Though his trip lasted less than a day, he met with ten African leaders; the presidents of Rwanda, Uganda, Togo, Namibia, and Botswana, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and the Vice President of Nigeria.
The Israeli government is keen to shore up support for its confrontation with Iran. It is keen to recruit allies in a never ending, perpetually expanding war on terror. It is keen to achieve observer status in the African Union, and get some of Africa’s 54 votes the next time a resolution is brought before the United Nations General Assembly condemning the colonization of Palestine. Such a resolution is passed at least once a year, always by an overwhelming majority. Israeli governments have long wanted to reverse the “automatic majority” The connection between imperialism, colonialism, and Zionism was therefore widely understood among anti-colonial leaders in Africa. This wasn’t a connection formed purely in abstraction, either; Uganda, was even briefly considered as a destination for European Jews in the early days of the Zionist movement. In South Africa, the African National Congress continues to support the Palestinians diplomatically. Nelson Mandela was of course, a huge supporter of the Palestinians, and of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in particular. His grandson, Mandla Mandela, a South African parliamentarian, returned from a trip to Occupied Palestine last week, concluding in a press conference that “Palestinians are being subjected to the worst version of apartheid.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu has long been a supporter of BDS as well.