Thursday, April 25, 2024

Zambia must clarify whether it will host an Israel-Africa summit


Pan-African News Wire Editor-Abayomi Azikiwe
Pan-African News Wire Editor-Abayomi Azikiwe

The gathering amid unprecedented Palestine solidarity demonstrations would go against historical continental support for nationally oppressed peoples, writes Abayomi Azikiwe

Several news articles were published in early December indicating that Zambian President Edgar Lungu has agreed to host a summit meeting between African Union (AU) member-states and the State of Israel. (See Jerusalem Post, Dec. 3, 2017)

These reports first surfaced during the inauguration ceremony for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi. President Lungu attended the second induction into office by Kenyatta who is the leader of East Africa’s largest economy.

Lungu met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the Kenyatta inauguration events. The Zambian leader was photographed shaking hands with Netanyahu during the meeting.

A similar summit was scheduled earlier in 2017 in the West African state of Togo. However, mass demonstrations by Togolese opposition parties and coalitions demanding the resignation of the government of President Faure Gnassingbe for undemocratic practices, forced Lome to postpone the announced summit.

Zambia’s largest newspaper the Lusaka Times reported on December 5 that:

“President Edgar Lungu, who met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week at the re-inauguration ceremonies for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, told ZNBC that ‘For whatever reason, we have been given the mandate to host this summit which will bring its own benefits to Zambia.’ President Lungu said Prime Minister Netanyahu had asked Zambia to host an Africa-Israel summit that was originally scheduled for Togo in September.”

Despite this claim of mystification by President Lungu, it is quite obvious that there were definite reasons why Zambia was targeted to host the meeting. The Southern African state is one of the few countries within the AU which has a military attache stationed in Israel where it opened an embassy in 2015. Israel does not have an embassy in Zambia.

Lungu paid a state visit to Israel in February 2017. The president was accompanied by a large delegation of ministers from his administration.

After his return to Zambia, Lungu was quoted in the Lusaka Times as saying:

“Israel is a pacesetter in survival instinct because it has a desert; but they have a thriving education, agriculture and information and communication technology sectors and we can explore and learn from them. A lot of benefits are expected out of this trip.”

Unfortunately, no statement was recorded in the same publication which cites the plight of the Palestinian people who share a similar history with Africans as it relates to colonialism and imperialism. Israel under successive leaders since 1948 has collaborated with the same white supremacist forces which conquered, exploited and oppressed African people and their descendants throughout the world.

The Lusaka Times then quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while he was in Kenya for the inauguration of Kenyatta as emphasizing in regard to Zambia that Tel Aviv’s aim was to:

“deepen its cooperation with the country, which I think is important for both our countries and both our peoples. I know that you’re opening a Jewish history museum in Zambia and soon a synagogue in the capital city. I hope one day I have the opportunity to visit those institutions and to visit Zambia.”

Africa and Israel: A Comparative History

Although Jewish people have been subjected to national discrimination in Europe and the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries, today since the recognition of the State of Israel by the United Nations in May 1948 most people do not consider them to be an oppressed people.  However, it is important to make a distinction between Judaism as a religion and Zionism as an ideology and political movement.

In fact when the founders of the World Zionist movement began in the later years of the 19th century, its leaders specifically sought to align themselves with the rising tide of colonialism throughout Asia and Africa. During the early phase of the Zionist movement Palestine was not the only location examined for the establishment of a Jewish state. (See Weizmann and Smuts: A Study in Zionist-South African Cooperation. (Institute for Palestine Studies Monograph No. 43, 1975)

Other areas considered by the Zionists included territories in Africa such as modern-day Madagascar, Uganda and Libya. By 1917, British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour issued his famous declaration which mandated the creation of a state for the Jewish and Arab peoples in the-then colony of Palestine. Most historical literature on this territory prior to 1948 referred to the area as Palestine.

Nevertheless, when the State of Israel was recognized by the UN it was done so as exclusively a Jewish state where millions of Palestinians had been forcibly removed and disenfranchised. In 1948, the UN was dominated by the European colonial powers and the U.S. The Soviet Union, whose military had made the greatest contribution to breaking the expansionist program of the Third Reich under Adolph Hitler, also voted in the UN to recognize the Jewish state in Palestine.

The overwhelming number of colonies in Africa did not gain their independence from European imperialism until after World War II with the upsurge of national liberation movements in Sudan, the Gold Coast (Ghana), Algeria, Tunisia, Kenya, Angola, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Southwest Africa (Namibia), etc. After the century-long existence of the Atlantic Slave Trade which uprooted millions of Africans from the continent to Europe, North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, the advent of classic colonialism was imposed on the continent.

