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The ‘arc of the moral universe’ bends towards justice for Palestine

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An interesting development happened this Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend:  acclaimed African American scholar Michelle Alexander joined the long list of African American activists and intellectuals (Angela Davis, Marc Lamont Hill, Robin Kelley, Cornel West, and more) as well as thousands of younger organizers (Black Lives Matter, Black for Palestine, Dream Defenders) who openly support Palestine, even as she indicated, in her New York Times Op-Ed, that she had been intimidated by the Israel Lobby into not expressing her views earlier.  The timing was exquisite: Martin Luther King Jr. Day is generally a day when Zionists resurface quotes by the slain civil rights icon in which he expresses support and admiration for Israel. (Many of the quotes have never been confirmed, but verity has never been a Zionist concern). This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day events also coincide with the national Women’s March, whose leaders have been accused of anti-Semitism in attacks that revealed the deep angst of Zionists as they see their traditional allies, the (white) feminism movement, radicalized into a deeper analysis of oppression by the prominence of anti-Zionist women of color in national leadership roles.  And it closely follows the unfortunate rescinding, by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, of an award honoring Angela Davis—an award she was stripped of because of her support for Palestinians and their call for BDS.

Alexander mentions she had not expressed her solidarity with Palestinians earlier, and that  “Many civil rights activists and organizations have remained silent as well, not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism. They worry, as I once did, that their important social justice work will be compromised or discredited by smear campaigns.”  Indeed, she was immediately vilified by pro-Israel commentators as sloppy in her scholarship, and accused of engaging in a “shameless revision of Martin Luther King’s history to re-imagine him as a late-blooming critic of Israel.”  

There is, however, no need to rewrite history where Martin Luther King Jr. is involved, as we have ample documentation of the direction the civil rights leader was heading, one opposed to militarism and fascism globally, along with his unflinching commitment to end segregation and apartheid–two evils that have become the hallmark of modern-day Israel.   

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated less than a year after the June 1967 war, which resulted in Israel’s occupation of all of historic Palestine.  Prior to his assassination he, like most African Americans, had approached Zionism from the perspective of an oppressed Diaspora people seeking full rights, a recognition of their humanity, safety from official as well as mob persecution. His support for Israel, then, was an expression of support for a disenfranchised people, the European Jews, who had suffered centuries of anti-Semitism.  He had only ever once traveled to the region, in 1959.

By 1967, Dr. King was questioning his admiration for Israel, to the point of turning down an invitation to that country, because of his criticism of its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  Also shortly before his assassination, Dr. King was pointing out that revolutionary movements in Africa as well as Asia, meaning the decolonial movements he embraced, were siding with the Palestinian people.  His analysis of injustice, once necessarily focused on the plight of African Americans, as he was a young minister immersed in difficult immediate circumstances, was rapidly becoming one of denouncing injustice globally. Speaking at an anti-Vietnam war rally in 1967, he declared:   “I’m not only going to be concerned about justice for Negroes in the United States because I know that justice is indivisible, and injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. I’m concerned about justice for everybody the world over.”

Indeed, Martin Luther King Jr. was rapidly growing aware of historical parallels amongst different oppressed and disenfranchised communities, as well as amongst similar systems of oppression across different cultures and continents.  He denounced ghettos in Europe and the US, and he would have denounced them in Israel, because “justice is indivisible.” He understood that separate can never be equal in the US and South Africa, and would have undoubtedly been outspoken against Israel’s recently-minted “nation state law,” which enshrines apartheid in historic Palestine, because “justice is indivisible.” He would have deplored Israel’s bombing of Palestinian villages, and its poisoning of Palestinian fields and farms, as he did the US attacks on Vietnam, when he wrote:  

They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals.” 

Indeed, Dr. King would have understood that Israel today, with its segregated roads, its checkpoints and passes, its over fifty laws discriminating against one segment of the population, its need for an ever-greater and more brutal military to suppress grassroots non-violent resistance, is the twenty-first century’s manifestation of fascism and colonialism, which he always opposed.  This is not a “rewriting of history,” it is an educated projection based on the civil rights leader’s well-documented views.

