Published on January 22nd, 20130
Dr. King and today’s Washington
Today, Americans observe Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday in the United States to honor the life and legacy of arguably the most influential figure in American Civil Rights, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Those who are less familiar with American history might argue that King’s influence was only during the 1950s and 1960s on behalf of black Americans, but in actuality, he fought for civil rights and humanitarian causes around the world. This included his support for a free and safe Israel and his staunch opposition to anti-Semitism.
U.S. Congressman John Lewis from Georgia fought alongside Dr. King in the American civil rights movement. He wrote a highly referenced opinion piece in 2002 describing King’s “special bond with Israel:”
“During his lifetime King witnessed the birth of Israel and the continuing struggle to build a nation. He consistently reiterated his stand on the Israel-Arab conflict, stating ‘Israel’s right to exist as a state in security is uncontestable.’ It was no accident that King emphasized ‘security’ in his statements on the Middle East.
“On March 25, 1968, less than two weeks before his tragic death, he spoke out with clarity and directness stating, ‘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.'”
When I think of the complexity of King’s life and his seeming inability to watch a group of people suffer at the hands of injustice without reaching out to help them, I wonder what he would think about today’s Washington, D.C.
Source: Israel HaYom. Read the entire article. (link)