Israel, the American black community and Jews have a long and storied relationship. Recently, that relationship has become strained due to rising antisemitism and intersectional ideology that conflates black and Palestinian identities.
Historically, some black American groups have sided with the Palestinians against Israel, while others have been inspired by Israel’s story and message. Pastor Dumisani, founder of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel and the guest on today’s episode of “Our Middle East,” belongs in the latter group.
Washington notes that many African states are inspired by Israel, and some have even declared their intention to establish embassies in Jerusalem. He shares some of his experiences with a diverse group of pastors, including Asians, Latinos and black Americans, who he says were impressed with Israel’s multiethnic and democratic nature.
According to Abu Toameh, Israel’s integration with the Arab world at large, and most recently with Sudan, is a prospect that greatly worries the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinian groups.
The Palestinian Authority has gone so far as to establish a special team to combat what it calls Israel’s attempts to “penetrate” the African continent, he says. This sentiment has been echoed in recent years in several Arab countries, with prominent Egyptian, Lebanese, Algerian and Tunisian columnists criticizing African countries for normalization with Israel, taking a condescending tone that these states resent, he notes.
Israel’s Arab citizens are by contrast largely pragmatic in their approach to politics. Regardless of whether or not they self-define as Zionists, they may support the state—especially when it is attacked, he explains.
Diker notes that the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs is organizing a convention in Jerusalem in late March that will bring together 15 African states to discuss development, water and food security, national security and technological advancement in these areas.
“Our Middle East: An Insider’s View” airs live every Monday on JNS TV Youtube Channel, Facebook and Twitter at 1:30 PM EST/8:30 PM IST. You can also listen to the audio version here. Produced by JNS in partnership with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Dan Diker is the President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a foreign policy expert and the Former Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress.
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning Arab-Israeli journalist and TV producer. He covers Palestinian Affairs for the Jerusalem Post.