Martin Luther King Jr. also famously said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”    Today, we can honor his radical legacy by following in the footsteps of those who look up to him, a long and proud list of African American and other intellectuals, and by looking at the obvious destination of the “arc of moral justice” he told us about.  Just like segregation had to be abolished in the US south, and apartheid in South Africa, so Israel’s basic law of “separate and unequal,” and its brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, must be challenged, denounced, abolished. We must speak out, despite the intimidation, and we must support those who do, because Dr. King told us that “silence is betrayal.”  And we must enact our solidarity.  

It is not mere coincidence that the Palestinian people’s choice of resistance, namely boycotts, is the one also embraced by Dr. King.  The call for BDS was made because this is a time-tested strategy best suited for challenging state-sanctioned supremacy. It worked in the US South, it worked in South Africa, and it will work in Palestine.

About Nada Elia

Nada Elia is a Palestinian scholar-activist, writer, and grassroots organizer, currently completing a book on Palestinian Diaspora activism.

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28 Responses

  1. punterweger
    punterweger
    January 22, 2019, 11:46 am

    Nada Elia: “By 1967, Dr. King was questioning his admiration for Israel, to the point of turning down an invitation to that country, because of his criticism of its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Also shortly before his assassination, Dr. King was pointing out that revolutionary movements in Africa as well as Asia, meaning the decolonial movements he embraced, were siding with the Palestinian people.”

    Excellent piece, but It would be very useful to have the references on which this statement is based.

  2. Jon66
    Jon66
    January 22, 2019, 1:53 pm

    We don’t know what Dr King would think today and we can all speculate. However, we do know what he thought 10 days before his death.

    “I think it is necessary to say that what is basic and what is needed in the Middle East is peace. Peace for Israel is one thing. Peace for the Arab side of that world is another thing. Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all of our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel, and never mind saying it, as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous ex­ ample of what can be done, how desert land almost can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.
    On the other hand, we must see what peace for the Arabs means in a real sense of security on another level. Peace for the Arabs means the kind of economic security that they so desperately need. These na­ tions, as you know, are part of that third world of hunger, of disease, of illiteracy. I think that as long as these conditions exist there will be tensions, there will be the endless quest to find scapegoats. So there is a need for a Marshall Plan for the Middle East, where we lift those who are at the bottom of the economic ladder and bring them into the
    mainstream of economic security.”http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/sites/default/files/assets/public/resources-ideas/cj/classics/1-4-12-civil-rights/conversation-with-martin-luther-king.pdf

    • eljay
      eljay
      January 22, 2019, 2:24 pm

      || Jon66: We don’t know what Dr King would think today and we can all speculate. However, we do know what he thought 10 days before his death. … ||

      It’s a shame that he bought into the lie of the “right” of and/or “need” for Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacism, colonialism and “necessary evil”.

    • annie
      annie
      January 22, 2019, 3:10 pm

      jon, is this at the king library?

      On the evening of March 25,1968, ten days before he was killed, Dr. Martin Luther King, zikhrono livrakhah, appeared at the sixty-eighth annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly. He responded to questions which had been submitted in advance to Rabbi Everett Gendler, who chaired the meeting. Here is a transcript of what was said that evening, beginning with the words of Professor Abraham Joshua Heschel, who presented Dr. King to the assembled rabbis:

      who transcribed this? i ask because there has been incidence of claims about what king said on the record and off the record at meetings he didn’t even attend. there were even claims that a past article was written in magazines (pre internet) where no copies of the edition of that magazine have ever been found. considering these circumstances, i take all transcripts more seriously if they do not come solely from jewish sources and are included in the king archives.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        January 22, 2019, 3:47 pm

        @annie

        For the record:

        http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2003-01/20wise.cfm
        (The link no longer works.)

