It has been brought to my attention that the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote I used in my “White Supremacy” article printed last week was made up. I quoted from another source that was not aware that it was not a true statement. I am certainly grateful that the editors and readers of The South End are checking the sources of my articles. I pride myself in doing research for my writing and it is very important that I give accurate information. I am quite disappointed in my error.
The excerpt I used was from a “Letter to a Anti-Zionist Friend” supposedly written by Dr. King. While we now know that this letter was never written, it is important to see in what other place this letter has shown itself. According to the media watchdog CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, www.camera.org), this letter is not found anywhere prior to 1999. On the other hand, they did find a copy of it in the book “Shared Dreams” by Marc Shneier whose preface was written by Martin Luther King III. Obviously Dr. King’s family was also unaware that this “Letter” was a hoax.
Actually, there is plenty of evidence to show that Dr. King was a strong supporter of Jews and Israel. In fact, when he spoke at Harvard University in 1968, he was quoted as saying “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.” (“The Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews and Israel” by Seymour Martin Lipset; Encounter magazine, Dec. 1969, p. 24).
U.S. Representative John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia worked directly with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Lewis wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle January 21, 2002 about Dr. King and his relationship with the State of Israel. Lewis explained that Dr. King saw a strong connection between the Jewish and the African-American communities. He saw that both peoples had been oppressed and murdered just because of who they were. Dr. King was one of the first to bring attention to the persecution of Jews in the former Soviet Union. “I cannot stand idly by....For what happens to them happens to me and you, and we must be concerned.”
Dr. King saw the creation of the Jewish State in 1948 and the miraculous six day victory of Israel over its neighbors in 1967. He saw when Israel took the historic lands of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) back and was clear about his vision for the State of Israel. On March 25, 1968 he stated that, “peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done....Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.”
Again, I apologize for the mistake I made in last weeks article in The South End, and I appreciate the opportunity to correct that mistake. Dr. King was a great man, and it would be a dishonor to him to misquote his message of brotherhood between the Jewish and African-American communities.