During 1884-85, the Berlin West Africa Conference was held in Germany. This gathering carved up Africa among the imperialist powers. It would take over a century to bring about the independence of the continent with the Republic of South Africa overthrowing the racist apartheid system in 1994. At present only the Western Sahara, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), remains under the colonial control of the North African monarchy of Morocco.

Africa and Palestine Solidarity Has Grown Since the Post-Colonial Period

After the 1956 Suez Canal war when Britain, France and Israel invaded Egypt under President Gamal Abdel Nasser in order to retake control of this strategic asset, the political sympathy of most African states has shifted solidly in the direction of the Palestinian and other Arab people.

Later, as a result of the Egypt-Jordan-Syria wars with Israel in 1967 and 1973, a majority of independent African governments and national liberation movements broke relations with Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is viewed by progressive forces throughout Africa has the de facto representatives of the people. After the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993 which gave rise to the Palestinian Authority, there has been a period thawing in relations related to Tel Aviv and some African states.

However, African solidarity with Palestine remains strong. The Republic of South Africa under the ruling African National Congress (ANC) continues to be a bulwark of sentiment in favor of the recognition of an independent Palestinian state. This mood has existed in the Republic of Zimbabwe as well during the 37-year presidency of Robert Mugabe, the former leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front Party (ZANU-PF).

When on December 6, U.S. President Donald Trump issued his executive order to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem mass demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinian people have been held throughout the world. The three leading alliance partners in South Africa, the ANC, South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) have all issued statements decrying the policy decisions of Trump.

The U.S. government is the staunchest supporter of the State of Israel providing billions of dollars in assistance and military hardware on an annual basis. Egypt, due to military and political considerations ranks as the second largest recipient of direct aid from Washington. However, Africa as a whole can in no way compare to the economic, military and diplomatic support which is received by Israel irrespective of the fact that people of African descent in the U.S. are numbered in excess of 40 million inhabitants.

Consequently, the holding of an Israel-Africa Summit in Zambia would represent a tremendous setback in the progressive legacy of independent states on the continent. At this critical stage in international relations AU member countries should be intensifying their cooperation with other fraternal governments and peoples on the continent and indeed throughout the world.

The writer is Editor of the Pan-African NewsWire


  1. Zambia should host the Africa-Israel summit no question.Those useless Palestinians you speak of in the last paragraph haven’t spoken out for Africans being enslaved by their Arab friends..

    • Once upon a time the Palestinians welcomed them… and they lost everything. Theres a difference between zionists and jews. Distinguish and wise up before you are stripped off your rights and kicked off your land.

    • The entire world is condemning them and you want to welcome them. Mentality like yours then you wonder why we don’t progress as a nation.

    • Enka we have been enslaved by our greed. We have been enslaved by our corruption. We have been enslaved by our debts. Slavery of our own making

    • Truth is… they been looking for another country to control in Africa ever since South Africans became difficult to manage. Think about it… we are the easiest people to control. They just found a comfortable spot.

    • Mandela was asked why endeared himself to the Cuban leader who was seen as a cruel brutal dictator and his response was that why must enemies of our friends automatically be our enemies when in fact they have done more than our perceived friends in showing solidarity for our struggle and even went a step further than our so called friends to help us financially.

      Israel was declared a state in 48 only 16 years ahead of Zambia in 64. They have suffered as a nation way more than colonialism and apartheid.
      Palestine was to be created in 48 but the greed of the Arab states surrounding them has been the largest thorn in their back even leading to wars with Israel which Israel has kept winning and coming out of them with more territory.

      The greed of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq…

    • The LORD our God is with Zambia and with the people of the African continent. The Lord Jesus is known to have only walked 2 continents, the Middle East & Africa. Part of Christ’s humanly DNA is connected to Africa. The Bible says a time is coming when the LORD Almighty will receive offerings from the land beyond the rivers of Ethiopia which is divided by rivers Isa18:7. Behold there is a prophecy here from Prophet Isaiah who prohecied the coming of the Lord Jesus that no one can stop. Whatever anyone writes against Zambia or Israel will not work. God Bless Zambia!

  2. I’m waiting for a comment from Bonehead Mushota. Maybe just too much for her so called PHD!!! Come Bonehead, let’s have your input.

  3. For the record we share nothing with Palestinians. Arabs where the first ones to conduct slave trade of Africans. Way before the Europeans. They try to hide their true colours by saying they have something in common with us. But their true nature has been revealed in Libya. Am with the Israelites all the way. They have faced tremendous oppression in europe through the centuries as well as hatred from muslims who want them extinct. But they survive and thrive. Africans have much to learn from them. We need to cooperate and learn from Israel as much as possible.