        “Fraud fit for a King: Israel, Zionism, and the misuse of MLK”
        By Tim Wise, Zmag.org, 25 January 2003

        EXCERPTS:
        “In the item, entitled Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,’ King proclaims that criticism of Zionism is tantamount to anti-Semitism, and likens those who criticize Jewish nationalism as manifested in Israel, to those who would seek to trample the rights of blacks. Heady stuff indeed, and 100% bullshit, as any amateur fact checker could ascertain were they so inclined. But of course, the kinds of folks who push an ideology that required the expulsion of three-quarters-of-a-million Palestinians from their lands, and then lied about it, claiming there had been no such persons to begin with (as with Golda Meir’s infamous quip), can’t be expected to place a very high premium on truth. I learned this the hard way recently, when the Des Moines Jewish Federation succeeded in getting me yanked from the city’s MLK day events: two speeches I had been scheduled to give on behalf of the National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ).

        “Because of my criticisms of Israel–and because I as a Jew am on record opposing Zionism philosophically–the Des Moines shtetl decided I was unfit to speak at an MLK event. After sending the supposed King quote around, and threatening to pull out all monies from the Jewish community for future NCCJ events, I was dropped. The attack of course was based on a distortion of my own beliefs as well. Federation principal Mark Finkelstein claimed I had shown a disregard for the well-being of Jews, despite the fact that my argument has long been that Zionism in practice has made world Jewry less safe than ever. But it was his duplicity on King’s views that was most disturbing. Though Finkelstein only recited one line from King’s supposed ‘letter’ on Zionism, he lifted it from the larger letter, which appears to have originated with Rabbi Marc Schneier, who quotes from it in his 1999 book, “Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Jewish Community.” Therein, one finds such over-the-top rhetoric as this:

        “‘I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God’s green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews–this is God’s own truth.’ The letter also was filled with grammatical errors that any halfway literate reader of King’s work should have known disqualified him from being its author, to wit: ‘Anti-Zionist is inherently anti Semitic, and ever will be so.

        “The treatise, it is claimed, was published on page 76 of the August, 1967 edition of Saturday Review, and supposedly can also be read in the collection of King’s work entitled, This I Believe: Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That the claimants never mention the publisher of this collection should have been a clear tip-off that it might not be genuine, and indeed it isn’t. The book doesn’t exist. As for Saturday Review, there were four issues in August of 1967. Two of the four editions contained a page 76. One of the pages 76 contains classified ads and the other contained a review of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album. No King letter anywhere.

        “Yet its lack of authenticity hasn’t prevented it from having a long shelf-life. Not only does it pop up in the Schneier book, but sections of it were read by the Anti-Defamation League’s Michael Salberg in testimony before a House Subcommittee in July of 2001, and all manner of pro-Israel groups (from traditional Zionists to right-wing Likudites, to Christians who support ingathering Jews to Israel so as to prompt Jesus’ return), have used the piece on their websites.”

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        January 22, 2019, 6:00 pm

        Annie,
        It’s from the Rabbinical assembly site. I don’t have any idea if it’s in the King archives. MLK was certainly at the event and addressed the audience. The account was published that spring in the CJ journal. It appears to be accurate.
        https://newyorkhistoryblog.org/2015/01/martin-luther-king-in-the-catskills-1968/

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        January 22, 2019, 6:01 pm

        Mist
        That is not this document.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 23, 2019, 12:30 pm

        “Mist That is not this document.”

        And “these are not the Droids you seek” either.

      • annie
        annie
        January 23, 2019, 5:14 pm

        i have no doubt he spoke there jon. but there’s a history of the jewish community fabricating words attributed to king (i think camera even admitted one bs incident they got called out on). so an off the record conversation (not in his speech or the official archives, which are extensive) AFTER the speech, recorded only by the rabbi is basically, and merely, a rabbi’s claim.

        i did a lot of research on this in the past which i posted but now that our archives don’t have a search function anymore i can’t access any of the information.

