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No, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu didn’t say he would ‘recolonise’ Africa after he ‘finished Palestine’ – 2016 speech taken out of context

IN SHORT: A video of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu allegedly talking about the “recolonisation” of Africa is circulating online in early 2024. But it is over seven years old and has been edited to deceive.

“After I finish Palestine, tell African gullible leaders that I’m coming for them to recolonize them.”

That’s a quote attributed to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is overlaid on a TikTok video circulating widely across social media in February 2024.

The clip shows Netanyahu giving a speech. It begins with him saying: “After I liberate the Jewish people, I will go to Africa to liberate the black people.”

The audio then switches to a voiceover. It says: “Video footage of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, talking about Israel’s goals for Africa in a press conference in Uganda, has many on the continent speculating what those plans and goals are.”

“Will Africa be Israel’s next target after they completely dominate Palestine?”

The clip then returns to Netanyahu’s speech, in which he talks about Israel’s “tremendous opportunities” and how it has used technology to solve problems in water supply and agriculture.

He says: “We are eager to share this technology in so many fields with our African friends. We think that Israel is the best partner that the countries of Africa could have.”

The video ends with the voiceover saying: “Do you think Israel is genuinely seeking to help Africa, as stated by the prime minister? Or is there something sinister behind these amazing promises?”

The video can also be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

There’s no indication of when Netanyahu made the speech, but the video was first posted on TikTok on 16 February. This was a few days after Israel announced it would launch a full-scale ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah.


Israel’s war on the Palestinian territory of Gaza

Israel is a country in the Middle East and the world’s only Jewish state. The Gaza Strip is a small Palestinian territory wedged between Israel and the eastern Mediterranean sea.

Israel has waged war against Gaza since Hamas, which controls the strip, launched an attack on Israel on 7 October 2023. By 28 February 2024, the war had killed 29,954 Palestinians in Gaza and internally displaced 1.7 million more.

On 13 February, South Africa asked the United Nations’ International Court of Justice to consider whether Israel’s planned invasion of Rafah, “the last refuge for surviving people in Gaza”, would breach the court’s provisional orders in its genocide case against Israel.

But is the TikTok clip evidence that Netanyahu said “gullible” African leaders should be told Israel would be “coming for them to recolonize them” after he “finished Palestine”? And where and when did he give the speech?

Netanyahu quoting 19th-century Zionist

Africa Check googled phrases from the clip where he discusses water supply and agriculture. This led us to a full transcript of the speech on the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office website, dated 4 July 2016.

It’s headlined: “PM Netanyahu's Statement at the African Summit.”

Netanyahu visited four East African countries in July 2016. In Uganda, he held a meeting with the leaders of seven countries in the region. The speech was delivered at this meeting.

The original video of the speech can be seen on the verified Facebook page of the prime minister of Israel, as well as on the Times of Israel's YouTube channel.

The original and its transcript reveal that Netanyahu’s opening statement in the TikTok clip – “After I liberate the Jewish people, I will go to Africa to liberate the black people” – has been taken out of context.

The words were not his. Instead, he was quoting the 19th-century Austrian journalist Theodore Herzl, who proposed the idea of a Jewish state in 1896.

What Netanyahu actually said was:

The founder of modern Zionism, the national movement of the Jewish people, was Theodore Herzl, and he said: “After I liberate the Jewish people, I will go to Africa to help liberate the black people.”

And nowhere in the original video does the Israeli prime minister say: “After I finish Palestine, tell African gullible leaders that I’m coming for them to recolonize them.”

Netanyahu’s speech was delivered in July 2016, not February 2024. The TikTok video is deliberately misleading and its claim is false.

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