Martin Luther King Day earlier this week gave rise to many pro-Israel memes on social media, pointing out MLK’s support for Israel. They were along the lines of the following:
Of course, this is highly inconvenient for the haters, especially those like Linda Sarsour trying to invoke intersectionality to drum up support for her bankrupt palestinian cause.
But not to worry! Some, like Richard Silverstein, found a solution: claim he would have renounced his pro-Israel position had he lived.
Martin Luther King and the Israel Fraud: why the Israel Lobby persists in manufacturing Israel quotes he never delivered or offering real quotes he would surely renounce had he lived. https://t.co/wF6uA3Dtm9 pic.twitter.com/D0yzNZV98K
— Tikun Olam (@richards1052) January 16, 2018
This leads to a long-winded blog post. I’ll save you the hassle and reproduce Silverstein’s conclusion:
If, as Irving Kristol once said, a neocon is a liberal who’s been mugged by reality; then BDS supporters are liberal Zionists who’ve been mugged by Israeli reality (i.e. racism, Occupation and apartheid). King too would not have been blind to this phenomenon.
Finally, Black Zionist shills like Chloe Valdary and other pro-Israel advocates who quote King approvingly this Martin Luther King Day offer a Madame Tussaud version of this great man. When he lived, his thinking was not embalmed in wax or history. It changed and developed as circumstances required. That’s why King would far more likely have followed a path staked out by Nelson Mandela, who wholeheartedly endorsed Palestinian national rights.
Silverstein’s position is as condescending as it is fallacious. But to be expected from a person who thinks it is ok to disparage African-Americans.
Other haters linked to a 2004 Electronic Intifada article that questioned the authenticity of the famous letter attributed to MLK:
“… You declare, my friend; that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely ‘anti-Zionist’ … And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God’s green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews… Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever will be so.”
#Zionists are perpetrating a hoax, pushing a letter purportedly from #MartinLutherKingJr that brands anti-#Zionism as #Antisemitism; the letter is a fraud as is the Zionist claim that #MLK would have supported #ApartheidIsrael's #crimesagainsthumanity~!
— Pauline Park (@paulinepark) January 16, 2018
Like the Silverstein post, this one goes on and on and makes little sense. After trying to show the letter may be a hoax, the authors then resort to the argument that he was ignorant about Israel anyway!
Back to the main point: if the forged quotes reflecting Dr. King’s views on Israel were accurate, citing him would still be classic Argumentum Ad Verecundiam. Where is the proof that Dr. King studied the region or its modern history? The dearth of then-publicized comments and writings on the region by Dr. King shows that it was probably not a subject he was well-versed on, nor did it appear to be a priority of his throughout his career.
Even the statements Congressman Lewis attributes to him are low in substance and high on flourishing rhetoric. For example, Dr. King stated that Israel is a “marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy.” Referring to it as “marvelous” and an “oasis” sounds rather uninformed given the realities of military occupation and the forced exile the Palestinians have witnessed since Israel’s foundation. They surely do not sound like the words of someone familiar with both sides of the story.
These types of responses only serve to show that those on the wrong side of history have to try rewrite it.