As someone who has traveled to Africa and met with pro-Israel Africans, the Prime Minister’s latest trip to Africa, this time to the ECOWAS summit in Liberia and the renewed relations between Senegal and Israel formed there, is not a surprise. More and more African nations, both Muslim and Christian see Israel as a worthy partner in helping to build their countries. Whether out of religious reasons or necessity, the African continent feels close to the people of Israel. Perhaps the real reason is that for the first time a country is willing to help build Africa for just one thing in return: friendship.
Along with this friendship comes an interesting bi-product and that is the clear rebuttal of the BDS movement. The growing African-Israel relationship puts to rest the flawed concept of Israel as an oppressor. What better push back against those who claim Israel is an apartheid state than from the continent that suffered the most under European colonialism and the slave-trade. This is obviously not the reason to develop a strong working relationship with Africa, but the growing bilateral relations has a tremendous economic and PR upside.
Bibi Netanyahu said the following on the onset of his visit to Liberia:
“As a result of my visit to east Africa we are now going to west Africa and my goal is to erode this majority, this great blocking majority of 54 African countries that is the basis of the automatic majority against Israel in the UN and other international bodies.
“I think that it is to Israel’s credit how they esteem us. This is a long journey but we are surely making it step by step.
In order for the current trajectory to continue, Israel needs to continue to act as a positive partner in helping to build an Africa that is strong and innovative.