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Israel’s secret relationship with Africa?

Posted by AT on June 16, 2010

Africa Today 61
Topic: Israel’s secret relationship with Africa?
Broadcast: 15th June 2010
Presenter: Henry Bonsu
Guest(s):
1- Thandi Makiwane, Community Activist
2- Richard Millett, Journalist
3- Richard Dowden, Royal African Society

Part 1

Description:
A report in the Guardian uncovers one of Israel’s secret relationship with Africa. It is not known the extent of Israel’s alliance with Africa and Secret documents revealing offer to sell nuclear warheads to South Africa cast fresh light on alliance.
Brief:
It’s the relationship that never was. Kept to the shadows, it was shielded behind secret agreements and disinformation that dressed up military cooperation as mining deals.
But when the spotlight occasionally flickered over one of the most intimate and enduring alliances of the postwar years, Israel was quick to underplay its deep military ties with apartheid South Africa as nothing more than a necessity of survival without a flicker of ideological affinity.
But as is shown by Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s book, The Unspoken Alliance, that relationship went beyond mere convenience.
For years after its birth, Israel was publicly critical of apartheid and sought to build alliances with the newly independent African states through the 1960s.
But after the 1973 Yom Kippur war, African governments increasingly came to look on the Jewish state as another colonialist power. The government in Jerusalem cast around for new allies and found one in Pretoria. For a start, South Africa was already providing the yellowcake essential for building a nuclear weapon.

Part 2

Israel’s relationship with South Africa began after most African governments cut ties with Israel against its 1973 Yom Kippur war. These Africa governments became suspicious about Israel and saw it as another colonialist power. South Africa was already providing Israel Uranium, a key ingredient in building nuclear weapon. Israel on the other hand failed in its attempts to sell South Africa nuclear warheads. However, Israel armed and provided the white minority government with military technology to help sustain its hold on power and its oppression of the black majority over two decades. South Africa subsequently became Israel’s largest weapons buyer. Is South Africa the only country Israel had this secret affair with? Africa Today explores Israel’s covert relationships with other African countries, and asks why some would rather we didn’t know what’s really going on”.

Part 3

Israel’s Africa relationship started long before Israel was founded in 1948. The father of modern political Zionism, Theodor Herzl in 1907 said “once I have witnessed the redemption of the Jews, my people, I wish also to assist in the redemption of the Africans.” This redemption was however shrouded in secret agendas and deals. Formal relations with Africa was established in the 1950’s when Israel opened its first embassy in Africa in Accra, Ghana. However many experts believe that Israel was more interested in political advantages and not economic gains. Its main contributions to Africa have been in the form of military aid such as weapons and training. Israel’s aim was to gain support over its war in the Arab region and also defuse Arab influence in Africa. The extent of this relationship with Africa is unknown but it is believed it goes further than South Africa.

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