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Dr. King, Israel And American Jewry
in statesmanship by Israel and.
King's Southern Christian
New York City
progressive Arab forces who in
Leadership Conference partic-
his year, U.S. Jews, like
concert with the great powers
ipated in. At the meeting,
other Americans, will mark
recognize fair and peaceful
strongly worded resolutions
Martin Luther King Jr.
solutions are the concern of all
blasting Zionism and embrac-
Day on Monday, Jan. 20,
humanity and must be
ing the position of the Arab
by remembering him as a powerful
powers had been considered.
voice against racism and for civil
Were Dr. King's comments
Understanding Held's wor-
to Held intended only to
ries, Dr. King explained that,
But, for Jews, Dr. King was also
beyond offering opening
something else: a uniquely important
APPELBAUM soothe a miffed supporter?
Hardly. In a March 25, 1968,
remarks, he had no part in the
ally in the fight against anti-Semitism
conference. But, Dr. King said,
and for a secure Israel.
Commentary speech to the Rabbinical
Assembly, Dr. King said:
had he been present during the
Today, Dr. King's close bond with the
"Peace for Israel means secu-
discussion of the resolutions, "I
Jewish community is treated only as a
rity, and we must stand with all our
would have made it crystal clear that I
small footnote, of his life and work. But,
might to protect its right to exist, its
could not have supported any resolu-
toward the end of his life, Dr. King
territorial integrity. I see Israel as one
tion calling for black separatism or call-
devoted significant time and energy to
of the great outposts of democracy in
ing for a condemnation
strengthening what were
the world, and a marvelous example
of Israel and an unquali-
of what can be done, how desert land
fied endorsement of the
strained ties between
can be transformed into an oasis of
policy of the Arab pow-
black Americans and
brotherhood and democracy.
"Peace for Israel means security and
"Israel's right to exist as
One issue_Dr. King
that security must be a reality."
a state is incontestable,"
was particularly con-
Less than two weeks later, on April
Dr. King wrote. He then
cerned with was the
4, 1968, Dr. King was murdered
added, almost propheti-
while organizing support for striking
cally, "At the same time,
zation of Zionism as
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the great powers have the sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn.
We can only, speculate how, had he
obligation to recognize
Dr. King spoke and
lived, Dr. King might have helped
that the Arab world is in
wrote often about
heal the divisions between Jews and
a state of imposed poverty and back-
Israel. However, the true depth of Dr.
wardness that must threaten peace and African Americans — or even the
King's commitment to Israel was read-
contributions he could have made
ily apparent in a September 1967 let-
toward achieving Middle East peace.
ter he sent to Adolph Held, then pres-
What we do know is that Dr. King's
ident of the organization I now lead,
of a secure Israel and a peaceful
the Jewish Labor Committee.
Middle East is as relevant today as it
Referring to the stake U.S. oil compa-
Dr. King wrote Held after the
was in the 1960s. We know some-
nies have in the Middle East, Dr.
Jewish leader contacted him regarding
thing else, too: It's up to each of us to
King went on to note that "some Arab
press accounts of a conference that Dr.
help make it a reality.
feudal rulers are no less concerned for
Stuart Appelbaum is a vice president of oil wealth and neglect the plight of
For American Jews, maybe that's
what this Martin Luther King Jr. Day
the AFL-CIO and president of the
their own peoples.
is really all about. ❑
The solution will have to be found
Jewish Labor Committee.
from page 35
sure from the U.S. government to do
nothing that might roil the Arab
world in advance of the American
invasion of Iraq.
But why shouldn't Israel be permit-
ted to deal with Palestinian terrorism
as the United States is dealing with Al
Qaeda? Why should Washington's
plan to oust Saddam Hussein and
transform Iraq into a democracy pre-
vent Israel from ousting Arafat and
working a similar transformation of
After all, President Bush himself
stressed last June that just such a sea
change is a prerequisite for Arab-
Israeli peace. Nothing is more crucial,
he said, than replacing the cruel
Arafat-Hamas regime with "a new and
different Palestinian leadership," one
not compromised by terror.
Only when Palestinians can sustain,
in Bush's words, "a practicing democ-
racy based on tolerance and liberty"
will it make sense to demand even
more concessions from Israel, or to
talk about Palestinian statehood.
To demand "restraint" of Israel now,
to insist that it voluntarily suppress its
right to self-defense, is to make
bloody atrocities like Jan. 5 not less
likely, but more so.
Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, the
Palestinian Authority and the murder-
ers it supports must be crushed. That
is the plain meaning of the Bush
Doctrine, and the essential first step to
PIPES from page 35
language but two discrete languages.
If this interpretation is correct,
recent Euro,American tensions over
such issues as irradiated food, the
death penalty, the International
Criminal Court, Iraq and the Arab-
Israeli conflict are signs of a significant
division, not just transient squabbles.
The face-off between the Bush admin-
istration and, say, Germany's Prime
Minister Gerhard Schroder, is deeper
and darker than usually perceived.
Sanes' perspective also has two huge
implications worth pondering: The
1990s should be seen as but a tempo-
rary interlude between eras of cosmic
competition. And America's allies in
the last round (against the Soviet
Union) are shaping up as its oppo-
nents in the current one. ❑