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A Special Bond: Martin Luther King, Jr., Israel, and American Jewry | Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  kavika  •  2 months ago  •  62 comments

By:   Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

A Special Bond: Martin Luther King, Jr., Israel, and American Jewry | Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Each 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 antisemitism and for a secure Israel.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


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Each 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 antisemitism 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, TN.

We can only speculate how, had he lived, Dr. King might have helped Jewish and Black communities foster better understanding of one another's lived experiences and commonalities and fight collectively for liberation. 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.

  • Israel and Its Neighbors
  • Israel
  • Jewish History
  • Antisemitism and Hate Crimes
  • Modern Day Issues in Antisemitism
  • Israel Peace and Security
  • Racial Justice

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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Kavika     2 months ago

Most are probably not aware of this about MLK.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @1    2 months ago

I wasn't aware of ALL of that but I was of some of it, and of his attitude generally.  I used his I Had a Dream speech in the English classes that I taught in China.  

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1    2 months ago
I used his I Had a Dream speech in the English classes that I taught in China.  

Excellent.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Kavika @1    2 months ago

I was aware f the feelings of MLK, but I do have a question for you:

American Jews gave up their lives for the Civil Rights Movement. Right now, Jews are under attack both figuratively and physically.

So where are all those people that American Jews stood up for?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Vic Eldred @1.2    2 months ago
So where are all those people that American Jews stood up for?

The Jewish community has plenty of support from what I've seen the groups supporting a cease-fire and in some cases supporting Hamas tend to be much younger and have a totally different view of the history of Jews and certainly have different view of Hamas. 

I'm certainly not an expert on why some people don't support the Jews I can only answer for myself and groups that I'm familiar with. Perhaps you can give us your view of where these people are. I can certainly tell you of my experience with Jews, Israel and the ME that has shaped by opinion of the current situation.

Here is a bit of information on what some of the tribes have done in relationship to supporting Jews. It is a long history dating back to the mid 1800s.

The  Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana  maintains close ties with the  State of Israel  and celebrates Israel's  Independence Day . The Coushatta Tribe has stated a sense of solidarity with Jews due to similar histories of prejudice, discrimination, ethnic cleansing, and persecution. [12]
 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.2.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Kavika @1.2.1    2 months ago
The Jewish community has plenty of support from what I've seen the groups supporting a cease-fire and in some cases supporting Hamas tend to be much younger and have a totally different view of the history of Jews and certainly have different view of Hamas. 

That's comical. A simple show of strength by the back community would have them soiling their pants.

Again: Where are the black leaders who got so much support from American Jews????

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.2.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Vic Eldred @1.2.2    2 months ago
That's comical. A simple show of strength by the back community would have them soiling their pants.

Why, exactly are you asking me about the black community and their support/non support of Israel/Jews? 

In supporting a cease-fire does not mean they support Hamas or are against Jews, no matter their color. Here is a good article and view from that perspective. 

Here is another survey of blacks and Israel

https://carnegieendowment.org/2023/12/13/black-americans-opinions-on-israeli-palestinian-conflict-pub-91230#:~:text=Black%20leaders%20including%20Walter%20White,for%20the%20state%20of%20Israel.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.2.4  Vic Eldred  replied to  Kavika @1.2.3    2 months ago
Why, exactly are you asking me about the black community

Because you seeded this article. We want to know why the support that Jews gave blacks was not reciprocated.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.2.5  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Vic Eldred @1.2.4    2 months ago
Because you seeded this article. We want to know why the support that Jews gave blacks was not reciprocated.

Who is ''we'' do you have a mouse in your pocket? Because I seeded an article I'm supported to know, according to you why blacks are not reciprocating? are you sure they are not supporting Israel. I could ask you why whites are supporting Hamas or the Palestinians

Survey responses revealed that while there was substantial Black American support for Israel, a plurality supported a ceasefire or greater restraint toward Palestinian civilians (see figure 1). Dec 13, 2023

https://carnegieendowment.org/2023/12/13/black-americans-opinions-on-israeli-palestinian-conflict-pub-91230#:~:text=Survey%20responses%20revealed%20that%20while,civilians%20(see%20figure%201).