    • Yup… Palestinians welcomed them just as you want to welcome them. Then they got kicked out of their homes. Theres a difference between zionists and jews. Distinguish and wise up before you sign up to getting kicked out of your own home.

    • Lol Journeyman. When will you ever learn the fact that…. the foreigners only want to use us! Slavery was, and still is… Be it Christian, Arab, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish or Zionist. Its time to stop sucking other peoples d i c k s. Become innovative. Make a plan (that works) and drive the country forward. Why do we keep looking for other people to help us! Jesus!

    • Slavery was a reality way before that which you read in books. It was their even in the time of Moses. You will find vague accounts of black slavery from way back. But it was not documented as explicitly as did the Europeans. And today we only read what the Europeans wrote. Their side of the story. Judging by the Muzungu media of today, I always read history with a pinch of salt.

  4. Zambia shall and will always stand with Israel. Many Israelis found refuge in this country during their oppression days and many have thrived in this country and also making huge investments. Livingstone as the then capitol city of this country was built mainly with investments from the Jewish people. Also the case of Gallun(sp) in Lusaka. Show me what the Palestinians have done in Zambia, or anything that we have in common with??? Zambia shud host.

  5. What a bunch of dumb heads who have no clue about history of the Middle East and the creation of zionist Jewish state of Israel. Go back to school and read. Try reading the bible too you dimwits so called Christian Nation.

  6. What a jumbled price of copy and paiste litriture , for starters the Africa Israel power project is a US funded project and has nothing to do with Zambia’s military attaché …….and second Zambia does not get to choice or decides weather it hosts the summit……as things stand Zambia is broke and is begging for the IMF and the Chinese and Indians literally own Zambia for the forseable future….

  7. There is no state in the International system that cares about the territory of another state. They just have interests which may be political, economic, military and religious. There are states that use religion to advance national interest. One of the reasons why Zambia has been told to host this summit is because of what we call soft power. Botswana is ranked no 1 in terms of soft power but they are completely liberal meaning they do not support Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. Zambia has a liberal and realist agenda in the international political system which is gud which is balanced. If we can benefit from this summit why not host it?

    • The truth is southern Africa is not easy for Israel to penetrate given the southern african domminant supperpower , south Africa never forgets Israeli collaboration with their oppressors the boers…..hence Israel’s seemingly closer ties to east African countries…..

    • The truth is southern Africa is not easy for Israel to penetrate given the southern african domminant supperpower , south Africa never forgets Israeli collaboration with their oppressors the boers…..hence Israel’s seemingly closer ties to east African countries…..

  8. As the Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba put some time back, Trump’s recognition of the annexation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, contrary to the 1980 UN Security Council Resolution 478, is total madness.

    Trump is a Judas Iscariot. He is no better than North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, who too has no respect for UN resolutions.

    As ANC, SACP and COSATU have done, we Zambian political leaders should strongly condem and reject the annexation of Jerusalem by Israel. Per our independence tradition, Zambia should stand by the side of the oppressed people of Palestine.

    • It is this same useless thinking that saw KK chase away Israelis conducting various projects in Zambia. This was in reaction to the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. One of the projects they were working on was the construction of UNZA Great East Road Campus. To date UNZA Great East Road Campus remains incomplete. What have we benefited from that action? Zero. Let’s re-examine solidarity and put national interest first.

  9. as I have seen what the Israelis are doing to our follow Africans who went their country as refugees, its will be impossible for many other African countries to welcome this oppressors.

  10. Business is business and should not be mixed with emotional attachments. The only issues is Zambia is not capable of hosting these summits. They need to look into hotel space, conventions, staffing, security, and how these conventions would be conducted. You need a skilled labour force to do this. If it was done well, this will put Zambia on the map and offer more in terms of business tourism among other things. This would be a chance to market Zambia and put her on the world map. As I keep telling the Minister of Tourism and Arts Mr. Banda and his Permanent Secretary Dr. Liya Mutale, one needs skills in this industry and not just be appointed in these roles with no education, skills, hands-on training and an understanding in this sector. They can’t pull this off.

  11. Is this a Zambia-Isreal or Isreal-Africa summit? If it’s an Isreal-Africa summit then it means other African countries will be represented. If they don’t want to relate with Israel, for whatever reasons, why then should they be present?
    I see nothing wrong about hosting the summit other than just some “political correctness” rhetoric.

  12. Other countries in Africa are now benefiting from Israeli innovation in agriculture, medicine,telecommunications , security etc. Zambia has nothing to lose and everything to gain by hosting this summit. If nothing else it will raise Zambia’s profile on the international stage. I dont believe the Zambian’s are weak they can stand up to any criticism and make their own decisions.
    Good Luck Zambia!

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