Monday, 5 January 2009

Martin Luther King: anti-zionism equals anti-semitism

". . . You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely 'anti-Zionist.' And 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.

"Antisemitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently antisemitic, and ever will be so.

"Why is this? You know that Zionism is nothing less than the dream and ideal of the Jewish people returning to live in their own land. The Jewish people, the Scriptures tell us, once enjoyed a flourishing Commonwealth in the Holy Land. From this they were expelled by the Roman tyrant, the same Romans who cruelly murdered Our Lord. Driven from their homeland, their nation in ashes, forced to wander the globe, the Jewish people time and again suffered the lash of whichever tyrant happened to rule over them.

"The Negro people, my friend, know what it is to suffer the torment of tyranny under rulers not of our choosing. Our brothers in Africa have begged, pleaded, requested--DEMANDED the recognition and realization of our inborn right to live in peace under our own sovereignty in our own country.

"How easy it should be, for anyone who holds dear this inalienable right of all mankind, to understand and support the right of the Jewish People to live in their ancient Land of Israel. All men of good will exult in the fulfilment of God's promise, that his People should return in joy to rebuild their plundered land.

This is Zionism, nothing more, nothing less.

"And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is antisemitism.

"The antisemite rejoices at any opportunity to vent his malice. The times have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews. This being the case, the antisemite must constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison. How he must revel in the new masquerade! He does not hate the Jews, he is just 'anti-Zionist'!

"My friend, I do not accuse you of deliberate antisemitism. I know you feel, as I do, a deep love of truth and justice and a revulsion for racism, prejudice, and discrimination. But I know you have been misled--as others have been--into thinking you can be 'anti-Zionist' and yet remain true to these heartfelt principles that you and I share.

Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews--make no mistake about it."

From M.L. King Jr., "Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend," Saturday Review_XLVII (Aug. 1967), p. 76.
Reprinted in M.L. King Jr., "This I Believe: Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

8/9/10 ETA** Seems this letter is a hoax, though it does nonetheless articulate something of King's view - apparently.


socrates said...

Hey Tlnl, what about the Palestinians' rights to a homeland?

Perhaps this topic will be ultimately seen as a civil rights one just like with Northern Ireland and South Africa.

If all people are created equal, it's time to help out the Palestinians. If Israel was more just, there would no longer be any justification for anti-semitism. I'm not saying there ever was.

But I believe that 18 Israelis have died from Hamas mortar attacks over about nine years. How many Palestinians have died since Israel went nuts? Over 500 in a few days?

How is that an eye for an eye?

the_last_name_left said...

What about Palestinians' rights to a homeland? Well, sure. Whatever - the same for all....

Mind you, I'm really not into people demanding "homelands" and such like. Do I have one? Do I want one? What's it for anyway?

I'm against petty nationalism and racism, so demands for one's own ethno-national state isn't very important to me - and I find the whole thing generally reactionary. I guess it's more important if one feels under threat. But one would need an ethno-racial conception of one's self before one could feel it threatened?

White racists seem to fear the disappearance of "the white race". But would it matter? Not to me - and I'm "white". I'd take the same attitude to anyone - wether Palestinian or Jewish, or whatever.

So I've no particular favour over Israel and Jews than Palestine and Arabs imo.

More later :)

I really don't believe in "eye for an eye". Not at all.

Anonymous said...

"demands for one's own ethno-national state isn't very important to me - and I find the whole thing generally reactionary"

Unfortunately, that is the entire basis of Zionism. Demands for a Jewish ethno-national state are the foundation. I'd agree that it's pointless to try carving out a separate Palestinian homeland state. It's better to just break up segregation as it exists in Israel and allow Palestinians equal rights as part of the same state.

the_last_name_left said...

Anon: It's better to just break up segregation as it exists in Israel and allow Palestinians equal rights as part of the same state.

Well, I really don't know. For one thing, what you suggest is unlikely to be agreed to by all the parties involved? So who knows what is "better" - or "best"? I certainly don't know, and as I'm ignorant I'm loathe to suggest "what should happen" - beyond platitudinous but important principles, such as "everyone deserves peace, security, a degree of prosperity, etc". How to achieve that in Mid E I really don't know.

Thanks for the comment.