Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dumisani Washington: MLK Jr's pro Israel legacy

Written by Dumisani Washington, a pastor, author, composer and educator in Northern California. He is currently working on a book, Zionism and the Black Church: Why Standing With Israel Will Be a Defining Issue for Christians of Color in the 21st Century.  Dumisani formed the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI) in 2013, dedicated to strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Jewish people, and people of African descent through education and advocacy.

The Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel is doing good work.   Check them out on Facebook.

This article originally appeared in the Times of Israel
 Since his death, many groups have attempted to use the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as champion of their cause. His timeless quotes are applied to all things related to social justice, equality and political freedom. Of course, in addition to being a beacon for all of the above, Dr. King was also a staunch supporter of the State of Israel, and loyal friend to the Jewish people. Yet this historical, indisputable fact does not seem to faze anti-Zionists who also claim Dr. King’s posthumous blessing on their agenda. How do they reconcile such a blatant discrepancy? They simply label the Palestinians as victims and the Israelis as perpetrators, and voila: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, becomes an obvious condemnation of the Jewish State.

The problem is, we have Dr. King’s unambiguous words supporting Israel, and none of his words to the contrary. In fact, his most full-throated endorsement of Israel may surprise you, not just because of its content, but its context.

 It was March 26, 1968 – 10 days before Dr. King’s assassination. He was the honored guest at the 68th Annual Convention of the Rabbinical Assembly for Conservative Judaism. During an interview in which Rabbi Gendler read questions submitted by the group, Dr. King was asked specifically about African-American support for Israel. The question itself is a topic for a separate article, but on to Dr. King’s answer:

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 ex­ample 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.

These words are powerful at face value. What is even more powerful is the realization that King spoke them almost a full year after the 1967 (Six Day) War in which Israel preemptively attacked Egypt, Jordan and Syria. When the War ended, Israel had regained control of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), as well as Gaza and the Sinai desert.

Read it all here

Join the IBSI next week throughout the Bay Area

"Israel: A Cultural and Political Discussion", The pro-Israel legacy of Dr. King, and who the real abusers of the Palestinians' human rights are.

 Monday, Feb 17 - San Francisco State @ 4:30pm, Hillel House ( this a JIMENA /IBSI event featuring Rachel Wahba)
Tuesday, Feb. 18 - UC Berkeley @ 7:30pm, Wheeler Building, Room 0213
Wednesday, Feb. 19 - UC Davis @ 6:30pm, Giedt Hall, Room 1002
Thursday, Feb. 20 - San Jose State @ 7:00pm, Martin Luther King Library
Friday, Feb. 21 - UC Santa Cruz (exact time and place TBD)
Saturday, Feb. 22 - The Congregation of Zion (Stockton) @ 11:00am


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