Israel in Africa: Security, Migration, Interstate Politics (Bloomsbury) was published in April 2020 as part of the African Arguments book series.
Amidst the turmoil of the Middle East, few have noticed the extent to which Israel has slowly but surely been building alliances on the African continent. Facing a growing international backlash, Israel has had to look beyond its traditional Western allies for support, and many African governments in turn have been happy to receive Israeli political support, security assistance, investments and technology. But what do these relationships mean for Africa, and for wider geopolitics?
With an examination of Africa’s authoritarian development politics, the rise of Born-Again Christianity and of Israel’s thriving high-tech and arms industries, from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the migration of Africans to Israel and back again, Gidron provides a comprehensive analysis of the various forces and actors shaping Israel’s controversial relationships with countries on the continent.
In particular, the book demonstrates that Israel’s interest in Africa forms part of a wider diplomatic effort, aimed at blocking Palestine’s pursuit of international recognition. Though the scale of Israeli-African engagements has been little appreciated until now, the book reveals how contemporary African and Middle Eastern politics and societies interact and impact each other in profound ways.
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“Israel’s role in Africa is a blind spot within a blind spot. For an academic generation, Africa’s relationship to the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula has been neglected, during which time scholarship on Africa and on the Middle East has travelled on parallel tracks, too rarely bridging the Red Sea. […] Yotam Gidron has done us all a huge service by putting Israel and Africa back on the agenda. Israel in Africa is also an excellent book.”
“Yotam Gidron’s Israel in Africa is an important piece of scholarship. The book fills intellectual gaps in the field of African international relations in two significant respects. First, it provides an up-to-date accounting of Israeli engagement on the continent, capturing both historical trends and more recent developments during Benjamin Netanyahu’s second stint as Prime Minister. Second, Gidron offers us insight into a type of external actor in Africa too often ignored in discussions of African international relations: middle or medium sized powers, whose footprint is no doubt dwarfed by those of larger states, but remain significant political agents in African affairs.”
“This captivating book tells the important, but still misunderstood, story of Israel’s involvement in Africa over the last decades. From defense and the extractive industries to migration, as well as the way in which the diplomatic jostling over Palestine and the ubiquitous rivalry with Iran play out on the continent, Israel in Africa’s insights deserve a broad readership.”
Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, University of Oxford
“Intriguing, informative, well-written and drawing on an impressively wide range of sources, Israel in Africa offers an original, thought provoking and creative analysis of Israel’s evolving relationships with African countries. It will leave many of its readers enraged or surprised but, most certainly, with original insights and a strong urge to further explore this topic.”
Galia Sabar, Ruppin Academic Center
“Israel is going back into Africa in a significant way and an active Israeli policy towards Africa is emerging, seeking new allies, new business opportunities and new security collaborations. Yotam Gidron’s book provides a nuanced account of these developments, contextualising them within both history and contemporary Israeli politics. A major contribution to an overlooked subject.”
Ian Taylor, University of St Andrews
“An outstanding scholarly monograph on a neglected dimension of Israel’s approach to relations outside the Middle East. This study authoritatively illuminates the evolving context and complex character of Israel’s engagement with Africa. Its contents are well-documented, politically balanced, clearly written, and lucidly analyzed.”
Richard Falk, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967
“The story of Israel’s new alliances on the African continent is largely untold. Gidron does us a service by making them the subject of his book. Israel in Africa takes its place in a new wave of indispensable scholarship appraising the fast-changing place of African states in international relations.”
Jonny Steinberg, Oxford University
“La politique africaine d’Israël n’avait pas fait l’objet d’un livre depuis les années 1990. L’africaniste israélien Yotam Gidron livre un passionnant travail de synthèse associant histoire et choix politiques récents.”
“Yotam Gidron has stepped up with a timely new book, Israel in Africa: Security, Migration, Interstate Politics, that, in a pithy 159 pages (minus footnotes), masterfully explains the rise, fall, and reemergence of Israel-Africa relations since 1948. […] Anyone interested in understanding Israel’s role in the world today is strongly encouraged to pick up a copy of Israel in Africa. It’s a short, power-packed book well worth the time.”
“This book is an easy read and good food for thought. The author employs both primary and secondary sources and deals with a diverse number of important issues in a critical though objective manner. There is still much room for further research in subjects introduced, but this work is a good start for those seeking to understand the complexities of the Jewish state’s relations with countries on the African continent and how they relate to internal developments in Israel.”