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
1.2.6  evilone  replied to  Kavika @1.2.5    2 months ago

I suppose according to Vic's broad brush catch-all we must ask why Jew that actually live in Israel don't support Israel? 

An anti-war protest on Thursday organized by a broad coalition of Israeli left-wing organizations in the heart of Tel Aviv was canceled after police denied the event a permit.
 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.2.7  seeder  Kavika   replied to  evilone @1.2.6    2 months ago

For goodness sake, eo don't start using facts you know if gives some people a headache.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Senior Expert
2  Gsquared    2 months ago

Thanks for posting this article.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Gsquared @2    2 months ago

You welcome, G.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3  Krishna    2 months ago

At the height of the Civil Rights movement, Jews comprised less than 3% of the U.S. population-- but were a considerably larger percent of civil rights activists.

In addition, a lot of "Jewish money" helped the Civil Rights Movement. (For example, a lot of money was needed for bail for civil rights workers who were arrested.)

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
3.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Krishna @3    2 months ago
At the height of the Civil Rights movement, Jews comprised less than 3% of the U.S. population-- but were a considerably larger percent of civil rights activists.

That must have been before they created Hymietown.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3.1.1  Krishna  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.1    2 months ago
That must have been before they created Hymietown.

What us "Hymietown"?

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3.1.2  JBB  replied to  Krishna @3.1.1    2 months ago

Antisemitic hate speech for New York, a slur for a whole city...

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
3.1.3  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Krishna @3.1.1    2 months ago

Jesse Jackson referred to “Hymies" and to New York City as "Hymietown" in January 1984 during a conversation with a black Washington Post reporter, Milton Coleman. Jackson had assumed the references would not be printed because of his racial bond with Coleman, but several weeks later Coleman permitted the slurs to be included far down in an article by another Post reporter on Jackson's rocky relations with American Jews.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3.1.4  Krishna  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.1.3    2 months ago
Jesse Jackson referred to “Hymies" and to New York City as "Hymietown"

That seems strange to me. 

Why?

Well yes, NYC had a large Jewish population at the time. But it also had a large African-American population! (Someone could refer to it as "Hymietown-- but it could also be referred to as N*ggertown!

(Or any other racial/religious/ethnic epithet. New York back then was very diverse-- still is).

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3.1.5  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @3.1.4    2 months ago
(Or any other racial/religious/ethnic epithet. New York back then was very diverse-- still is).

Here's an "interesting but unimportant" bit of trivia-- there are approximately 3000 counties in the U.S.  The most diverse country in the U.S. is Queens county in NY. (I saw that info about 2 years ago, it may have changed a little.

There are small religious and ethnic groups there that many people have never heard of!

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3.1.6  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @3.1.5    2 months ago
Queens county

And no-- that is not "the gay section" of NY!

jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3.1.7  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @3.1.6    one month ago

Queens county

And no-- that is not "the gay section" of NY!

And for that matter, "Broadway" is not a "Women Only" street .  . .

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Krishna @3    2 months ago

Thank is very true, Krish and there is more that ties blacks/Jews/Indians that not many know about.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
4  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago

Many young Jews were dedicated to standing up for the civil rights of blacks to the extent that some paid for it with their lives, like Schwerner and Goodman.  They would be turning over in their graves if they were aware of today's BLM antisemitism and support for the Palestinian people's jihad against Israel.  

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
4.1  Krishna  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4    2 months ago
Many young Jews were dedicated to standing up for the civil rights of blacks to the extent that some paid for it with their lives, like Shwerner and Goodman.

There's an excellent article about that on Wikipedia-- lots of details:

Murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
4.2  Krishna  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4    2 months ago
today's BLM antisemitism and support for the Palestinian people's jihad against Israel.  

I don't remember if I mentioned here on NT in the past, but I was involved in the Civil Rights movement in the South in the 60s. I was at UNC Chapel Hill, which was not anywhere near as bad as the deep South. It was a college town-- the professors, admins, and students were "mixed" politically. It was a picturesque college town. The main street stores and restaurants catered almost entirely to people from UNC. Interestingly, some stores were "Whites Only" but many were not. 

I got involved in the Civil Rights Movement there. And-- one day MLK himself came to town to speak. I met him! He had an amzing energy.!

