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Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Israel and the Jewish People:

"Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality"
“I cannot stand idly by, even though I live in the United States and even though I happen to be an American Negro, and not be concerned about what happens to my brothers and sisters who happen to be Jews in Soviet Russia. For what happens to them happens to me and to you and we must be concerned.”
“Israel’s right to exist as a state of [with] security is incontestable.”
“The whole world must see that Israel must exist, and has the right to exist, and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.” (see video clip)
"I solemnly pledge to do my utmost to uphold the fair name of the Jews -- because bigotry in any form is an affront to us all."

Learn more about Dr. King, Zionism and Israel from:

AZM thanks all our member organizations


Including The Israel Forever Foundation, B’nai B’rith International, Jewish National Fund and Herut North American, as well as David Matlow and Gil Troy, for sharing material on Dr. King.

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