        and i am not the only person who has these doubts. every single generation to come who hears these claims about what MLK supposedly said regarding israel, anti semitism, or anti zionism, will hear about the lies that came from the lobby supposedly published in magazines that virtually no one has copies of. it will always be filtered through these lies, every single martin luther king day. had these fabrications about MLK and zionism not already been outed before, other unarchived allegations might be received with less skepticism.

        he’s arguably the most archived American of the last century, so if it’s not in the archives, it’s fabricated.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        January 24, 2019, 3:32 pm

        Lenni Brenner’s essay on Black Civil Rights and Zionism is very helpful. I suggest starting from King’s signature, along with of a highly pro-Israel newspaper manifesto – NYT June 4, 1967 – the day before war broke out. Shortly after, he was telling his advisers that he hadn’t properly read it before signing but he never made a public withdrawal of his support or claimed that his signature was not genuine. He quickly cancelled his plan for a Holy Land pilgrimage, saying – quite obviously rightly – that it would, in the circumstances of Israeli conquest, look like an endorsement of everything Israel was doing – ‘and I do have questions of doubt’. This all hangs together – the unquestionable public statement, the private doubts. He wasn’t a convinced full scale Zionist but the pattern whereby he always in the last resort told the Zionists what they wanted to hear was being set.
        If you look at King’s last public demo, at Arlington, he is seen with a rabbi on either side, a sort of bodyguard. One,Maurice Eisendrath, is holding a Torah aloft, thus appropriating the event to a significant extent for his religion and view of life, in which Zionism played a great part. Eisendrath had been the recipient of a letter from King on September 29, 1967, disclaiming the anti-Z of some of his followers.
        The other, Abraham Heschel, has been with, I think beside, him at the Riverside Church event.
        Brenner says that almost immediately after that event King met with a very different pair of supporters, Carmichael and Belafonte, and that it is likely that King was ready from that point to accommodate Carmichael’s anti-Z ideas. But it’s hard to see that this accommodation ever really began, the letter to Eisendrath and the parallel one to Adolph Held (both archived) coming some months later. In the circumstances I think it hard to question that he answered the questions of the Rabbinical Assembly, very close in time to the Arlington demo, in a different manner to what is claimed. Would he really have started confronting his closest Jewish friends and comrades, which he never had before, when in their midst? Was there any impression among his other friends, that his views were seriously changing?
        The great mass of these followers signed another manifesto, this time NYT November 23 1975, calling for support for Israel in words we’d find disturbing.
        Sartre had acted very like King, signing a manifesto pressed on him by Claude Lanzmann, and rather avoiding the subject afterwards. Between them they delivered a huge slice of progressive opinion to Israel’s cause.
        We have to remember – I remember it with pain – the enormously high status of Israel and Zionism within the progressive opinion in those days. To many it seemed that that the victory of Israel was the final defeat of Hitler.

  3. RoHa
    RoHa
    January 22, 2019, 10:16 pm

    I’d like the arc to bend a bit faster.

  4. smithgp
    smithgp
    January 22, 2019, 11:49 pm

    Martin Kramer, a right-wing American-Israeli neocon, has published a pretty convincing case that Martin Luther King Jr. did say something close to “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” (https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/martinkramer/files/words_of_martin_luther_king.pdf). The occasion was a dinner on October 27, 1967, at Martin Peretz’s house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, attended by King, Andrew Young, Peretz’s senior Harvard colleague Seymour Martin Lipset, and others. Lipset reported the quotation in Encounter magazine in December 1969, and Peretz confirmed the quote to Kramer decades later.

    MW readers will understandably be skeptical of this work, considering the Zionist politics of Kramer and the ultra-Zionist politics of Peretz. Still, we mustn’t let ad-hominem animus cloud our judgment about Kramer’s credibility in this matter. I should point out too that Kramer spells out King’s misgivings about Israel at some length. If King was a “Zionist,” he was a Zionist of the most unreliable sort–one who seemed very likely to change his mind within a few years if he’d only lived that long.

    Even if the quotation is authentic, it hardly discredits Michelle Alexander’s (and Nadia Elia’s) invocation of King’s Riverside Church speech as inspiration for Alexander’s breaking her silence about Zionism. The parallelism between the two cases of principled silence-breaking is obvious.

