Christian Zionist Org Quotemines Martin Luther King

Hardline Christian Zionist outfit “Jerusalem Connection Intrnational” quotemines Martin Luther King to suggest he supported Israel during the Suez Crisis. From an essay by Shelly Neese published last month, entitled “Defining moments in American Black-Jewish relations“:

1956 (Suez Crisis)
During Israel’s 1956 war with Egypt, Martin Luther King Jr. offers his support to Israel.   He delivers a sermon in New York comparing the experience of the Israelites in Egypt to that of Blacks in America.  King says “there is something in the very nature of the universe which is on the side of Israel in its struggle with every Egypt.”

The quote is currently doing the rounds on various websites as evidence that King preached unconditional support for the State of Israel for religious reasons. In fact, though, it has been taken completely out of context. It’s from a sermon entitled “The Death of Evil Upon the Seashore”, which was delivered in May 1956 – months before Israel’s attack on Egypt, and the text makes it perfectly clear that King’s purpose was to develop a universal theme from the Biblical story of the drowning of Pharoah’s soldiers in the Red Sea during the Exodus. Here’s the point King was actually making:

This story symbolizes something basic about the universe. It symbolizes something much deeper than the drowning of a few men, for no one can rejoice at the death or the defeat of a human person. This story, at bottom, symbolizes the death of evil. It was the death of inhuman oppression and ungodly exploitation.

The death of the Egyptians upon the seashore is a glaring symbol of the ultimate doom of evil in its struggle with good. There is something in the very nature of the universe which is on the side of Israel in its struggle with every Egypt. There is something in the very nature of the universe which ultimately comes to the aid of goodness in its perennial struggle with evil.

…Gradually we have seen the forces of freedom and justice emerge victoriously out of some Red Sea, only to look back and see the forces of oppression and colonialism dead upon the seashore. There are approximately 2,400,000,000 people in the world today. The vast majority of these people are found in Africa and Asia. More than 1,400,000,000 of the peoples of the world are found on these two continents. Fifty years ago most of these people were dominated politically, exploited economically, segregated and humiliated by some foreign power…What we are seeing now in this struggle is the gradual victory of the forces of freedom and justice. The Red Sea has opened, and today most of these exploited masses have won their freedom from the Egypt of colonialism and are now free to move toward the promised land of economic security and cultural development. As they look back, they clearly see the evils of colonialism and imperialism dead upon the seashore.

No-one can honestly read this as a statement on modern Israel’s relations with Nasser’s Egyptian Republic.

Here are King’s actual views on Suez, as expressed in 1957 sermon entitled “The Birth of a New Nation” and published in The Papers of Martin Luther King, Volume 4 (p. 165):

…[O]ut of all his knowledge of the Middle East, [Anthony Eden] decided to rise up and march his armies with the forces of Israel and France into Egypt. And there they confronted their doom, because they were revolting against world opinion. Egypt, a little country. Egypt, a country with no military power. They could have easily defeated Egypt. But they did not realize that they were fighting more than Egypt. They were attackng world opinion, they were fighting the whole Asian-African bloc, which is the bloc that now thinks and moves and determines the course of the history of the world.

I suppose we should be grateful that the Jerusalem Connection at least managed to avoid citing the hoax “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend“.

UPDATE: It seems that the decontextualised use of the King quote dates back to this 1998 article by Rabbi Marc Schneier, and it was reused by him recently here.

3 Responses

  1. “Although, the basic message of the letter was indeed, without question, spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr. in a 1968 appearance at Harvard, where he said: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews, You are talking anti-Semitism.” [from “The Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews and Israel” by Seymour Martin Lipset; in Encounter magazine, December 1969, p. 24. ].”

    You, Barthsnotes,, seem to be an anti-Semite of the first kind..are you? Everything anti Israel is posted on your site, it is so obvious, disgusting!

    Truly, why do you hate the Jews so badly?

  2. I’m aware of the 1968 quote, although the context is obscure – and besides, it’s simply an assertion, no matter who said it.

    And it doesn’t change the fact that (a) MLK didn’t have a positive view of Anglo-Israeli actions in Suez in 1956; and (b) that the quote used by Schneier and others does not support the contention that MLK subscribed to the Christian Zionist belief that God directly intervenes to support the modern State of Israel in any conflict.

    And no, I’m not “an anti-Semite of the first kind”, or of any other kind.

    Don’t embarrass yourself by being so stupid.

  3. They’ve already done that Richard.

    Oh the shame on them.

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