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Krishna @4.2    2 months ago

I was stationed in the deep south in the late 1950s and everything was segregated and it was damn dangerous if you were a minority. It was just outside of Columbus GA and we went into Columbus to the USO and three of us, an Indian, a Creole, and a black were refused entry and told to go to our own USO club which did not exist in Columbus. We headed back to Fort Benning and suddenly there were two cars loaded with whites and they were not sightseeing. We took off got to the black bus stop before they could catch up to us, of course we were pretty well armed, I saw a shotgun come out of the car window. The bus pulled up and KKK took off. Very close call.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
4.2.2  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @4.2.1    2 months ago
We took off got to the black bus stop before they could catch up to us, of course were were pretty well armed, i saw a shotgun come out of the car window. The bus pulled up and KKK took off. Very close call.

OMG that's scary! What a close call!

And in the 50s! Things have changed a lot in much of the South (although of course the problem of racism is by no means solved).

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.2.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Krishna @4.2.2    2 months ago

This was a lot closer of a call. Wounded Knee 1973, it was after this was over that ACLU lawyers served as lawyers for us free of charge and hundreds of us were facing really serious charges. Over 90% of the ACLU lawyers were Jewish.

wounded-knee.jpg?quality=85&w=2400

The Siege at Wounded Knee, 1973.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
4.2.4  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @4.2.3    2 months ago

Makes me proud to be a JIP.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
4.3  Vic Eldred  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4    2 months ago

You are damn right!

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
5  Perrie Halpern R.A.    2 months ago

Wonderful article about such a special relationship. It's a shame people don't remember it too much today.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5    2 months ago
Wonderful article about such a special relationship.

I'd call it a one-sided relationship.

If you were my daughter, I'd sit you down and explain to you that not everyone is good.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
5.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1    2 months ago
I'd call it a one-sided relationship.

You can call it anything you want but it's simply an opinion.

If you were my daughter, I'd sit you down and explain to you that not everyone is good.

OMG, are you frickin nuts? The women is a minority, in fact a double minority and you're going to explain anything to her...get a grip.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5.1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Kavika @5.1.1    2 months ago

You just work on answering the question I gave you.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
5.1.3  evilone  replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1    2 months ago
If you were my daughter, I'd sit you down and explain to you that not everyone is good.

This is about the most condescending piece of misogynistic bullshit you've puked up. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
5.1.4  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.2    2 months ago
You just work on answering the question I gave you.

LOL, giving orders are you,  [removed]

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
5.1.5  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1    2 months ago

Vic,

First of all, I know that everyone isn't good.

Second, my dad, who served this country in two wars, agreed with the uprising at Wounded Knee. It was the first time that Indians were recognized. And you seem to forget that I am a Jewish Indian because my dad is one, too. 

The reason the ACLU supported AIM, is because they knew what it was like to be a marginalized minority. 

So I don't need any more schooling. My dad did it for me.

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Junior Quiet
5.1.6  afrayedknot  replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.2    2 months ago

“You just work on answering the question I gave you.”

Seems some need to ‘just work on’ being human in understanding the complexities rather than focusing on the justifications of their inhumane words. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5.1.7  Vic Eldred  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1.5    2 months ago

But you do need to know that black people are not helping Jews when Jews are under attack.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
5.1.8  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.7    2 months ago

So, all black people are’t helping blacks you have a link for this stat?

you’re aware that some white people aren’t helping Jews, right? How do you explain that?

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
5.1.9  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.7    2 months ago
But you do need to know that black people are not helping Jews when Jews are under attack.

Yes, I am aware that younger black people do not know that Jews supported the cause of civil rights nor do they know about how Israel came to be, so they are supporting the Palestinian cause. It makes me sad. But it is not all blacks. Older generations know better.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
5.1.10  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1.9    2 months ago
Yes, I am aware that younger black people do not know that Jews supported the cause of civil rights nor do they know about how Israel came to be,

Somehow it got left out of our Standards of Learning.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1.11  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @5.1.8    2 months ago

they're all catholics?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5.1.12  Vic Eldred  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1.9    one month ago
Older generations know better.

I hope so.