    • annie
      annie
      January 23, 2019, 4:02 am

      Lipset reported the quotation in Encounter magazine in December 1969

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encounter_(magazine)

      Encounter was a literary magazine, founded in 1953 by poet Stephen Spender and journalist Irving Kristol. Spender served as literary editor until 1967, when he resigned[2] due to the revelation that year of the covert CIA funding

      not only that, this fake news has been rehashed more times than potatoes. aside from the fact MLK was stone cold dead in the grave by the time this story came out, every person you mention is a bonafide neocon dejure (not to be trusted), this magazine came out pre internet, and thus far absolutely no one has ever come up with the an actual edition of this particular story in Encounter magazine (the paper kind) that actually verifies this bullsh*t fake story was ever published in the magazine, i’d say .. prove it. because no one has thus far.

      nice try, but massive #fail. quit stealing martin’s legacy for your zionist aims. it cheapens him. #shame

      • smithgp
        smithgp
        January 31, 2019, 10:49 pm

        Hi Annie!

        It’s George (smithgp). Sorry I’m responding so late. I’ve been busy.

        I’m puzzled by your statement that “absolutely no one has ever come up with an actual edition of this particular story in Encounter magazine (the paper kind) that actually verifies this bullsh*t fake story was ever published in the magazine, i’d say .. prove it. because no one has thus far.” A few minutes on the Internet turned up an archived scan of Lipset’s December 1969 article in Encounter: http://www.unz.com/print/Encounter-1969dec-00024/. The MLK quote is right there where it should be, on the first page (p. 24 in the magazine). Sure, this isn’t the “paper kind” of authentication you insist no one has ever come up with, but it’s pretty good evidence, wouldn’t you say? Actually, our University of Missouri library catalog says that the paper copy exists on one of its shelves, in case you think Unz created a scan of a fake Lipset article. Then again, who’s to say that our University didn’t make a fake issue of Encounter?

        It’s true that Lipset might have published, and Martin Peretz might have verified, a fake MLK quote. Martin Kramer might have knowingly joined the conspiracy decades later. This seems highly unlikely, though. Lipset in particular was a prominent Harvard scholar with a good reputation to consider. Would he have jeopardized it for the Zionist cause, by publishing a lie that might easily be falsified?

        Also, how did you arrive at the supposition that I’m a Zionist troll bent on “stealing martin’s legacy for [his] zionist aims”? Doesn’t the language of my post make it clear that I have no such aims? You might read the Mondoweiss Editors’ article about me four months ago: https://mondoweiss.net/2018/10/celebrate-scientist-palestinian/.

      • annie
        annie
        January 31, 2019, 11:37 pm

        hi george, sorry for my temper earlier, i think you’ve been duped. as i mentioned here back in 2012: https://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/barghouti-and-waskow-debate-bds-on-democracy-now/

        Israel’s apologists and the Martin Luther King Jr. hoax

        Lipset wrote in his essay “The Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews & Israel” about a “dinner” for Dr. King he attended. When one black student made “some remark against the Zionists,” Dr. King “snapped” back, “‘When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism’.” The piece by Congressman Lewis also quotes this same remark though it is not clear if it is gathered from Lipset’s essay.

        Congressman Lewis claims Dr. King made this comment “shortly before his death” during “an appearance at Harvard.” Lipset states it was “shortly before he was assassinated” at a “dinner given for him in Cambridge.” This quotation seems on its face much more credible. Yet, SPME presents snippets from the fake letter while apparently citing this statement (a 1968 “speech” at Harvard).

        There are still, however, a few reasons for casting doubt on the authenticity of this statement. According to the Harvard Crimson, “The Rev. Martin Luther King was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago–April 23, 1967” (“While You Were Away” 4/8/68). If this is true, Dr. King could not have been in Cambridge in 1968. Lipset stated he was in the area for a “fund-raising mission,” which would seem to imply a high profile visit. Also, an intensive inventory of publications by Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project accounts for numerous speeches in 1968. None of them are for talks in Cambridge or Boston.

