Today was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. In San Francisco, as in many other cities around the country, commemorative marches occurred. In San Francisco, perhaps unlike in many other cities, an anti-Israel group decided that it would try to hijack the parade to its "river to the sea" agenda.
It was a stunning and arrogant display. Not because they handed out fliers advertising the anti-Israel posters in BART put up by Jewish Voice for Peace and Sabeel, not because they attempted (without success) to start anti-Israel chants among the marchers, but they because did it in willful disregard of Dr. King's own position on Israel.
Dr. King stood for peace. And he understood that peace for Israel was impossible in the context of ongoing attacks and threats of destruction, so that Israel needed to ensure its security first--even after the Six Day War, which occurred 10 months before he said:
"Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect her right to exist, its territorial integrity, and the right to use whatever sea lanes it needs. Israel is 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."
And Dr. King understood that, far too often, attacks on Israel were a more politically acceptable expression of anti-Semitism.
"When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism."
Yet Bay Area Women in Black, which is supposedly a Jewish women's group but was led for much of march by Hassan Fouda, decided to ignore Dr. King's own sentiments and make this march about what THEY wanted, not what Dr. King wanted.
(And who, you may ask, is Hassan Fouda? A man whose association with anti-Semitism has left a trail from his previous residence in Connecticut to the Bay Area, and has also included an attempt to bring outdated medications and old unusable equipment-- and a group of Turkish jihadists-- to Gaza earlier this year. Though he is not the man in this picture!)
Of course, those of us who knew this was going to happen didn't let it go unchallenged. And no better way to do it than with Dr King's own words (thanks to BlueStarPR).
My teenaged daughter who came along to photograph the scene was incensed that they would attempt to force this issue into the march commemorating Dr. King. Of course, this is a standard tactic for anti-Israel groups: International ANSWER's overt support of Hamas and Hezbollah drove any political leader with an ounce of sanity far away from their rallies against the Iraq war, and the San Francisco Pride Parade is always treated to the sight of groups demonstrating against the only country in the Middle East where LGBT individuals can live freely. Maybe their insistence on making everything part of their war against Israel also has something to do with narcissism-- after all, who better than a teenaged girl to recognize someone trying to say "It's all about MEEEEEEEE!!!!"