You see the good in everyone. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1.13  devangelical  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @5.1.10    one month ago

luckily those historical facts are still available in some elite marxist colleges that employ commie professors. present day rwnj history is still bogged down in alternative facts from before the last civil war...

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
5.1.14  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  devangelical @5.1.13    one month ago
luckily those historical facts are still available in some elite marxist colleges that employ commie professors.

Standards of Learning are employed in Public Schools K-12.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1.15  devangelical  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @5.1.14    one month ago

the indoctrination is spreading...

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
5.1.16  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  devangelical @5.1.15    one month ago

Exactly, that’s what some parents are worried about.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
5.1.17  Krishna  replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.7    one month ago
But you do need to know that black people are not helping Jews when Jews are under attack.

Just curious-- are you aware that that statement is quite a generalization?

Even if someone knew nothing about Blacks and Jews etc most would immediately see at least one fallacy with that statement. Every single Black person is not the same-- for that matter, neither is every Jewish person. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5.1.18  Vic Eldred  replied to  Krishna @5.1.17    one month ago


"Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me. ... I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office."....Rev Wright


Rev. Wright: 'Them Jews Ain't Going To Let' Him Talk To Obama : The Two-Way : NPR


The civil rights activist and MSNBC host  reportedly  has expressed regrets privately to Jewish leaders for the incendiary rhetoric that helped fuel the deadly Crown Heights riots in 1991. But Monday’s remarks here at the Religious Action Center’s Consultation on Conscience were the closest he has come in public in acknowledging his role.

Al Sharpton admits to using 'cheap' rhetoric about Jews - Jewish Telegraphic Agency (jta.org)


The controversial minister of the Nation of Islam movement, Louis Farrakhan, has written a letter to the leaders of more than a dozen major US Jewish organizations in which he claims that Jews had caused Blacks damage for centuries. Farrakhan said there was “an undeniable record of Jewish anti-black behavior,” starting with the slave trade and Jim Crow laws. He called Jews “our worst enemy.”

Louis Farrakhan calls Jews the “worst enemy” of African Americans - World Jewish Congress


That is how black leaders have reciprocated for the support American Jews gave the Civil Rights movement.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
6  Vic Eldred    2 months ago

Yesterday the White House had to be evacuated (Biden was sleeping in Delaware) after a Pro-Hamas mob staged an insurrection at its gates. As usual there were no arrests.

Does anyone know what might have stopped the antisemitic mob?

THIS WOULD HAVE STOPPED THEM:

il_794xN.5195040616_3ckb.jpg

THEY STOOD UP FOR YOU......WHERE ARE YOU?

 
 
 
Thomas
Senior Guide
6.1  Thomas  replied to  Vic Eldred @6    one month ago
Pro-Hamas mob staged an insurrection at its gates. As usual there were no arrests.

Just to be clear, it was a Pro-Palestinian protest against the war in Gaza. 

And

This (above)  is a protest, not an insurrection. 

Below, you can see an insurrection...

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
6.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Thomas @6.1    one month ago

Let us be very clear: The line between pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas is razor thin.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.1.2  devangelical  replied to  Vic Eldred @6.1.1    one month ago

kind of like how christo-fascism is to maga, huh?

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
6.2  Krishna  replied to  Vic Eldred @6    one month ago
a Pro-Hamas mob staged an insurrection at its gates.

What do you mean by "insurrection"?

(Doesn't seem like an "insurrection" to me-- but perhaps I define the word differently than you do?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.2.1  devangelical  replied to  Krishna @6.2    one month ago

a feeble attempt to equate anything to the maga insurrection to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power on J6.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.2.2  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @6.2.1    one month ago

... desperate.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7  seeder  Kavika     2 months ago
WHERE ARE YOU?

A good question, where are you, Vic? After all your talk have you done anything besides talk?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
7.1  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @7    2 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
7.1.1  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  devangelical @7.1    2 months ago

I remember experiencing that back when I was 13 in Boston, being bussed from the suburbs into the city, my very first experience with overt racism, until then it had all been passive.

Only ones that lost in that deal were the kids subjected to it.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
7.1.2  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @7.1    2 months ago

...bullseye.

 
 

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