Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
American Zionist Movement Remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Honors His Statements on Israel
This weekend, as the United States celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the national holiday in his honor, The American Zionist Movement (AZM) remembers Dr. King and his accomplishments and takes proud note of his important statements in support of Israel.
Dr. King was a dreamer, and he is famously remembered for his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered at a moment and in a place where not only the country, but the world heard his message and joined in his commitment to build a better life, and to work for a better day, for all. Theodor Herzl, the founder of our modern Zionist movement in 1897 was also a dreamer who famously proclaimed, “If you will it, it is no dream”.
In a 2016 article “Was MLK the Herzl of the Americans?” Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer stated that “Dr. King understood the moral imperative of Israel and admired Israel’s values”. Rep. John Lewis, a colleague of Dr. King and himself a noted civil rights leader, has also penned an essay entitled “‘I have a dream’ for peace in the Middle East / King’s special bond with Israel”.
When Dr. King lived in Chicago in 1966 his home was just blocks from the Theodor Herzl Public School, established in 1914 in the then predominately Jewish community of North Lawndale. The school remains in the neighborhood and at a 2017 event the Herzl School principal noted that “We are the living legacy of both Theodore Herzl and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
In Jerusalem there is a “Martin Luther King Street” with a sign stating that he was an “American Leader and Fighter for Universal Human Rights”. Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King are both memorialized with forests of trees planted in Israel in their memory. Mrs. King and Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. were among the founding members in 1975 of BASIC – Black Americans to Support Israel Committee, which was led by the legendary civil rights leader Bayard Rustin.
On the occasion of the annual national Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday the American Zionist Movement is proud to highlight here some of the notable remarks and writings of Dr. King: