337 Claudia Cohen Hall
"Israel in Africa: Medical Diplomacy and Global Health, 1959-1973."
Less than a decade after the formation of the State of Israel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invested heavily in the establishment of diplomatic relations with decolonized African states by providing aid in various fields, including agriculture, education, health, and construction. In the Cold War competition over development, Israel distinguished its aid by emphasizing its own postcolonial status, alleging similar geography, struggle for independence, and racial composition to prove solidarity with African states. The talk will examine how and why ophthalmology became Israel’s largest medical-aid program and in so doing examine Israel’s short-lived affiliation with the global South. The talk will address the historic and symbolic significance of ocular expertise in Palestine, Africa as an extraterritorial site of Zionist "pioneering" activities, and one physician’s use of diplomatic policies to provide a solution to a global medical problem.