Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Black antisemites contrasted with Martin Luther King (זצ״ל)

It's one of the ironies of history, that jewish people having been true and effective allies in the struggle for black rights in America, are subject to the most vicious calumnies and attacks emanating from some in the US black community. This is not to say that all black americans are anti-semitic, but communal leaders such as Farakhan have had a strong influence in turning american black people against jews.

And then there is Obama, whose first administration managed to pick a fight with Israel just about every week, all whilst Obama himself proclaimed loudly that he had the security of Israel at heart ($20 billions of arms sales last year to Saudi Arabia might give the lie to that one, as with supplying 200 Abrams tanks and 20 F16s this January 2013). With the undermining of arab regimes posing no threat to Israel and the promotion of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the region, Obama has leveraged US policy to undermine Israel's security more than any other country since Russia brought about the wars of 1967 and 1973.

Obama and his former professor Edward Said, PLO spokesman

And Obama came out recently with the barely disguised hope that Israel will be destroyed. Obama wishes tiny Israel to divest itself of its ancient lands, the Golan, Judea and Samaria. That high land is essential to protecting Israel from arabs who never cease threatening genocide against jews and Israel. Obama's history of friendship to palestinian arabs in Chicago, with Khalidi and Edward Said as well attending church services of voluble antisemite and anti-american pastor Jeremiah White (who justified the 9/11 massacre ) for over 20 years just serve to fill in the background of someone who wishes Israel no good.
We bombed Hiroshima. We bombed Nagasaki. And we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon—and we never batted an eye!” Wright preached. “We supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black south Africans and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards.” He closed, invoking Malcolm X’s statement about the assassination of J.F.K, “America’s chickens! Coming home! To roost!” 

… "If Israel, a small state in an inhospitable region, becomes more of a pariah – one that alienates even the affections of the US, its last steadfast friend – it won't survive," Goldberg writes, paraphrasing Mr Obama's words. "Iran poses a short-term threat to Israel's survival; Israel's own behaviour poses a long-term one."
Is Obama on record for talking about any other country in such terms, that it is a "pariah", that it "won't survive"? Contrast this with Obama's bowing down to the Kind of Saudi Arabia, a country where blacks are enslaved and abused physically and sexually.

Obama might understand a little more of Israel's security problems if he watched this (especially in light of the withdrawal from Gaza and the unending rain of missiles on Israel afterwards):

Obama however learned much about Israel through the distorting lens of Said and Khalidi. Obama still won't release transcripts of papers he wrote for Said whilst at university.

It has been said that this phenomenon of black people in the USA attacking jews even after the jewish community extended the hand of friendship in so many ways was explainable by resentment against whites, for their relative wealth, for their history of slavery, or that of many black people identifying as christians or muslims. It is said that black people might have take on board uncritically the anti-semitism preached by pastors, imams and the left .

But this is not enough of an explanation as black organisations have traditionally identified with arab states at the UN even whilst arabs organised and profited from the slave trade for hundreds of years.

Last year in Libya black people were hounded, beaten and killed. A post facto justification for the racist attacks was that blacks served in Libya's armed forces. Partly true (Black people however also worked in the service industries, as domestic servants, doing all sorts of menial labout), but so did Tuareg serve Ghadaffi, as well as arabs.  Tuareg are not black but nomadic Berbers. They were not subject to such a frenzy of organised attacks and mass killings. Was there something about a racism that saw black people as having risen above their station in an arab land?

Warning, the video shows extreme violence by Libyans against a black man:

Martin Luther King, Jr felt a strong bond with jews. He recognised what jewish people had  contributed and suffered for his cause, the cause of human rights of black people and of human rights in general. MLK did not sacrifice his friendship with the Jewish People and Israel on the altar of arab oil money (All black african states other than Kenya broke off relations with Israel in 1973 after receiving promises of aid from oil rich arab countries, promises that were rarely kept).

A special bond: Martin Luther King Jr., Israel and American Jewry

by Stuart Appelbaum

Martin Luther King Jr. on July 30, 1964. Photo by Dick DeMarsico/New York World-Telegram

 This year, U.S. Jews, like other Americans, mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by remembering him as a powerful voice against racism and for civil rights. But for Jews, Dr. King was also something else: a uniquely important ally in the fight against anti-Semitism and for a secure Israel.

 Today, Dr. King’s close bond with the Jewish community is treated only as a small footnote of his life and work. But, toward the end of his life, Dr. King devoted significant time and energy to strengthening what were becoming increasingly strained ties between black Americans and U.S. Jews. One issue Dr. King was particularly concerned with was the growing mischaracterization of Zionism as racism.

 Dr. King spoke and wrote often about Israel. However, the true depth of Dr. King’s commitment to Israel was readily apparent in a September, 1967 letter he sent to Adolph Held, then president of the organization I now lead, the Jewish Labor Committee. Dr. King wrote Held after the Jewish leader contacted him regarding press accounts of a conference that Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference participated in. At the meeting, strongly worded resolutions blasting Zionism and embracing the position of the Arab powers had been considered.

 Understanding Held’s worries, Dr. King explained that, beyond offering opening remarks, he had no part in the conference. But, Dr. King said, had he been present during the discussion of the resolutions “I would have made it crystal clear that I could not have supported any resolution calling for black separatism or calling for a condemnation of Israel and an unqualified endorsement of the policy of the Arab powers.”

