Israel’s UN Ambassador: Improved Ties With Africa to Bolster Support for Israel at Biased UN
As Israel and Africa enter into a “renaissance” in their relationship, the diplomatic benefits for the Jewish state are massive, Israel’s UN ambassador wrote on Tuesday.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Danny Danon wrote that one of the “larger, multilateral and global benefits of improved relations with Africa” will see “an opportunity, among other things, to bolster support for Israel on the international stage, particularly at the United Nations.”
He continued: “For many decades, Israel has suffered under a bias at the UN because we have been greatly outnumbered in almost every forum. One byproduct has been the Palestinian attempts to circumvent direct negotiations through international bodies. Better relations between Israel and Africa could mitigate this escape hatch and encourage the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.”
Israel has already seen “what is possible” when African countries step up to support of Israel, Danon wrote.
One example cited by the ambassador was the 2014 abstention on the part of Nigeria and Rwanda in a vote on a Palestinian-proposed Security Council resolution calling for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, a move Danon credited with “stopping the initiative.”
More recently, African countries came to Israel’s assistance during Danon’s bid to chair the prestigious UN Legal Committee, a move highly contested by most Arab and Muslim states.
“[T]he Non-Aligned Movement headed by Iran sought to deny Israel the full rights and privileges awarded to all other UN member states,” he wrote. “This attempt to boycott Israel was thwarted when African countries such as Kenya and Rwanda demanded that my candidacy be considered in the same manner as every other country seeking a leadership position.”
According to Danon, the Palestinians are determined to use the UN as an ally, “with the hope of imposing a solution on Israel and avoiding any of the hard decisions needed for real peace.” Asserting that “Israel’s most important partner remains the American people,” he said that in order to confront its enemies and expand its influence in the international forum, “Israel must expand its diplomatic horizons and widen our circle of friends.”
“We are deepening our relationship with Africa because it is the right thing to do and because there are economic benefits for both sides. But Israel will also be sure to leverage these important relationships to ensure that it is finally treated fairly at the UN, as a full member state with the rights and privileges afforded to all other nations,” he wrote.
Danon’s comments come after a historic visit to Africa by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month, where he met with leaders in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.