The Facts About Martin Luther King and
By Michael Collins
Many sources frequently
publicize with much hullaballoo a purported “Letter to an
Anti-Zionist Friend” by Dr. Martin Luther King regarding the
matter of “anti-Zionism” and “anti-Semitism.”
But the truth is the letter is a hoax exploited by leading pro-Zionist
figures largely for the purpose of keeping blacks in America supportive
of Jewish interests.
The alleged letter read
declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely
‘anti-Zionist.’ . . . When people criticize Zionism, they
mean Jews. . . .” Now here are the cold, hard facts. On Jan. 22,
2002, the rabidly pro-Israel Committee for Accuracy in Middle East
Reporting in America (CAMERA) published a special alert to its readers
on its Internet site at camera.org, declaring “Letter by Martin
Luther King a Hoax” and stating flatly the letter was “a
Although this letter by King is purported to have appeared in an August
1967 edition of The Saturday Review, the truth is that no letters from
King appear in any of the four editions of the Review published in
August of 1967.And while others claimed the statement appeared in a
book entitled This I Believe: Selections from theWritings of Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr., there is no evidence that such a book was ever
published. It is not listed in a bibliography of books and materials by
and about King that is available from the Martin Luther King Center for
Social Change in Atlanta, Ga. Despite this, some of the following
powerful polemicists who have exploited this forgery to enforce
pro-Israel political correctness within the black community:
• Israeli Prime
MinisterAriel Sharon quoted the “letter” before the Israeli
parliament on January 26, 2005;
• Michael Salberg
of the Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith (ADL) cited this
non-existent letter in his July 31, 2001 testimony before the U.S.
House of International Relations Subcommittee on International
Operations and Human Rights;
Zuckerman, billionaire publisher of U.S.
News & World Report (then-president of the Conference of Presidents
of Major American Jewish Organizations) quoted the letter in a column
on Sept. 17, 2001;
dissident-turned-hardline Israeli extremist Natan Sharansky cited the
letter in a November 2003 article in Commentary, the neo-conservative
journal of the American Jewish Committee;
• Rabbi Marc
Shneier cited the letter in a book Shared Dreams, which happened to
include a preface from King’s son;
• And last, but far
from least,Abraham Foxman—the ADL’s much-quoted national
director—has cited King’s supposed rhetoric in his 2003
book, Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism, as well as in
his own speeches and commentaries including one published in
TheWashington Post on Aug. 7, 2001. Needless to say, many other
people have also cited King’s statement, relying on what they
have seen from such sources above.
Although CAMERA rushed
to assure its readers that the purported King letter was a hoax, CAMERA
still asserted that other sources did say that they had heard King
express such sentiments and that King did consider anti-Zionism to be
But there’s more
to the story.
CAMERA cited pro-Israel
publicist SeymourMartin Lipset who claimed that King had made such
remarks at a private dinner in Cambridge, Mass. in 1968 which Lipset
cited in a 1969 article in Encounter magazine. And Rep. John
Lewis (D-Ga.) has claimed that King made the remarks in a 1968 speech
at Harvard. However, here’s the problem. This excerpt from
the alleged speech at Cambridge or Harvard sounds remarkably like the
previously cited rhetoric from the phony letter.
But more importantly,
note this: there are no records in Stanford University’s archives
of King’s work indicating that King gave any formal speeches in
Cambridge or nearby Boston during that time frame. Even further,
The Harvard Crimson reported on April 8, 1968 (after King’s
death) that King had not been to Cambridge sinceApril 23, 1967, well
before the 1968 speech cited many years after the act by the
congressman, who happens to be one of the few black members of the
House who is a firm ally of the Jewish Lobby. So there is serious
doubt about even these supposedly pro-Zionist words from King, wherever
or whenever they were made by him.
counterpunch.org has published an authoritative report entitled
“The Use and Abuse of Martin Luther King Jr. by Israel’s
Apologists.” The authors, Fadi Kiblawi and Will Youmans, have
summarized the ugly history of the exploitation of Dr. King’s
legacy by pro-Israel propagandists. To this day still, Dr.
King’s famous (but non-existent) letter to an anti-Zionist friend
still remains in widespread circulation on the Internet—even long
after the pro-Israel CAMERA reported it was a hoax.
specializing in media critique, Michael Collins Piper is the author of The
High Priests of War, The
New Jerusalem, Dirty
Judas Goats, The Golem,
Traficant and My
First Days in the White House All are available from AFP.
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# 4, January 24, 2010)