 “Israel’s right to exist as a state is incontestable,
” Dr. King wrote. He then added, almost prophetically, “At the same time the great powers have the obligation to recognize that the Arab world is in a state of imposed poverty and backwardness that must threaten peace and harmony.”

 Referring to the stake U.S. oil companies have in the Middle East, Dr. King went on to note that “some Arab feudal rulers are no less concerned for oil wealth and neglect the plight of their own peoples. The solution will have to be found in statesmanship by Israel and progressive Arab forces who in concert with the great powers recognize fair and peaceful solutions are the concern of all humanity and must be found.”

 Were Dr. King’s comments to Held intended only to soothe a miffed supporter? Hardly. In a March 25, 1968 speech to the Rabbinical Assembly, Dr. King said: “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, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.” Less than two weeks later, on April 4, Dr. King was murdered while organizing support for striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.

 We can only speculate how, had he lived, Dr. King might have helped heal the divisions between Jews and African-Americans - or even the contributions he could have made toward achieving Middle East peace. What we do know is that Dr. King’s vision of a secure Israel and a peaceful Middle East is as relevant today as it was in the 1960s. We know something else, too: that it’s up to each of us to help make it a reality. For American Jews, maybe that’s what this Martin Luther King, Jr., Day is really all about.

Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Jewish Labor Committee, is President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW.

2) That famous quote comparing anti-zionists to anti-semites

When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Aptly quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. is a common way to make a point or win an argument, and it’s no surprise that his new memorial in Washington includes an “Inscription Wall” of quotes carved in stone. It’s also no surprise that the quote about critics of Zionists didn’t make the cut for inclusion in the memorial. Still, it’s been put to use on many an occasion, most recently by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year, in his address to the Knesset on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A few years back it even cropped up in a State Department report on antisemitism. So I was perplexed to see it categorized as “disputed” on the extensive page of King quotes at Wikiquote—for better or worse, the go-to place to verify quotes. Indeed, as of this writing, it’s the only King quote so listed.

 The attempt to discredit the quote has been driven by politics. In particular, it’s the work of Palestinians and their sympathizers, who resent the stigmatizing of anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism. Just what sort of anti-Zionism crosses that fine line is a question beyond my scope here. But what of the quote itself? How was it first circulated? What is the evidence against it? And might some additional evidence resolve the question of its authenticity?

A repugnant suggestion

King’s words were first reported by Seymour Martin Lipset, at that time the George D. Markham Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard, in an article he published in the magazine Encounter in December 1969—that is, in the year following King’s assassination. Lipset:
Shortly before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Boston on a fund-raising mission, and I had the good fortune to attend a dinner which was given for him in Cambridge. This was an experience which was at once fascinating and moving: one witnessed Dr. King in action in a way one never got to see in public. He wanted to find what the Negro students at Harvard and other parts of the Boston area were thinking about various issues, and he very subtly cross-examined them for well over an hour and a half. He asked questions, and said very little himself. One of the young men present happened to make some remark against the Zionists. Dr. King snapped at him and said, “Don’t talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!”

For the next three-plus decades, no one challenged the credibility of this account. No wonder: Lipset, author of the classic Political Man (1960), was an eminent authority on American politics and society, who later became the only scholar ever to preside over both the American Sociological Association and the American Political Science Association. Who if not Lipset could be counted upon to report an event accurately? Nor was he quoting something said in confidence only to him or far back in time. Others were present at the same dinner, and Lipset wrote about it not long after the fact. He also told the anecdote in a magazine that must have had many subscribers in Cambridge, some of whom might have shared his “fascinating and moving” experience. The idea that he would have fabricated or falsified any aspect of this account would have seemed preposterous.

That is, until almost four decades later, when two Palestinian-American activists suggested just that. Lipset’s account, they wrote, “seems on its face… credible.”
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.

The timing of this doubt-casting, in 2004, was opportune: Lipset was probably unaware of it and certainly unable to respond to it. He had suffered a debilitating stroke in 2001, which left him immobile and speech-impaired. (He died of another stroke in 2006, at the age of 84.) Since then, others have reinforced the doubt, noting that Lipset gave “what seemed to be a lot of information on the background to the King quote, but without providing a single concrete, verifiable detail.” For just these reasons, the quote reported by Lipset was demoted to “disputed” status on King’s entry at Wikiquote.

To all intents and purposes, this constitutes an assertion that Lipset might have fabricated both the occasion and the quote. To Lipset’s many students and colleagues, the mere suggestion is undoubtedly repugnant and perhaps unworthy of a response. But I’m not a student or colleague, nor did I know Lipset personally, so it seemed to me a worthy challenge to see whether I could verify Lipset’s account. Here are the results.
One Friday evening

Bear in mind Lipset’s precise testimony: King rebuked the student at a dinner in Cambridge “shortly before” King’s assassination, during a fundraising mission to Boston. It’s important to note that Lipset didn’t place the dinner in 1968. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, so “shortly before” could just as well have referred to the last months of 1967.

In fact, King did come to Boston for the purposes of fundraising in late 1967—specifically, on Friday, October 27. Boston was the last stop in a week-long series of benefit concerts given by Harry Belafonte for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Here’s an advertisement for that tour, from the magazine Jet.
  (זצ״ל) -  For gentile readers, this acronym stands for 'Zecher Tsadik Livrocho' - 'A righteous man, of blessed memory', the highest accolade a jew can give to the memory of another).

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