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What country in the world boasts the highest rate of support for Israel? The United States? Wrong. The highest rate of support for Israel can be found in the Ivory Coast, where 61 percent support Israel and only 16 percent support the Palestinians.
The same ratio is true where support for Hamas is concerned: Only 2% have a favorable opinion of Hamas and 37% have a "very negative" opinion of this organization.
This surprising finding is part of a global opinion survey conducted this year by the PEW Research Center, which included tens of thousands of participants in 47 countries. And Ivory Coast is not the only African country to demonstrate a high rate of support for Israel: In Ethiopia, which is half Muslim, the rate is 37%, as opposed to 25% who support the Palestinians. Similar rates can be found in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Even the Muslim country of Mali has a perceptible support rate for Israel - 13% - higher than in Spain and Italy.
None of the African countries polled, with the exception of Mali, demonstrated opposition to Israel of the kind we find in Britain, where 29% support the Palestinians, as opposed to only 16% percent who support Israel.
The opposition to Hamas in the African countries polled is even higher. The exception to this rule is Egypt, in which the opposition to Israel is all-embracing and support for Hamas especially high.
SUPPORT FOR Israel in African countries is exceptionally striking in view of the fact that the global anti-Israel campaign consistently presents Israel as an "apartheid," colonialist and racist country. Despite this, and in marked contrast to Britain, where this propaganda has taken on fascist proportions, African countries support Israel more than they do the Palestinians.
What is the reason for this?
In absence of a scientific study, we can only guess that support for Israel likely has a number of sources: the memory of the Arab slave trade (to this day, the Arabic word for "black African" is the same as the word for "slave"); the threat of Muslim expansion; the genocide perpetrated by Sudanese Arabs in Darfur; the asylum Saudi Arabia provided to murderer Idi Amin, and the absorption of Ethiopian Jews in Israel (which may explain the results of the survey in Ethiopia).
However, there may be a secondary reason: Israel's own anti-Zionist propaganda squads are not active in Africa: There could be a hidden connection between this activity and the level of hatred for Israel in other places.
AS A CASE in point, take Britain's Oxford University. The following activities were held there in the past school year: "Israel's wars in Gaza and Lebanon," with Avi Shlaim and Shachar Nativ; "The ethnic cleansing of Palestine," with Ilan Pappe; "Israeli apartheid week," with Avi Shlaim and Jemal Zehalka; screening of the film Route 181 by Eyal Sivan (the screening of which was canceled by the government of France because of French Jewish community claims that it was anti-Semitic); "Ethnic terror as a crime against humanity: The case of Palestine" - Lecturer: Ilan Pappe.
The list of one-sided, hate-filled, anti-Israel lectures goes on and on - all with the eager participation of Israelis or former Israelis.
These propaganda squads have not yet visited countries in Africa; they have not yet spewed their venom there. But it's never too late.
Come on, professors; come on, directors; come on, signers of the pro-Iranian petition at Tel Aviv University. Come on, post-Zionists and post-sociologists, come on, members of the editorial board of Theory and Criticism - come on over to Africa. I'm sure if you put your minds to it, you can produce the exact same results you achieved in Britain's universities.
The writer, former president of the Interdisciplinary Center - Herzliya, has been minister of education and a member of the Knesset.