        It’s true that Lipset might have published, and Martin Peretz might have verified, a fake MLK quote. Martin Kramer might have knowingly joined the conspiracy decades later. This seems highly unlikely, though.

        if you think it’s highly unlikely extreme neocons would conspire to plant their ideology into martin’s mouth in a publication NO ONE has save a copy of, go for it. again, sorry for my temper. but this hoax has been going on a long long time.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        February 1, 2019, 12:42 am

        @annie

        zionism is a work of fiction built upon a fictional history. It is difficult to find any actual facts in the zionist/Israeli narrative. There are factual incidents for sure. But the narrative itself is for the most part counter factual and the rest illusions or delusions.

      • smithgp
        smithgp
        February 1, 2019, 1:19 am

        Hi Annie!

        George again.

        Thanks for the prompt apology. Let’s see where we are:

        1. You do withdraw the claim that Lipset’s December 1969 Encounter article doesn’t exist, right? So why do you later refer that same article as “in a publication NO ONE has save (sic) a copy of”? Is there some OTHER publication at issue here??

        2. I certainly don’t “think it’s highly unlikely extreme neocons would conspire to plant their ideology into martin’s mouth.” In particular, Martin Kramer (a Zionist neocon) was getting confirmation from Martin Peretz (another Zionist neocon) about an alleged MLK quotation from 50 years earlier. Assuming they were lying, what risk were they taking that the lie would be exposed half a century after MLK’s death? It’s Lipset, not Kramer or Peretz, who’s the key Martin here. He published his MLK quote in a magazine less than two years after MLK’s death. Sure, he was a committed Zionist and he was sympathetic to neocon ideas. But as I emphasized earlier he was also a prominent Harvard scholar with a high reputation to consider. I just don’t think it’s plausible that he’d have jeopardized that reputation by making a very public false claim that might easily be definitively falsified so soon after MLK’s death. To support your case, you have to suppose that Lipset was both a liar and a reckless risk-taker. (Though I don’t think Kramer’s honesty is an important factor here, for the reason I’ve just explained, I actually don’t think he’s a liar. I don’t think every Zionist, however dismissive of human rights, is ipso facto also a falsifier of evidence.)

        3. Just because this allegedly “fake news has been rehashed more times than potatoes” (good one, Annie!) doesn’t mean it really is fake, however frustrating the rehashing may be.

        4. I don’t understand why authenticity of the MLK quote would be so threatening to the equal rights cause in Palestine. Numerous commenters, here and elsewhere, have explained why Michelle Alexander’s invocation of MLK’s Riverside Church address was completely legitimate even if the MLK anti-Zionist quote was authentic. There’s considerable evidence, as even Kramer discusses, that MLK was increasingly aware of Israel’s abuses at the end of his life.

      • annie
        annie
        February 1, 2019, 3:11 am

        So why do you later refer that same article as “in a publication NO ONE has save (sic) a copy of”

        i meant an edition of the publication. the publication was established.

        It’s Lipset, not Kramer or Peretz, who’s the key Martin here. He published his MLK quote in a magazine less than two years after MLK’s death.

        that’s just it, i don’t believe he did. i don’t think the allegation appeared until the anti zionism = anti-semitism or the “new anti semitism” campaign started around the turn of the century or maybe the 90’s. i think they invented the article decades after it was alleged to have been published.

        that’s all i have to say on it george.

        https://www.counterpunch.org/2004/01/17/the-use-and-abuse-of-martin-luther-king-jr-by-israel-s-apologists/

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        February 1, 2019, 1:53 am

        I’m not sure what relevance his comment on zionism 50 yrs ago has to do with where we are today.

        Whether he praised it, denigrated it, supported it or opposed.

        We are where we are. The path to this point might be understandable from the history but that is not the same as justifying it.

