Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Attempted ‘Rebranding’ of BDS on the African Continent - by Ben Cohen

BDS South Africa’s shameful misrepresentation of Nelson Mandela as a militant anti-Zionist is simply one aspect of its broader campaign of defamation, in which no inaccuracy, half-truth or outright lie is too wild if it helps with the demonization of Israel and Zionism.

Ben Cohen..
13 March '20..

The BDS movement, whose goal is for rest of the world to quarantine the State of Israel as though it was the coronavirus, is undergoing a “rebranding” in its South African heartland.

Last week, BDS South Africa—an NGO that enjoys significant influence within the ruling African National Congress—announced that it was adopting a new name, a new logo and a new(ish) mission. Henceforward, the group will be known as “Africa for Palestine.” Its understanding of what constitutes “Palestine” is displayed in its logo, which shows a Palestinian keffiyeh carefully folded into a map of the entire territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan.

What’s with the organization’s redefined mission? According to a statement last week from BDS South Africa, the newly branded group—whose acronym, AFP, is suspiciously similar to that of Africans for Peace, a local grassroots group that is firmly opposed to the boycott of Israel—“will seek to build alliances and partnerships across the continent, reinforce direct support to Palestine and assist the Palestinian Diaspora.” The main means of achieving this is through “pushing back against Israel’s creeping infiltration into our continent.”

Leaving aside the “creeping” medieval echoes of this latter statement, one is struck by the sheer resentment underlying it. After the Jewish state developed close economic and political ties during the 1950s with African nations newly liberated from the shackles of European colonialism, Arab pressure forced Israel out of the continent for several decades. During this century, however, a combination of creative Israeli diplomacy, cutting-edge Israeli technology and development expertise, and a new determination among African leaders to set relations with Israel on their own terms (as opposed to those of pan-Arab or pan-Islamic organizations) have brought that period of isolation to a decisive end. The Israeli presence has mushroomed across the continent, and Jerusalem now has full diplomatic relations with 41 of the 44 sub-Saharan states.

(Continue to Full Column)

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