new scriptwriter. Try Leni Riefenstahl: she had some weird ideas about Africans too.

  5. Mayhem
    August 21, 2017, 8:54 am

    What Israel is doing is the same as any other nation – endeavoring to expand its trade and relations with other countries. This just happens to get up the goat of those who despise Israel for what is is able to achieve despite all those who seek its destruction.

    • Misterioso
      August 21, 2017, 10:45 am

      @Mayem

      People “despise Israel” because it is a belligerent/illegal/brutal occupier of Palestinian and other Arab lands. It is also racist, an ethnic cleanser and a serial violator of hard won international humanitarian law.

    • eljay
      August 21, 2017, 2:07 pm

      || Mayhem: What Israel is doing is the same as any other nation – endeavoring to expand its trade and relations with other countries. This just happens to get up the goat of those who despise Israel for what is is able to achieve despite all those who seek its destruction. ||

      What Iran is doing is the same as any other nation – endeavoring to expand its trade and relations with other countries. This just happens to get up the goat of those who despise Iran for what it is able to achieve despite all those who seek its destruction.

      The government of Iran appreciates your support.

      • DaBakr
        August 21, 2017, 9:42 pm

        @e

        There is nothing incorrect about your statement. if you prefer the iranian system of government(which you obviously do) you would only be in conflict with the general western (and specifically US) policy of containing Iranian influence since it benefits the ayatollah and its brutal basij, the irg and the butcher of a million fellow Syrians more then and before any benefit to Iranian people.

        let’s see how far you have to dig to find Syrian war refugees, North African and others rushing to get into iran for their social benefits. but you far left fringe have a history of supporting the most brutal empires the earth has hosted in the past 500yrs. Russia killed over 20 million and mao did the same. your sense of outrage for tzyionism is questionable if it’s anything more then an obsession. And strictly by the numbers Israel wars has resulted in death tolls that pale in comparison with 1000s of other international conflicts. but then you say it’s not about numbers. it’s about evil. another total joke.

      • eljay
        August 22, 2017, 7:40 am

        || @k: @e

        … if you prefer the iranian system of government(which you obviously do) … you far left fringe have a history of supporting the most brutal empires the earth has hosted in the past 500yrs. … ||

        I advocate the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality. I understand how that might sound sinister to a supremacist like you.

        || … strictly by the numbers Israel wars has resulted in death tolls that pale in comparison with 1000s of other international conflicts. but then you say it’s not about numbers. it’s about evil. another total joke. ||

        There’s nothing acceptable or amusing about evil regardless of who does it. Not surprisingly, you seem to think that as long as your pile of evil shit is smaller than some other fucker’s pile, it doesn’t stink.

  6. MHughes976
    August 21, 2017, 1:29 pm

    James is being far too optimistic – at least I would think so after looking at all-Jazeera report for August 15th on the forthcoming African ‘summit’. Netanyahu has already visited, seemingly with some success, the West African economic meeting in Liberia this year and the general trend per al-J is for the waning of the historic African support for Palestine. ‘History can be overcome’ by the sheer need to do business, or to put it less kindly by money. It’s also playing into the tensions between Muslims and Christians in Africa – the President of Nigeria did boycott the Liberia meeting but was opposed at home for behaving as if Nigeria were a Muslim state.

  7. DaBakr
    August 21, 2017, 9:16 pm

    mr. ((())) doesn’t seem to understand what the word diplomacy means. another big surprise. israel has been helping africans for decades without much notice.

  8. hophmi
    August 22, 2017, 7:26 am

    It’s already a success.

Leave a Reply