        I actually do understand some zionist arguments. I might reject them but I do understand. Just as I might understand and/or reject some Palestinian arguments. This whole Jewish/Muslim land bit is for the birds. DoDo birds to be specific as they’re extinct.

        There is no justification for where we are. Tons of blame to go around. Only one party has the power. So we can’t try it unless they agree. Equality for all.

        It’s really not that hard if you stop stroking your own ego.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 1, 2019, 2:03 pm

        “When one black student made “some remark against the Zionists,”

        Which remark nobody knows. But you know how they are.

      • annie
        annie
        February 1, 2019, 3:06 pm

        I’m not sure what relevance his comment on zionism 50 yrs ago has to do with where we are today.

        oldgeezer, here is how it’s relevant. read the counterpunch link in my last comment. it gives a run down on when this rumor about what martin allegedly said was inserted into dialogue about israel and anti semitism. mlk, being who he was and what he means to our culture, will likely be cited ad infinitum and evidence suggests (confirms as far as i am concerned) there was a concerted coordinated effort to insert lies into his archives. you can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_to_an_Anti-Zionist_Friend

        so, it’s not so much about where we are today, it’s about where we may be at in 50 more years, 100 years or a 1000 (god willing humankind survives this long). that’s why there was so much pushback when this lie was inserted and elevated into the american conversation almost 30 years after his death. martin’s legacy was not centered in the middle east nor was he a middle east expert.

        we should rue the day the most famous thing martin ever said were words written in (the fake) ‘Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend’ or the first paragraph in bios about his life cite alleged words about anti semitism / anti zionism. that’s why.

        it’s highjacking his legacy and american history for another country’s [anti civil human rights] propaganda campaign

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 1, 2019, 3:30 pm

        The respectful way Zionists use MLK jr. is all part of the wonderful job the “Jewish community” is doing with social and political placement.
        You’ll find us on the right among the Boutique Apartheids.

      • annie
        annie
        February 1, 2019, 4:59 pm

        “Boutique Apartheids”!

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        February 2, 2019, 9:39 am

        I think that Lipset’s claim about King at Harvard is there for all to see in the Encounter 69 issue which is made available by Unz. However the setting, a dinner party in a private house which somehow becomes a kind of seminar, is a bit odd. And would King, who had his own ‘questions of doubt’ about Israel, really have been that overbearing and crushing to a younger person who must have been expressing thoughts which had occurred to King himself?
        When Lipset returned to the subject in the NY Times Magazine of January 3, 1971, King moves from being prize exhibit to being, as far as I could see, not mentioned at all. Carmichael, who must indeed have kept the matter in King’s thoughts, is firmly mentioned. The good guy roles now go, or still go, to Deutscher, Marcuse and Sartre. Perhaps Lipset was now less sure of himself and perhaps someone had told him of a different recollection of King at Harvard.
        I still think Lenni Brenner’s account pretty indispensable. I still think King and Sartre gave, even if with some reluctance, a pro-Israel push to respectable left wing politics which has never been fully corrected. Niebuhr gave the same push to Christian theology.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 2, 2019, 12:58 pm

        “And would King, who had his own ‘questions of doubt’ about Israel, really have been that overbearing and crushing to a younger person who must have been expressing thoughts which had occurred to King himself?”

        Or, the younger person may have made an intemperate or poorly reasoned remark which demanded that curt response- in that situation, but not as a general principle.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 2, 2019, 2:43 pm

        Yup, ‘Boutique Apartheid’:

        ” the Israeli illusion that it can be an international darling and an Apartheid regime, simultaneously.” Ramzy Baroud.

  5. punterweger
    punterweger
    January 23, 2019, 9:16 am

    I’m quite familiar with the background of Encounter; it was part of the cultural side of the CIA’s Cold War anti-Communist campaign. I also share your characterisation of the people mentioned in these stories, but I am puzzled when you write: “… Lipset was stone cold dead in the grave by the time this story came out,,,” According to Wikipedia, Lipset died in 2006.

    • annie
      annie
      February 2, 2019, 1:56 pm

      punterweger, just saw your comment .. i meant martin.

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