ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

January 20, 2009

2009.01.20: RE: MLK Jr.was famously Zionist and a strong supporter of Israel

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 2:46 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: MLK Jr.was famously Zionist and a strong supporter of Israel

For the reasons below, I agree with [K.].

Dr. King’s Principles

Dr. King was an outspoken opponent of war, racism and injustice.

Although a pacifist, he was not neutral between the oppressed and their oppressors, and was an early supporter of the boycott against apartheid South Africa.[1]

Moreover, he refused to blame the victims, explaining during the Vietnam war, “I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, my own government.”[2]

The day before he was assassinated, he reaffirmed his support for those fighting for their freedom around the world: “The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; or Memphis, Tennessee, the cry is always the same: ‘We want to be free.'”[3]

Changing Perceptions of Zionism

Like many of his generation, Dr. King well knew that “Manifest Destiny” meant genocide against Native Americans, the “White Man’s Burden” meant slavery, segregation and colonialism, “Lebensraum” meant extermination of Jews and Slavs; Apartheid meant racist minority rule in South Africa, and the “Free World” meant U.S. genocide in Vietnam.

But in 1968, few in this country understood what “Zionism” really meant for the Palestinians.

The Zionist lobby exploited past Jewish oppression in Europe to foster the false impression that Israel was the underdog, an embattled outpost of enlightenment, a “people without a land for a land without a people.” In 1969, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier declared that “there is no such thing as the Palestinian people.”[4]

Only after decades of Palestinian resistance — and new generations of Israeli historians — has it become more widely known that:

–Jews and Arabs coexisted in Palestine until, in the late 19th Century, Zionist colonists began to seek dispossession of the Palestinians.

–Israel was founded, with collusion of the colonial powers, through the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1947-1948, a campaign of state terror in which Zionists killed 13,000 Palestinians, erased 531 towns and villages, eliminated 11 urban neighborhoods, and expelled more than 750,000 (85 percent) from 78 percent of their country.

–Israel soon became the closet ally of apartheid South Africa.

–In 1967, Israel falsely claimed “self-defense” to seize the remaining 22 percent of Palestine — including East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza — which, in violation of UN resolutions, remain under Israeli military rule to this day.

–At least 70 percent of the 10 million Palestinians are refugees — the largest such population in the world, and that despite other UN resolutions, Israel vows they may never return.

–The vast majority of Gaza’s population consists of refugees ethnically cleansed by Israel in 1948 and 1967.

–In 1982, Israel slaughtered thousands Palestinian refugees and Lebanese.

–Palestinians who managed to remain within the 1948 areas — today, 1.4 million (or 20 percent of the population in Israel) — remain permanently separated from their families in exile, subject to more than 20 discriminatory laws, treated as a “demographic threat,” and increasingly threatened with mass expulsion.

–In East Jerusalem and the West Bank, 140 illegal, ever-expanding Jewish-only settlements, road systems and pogroms serve to dominate the water resources and control 40 percent of the land.

–Palestinians in those areas today are confined, separated, denied medical treatment, and degraded by an 8-meter-high separation wall, pass laws, curfews and 600 military checkpoints.

–Israel is junior partner in U.S. wars of conquest in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.

Gaza Now

If Dr. King — with his profound commitment to the oppressed — had known these things, would he still call Israel a “marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy”?

Or would he recognize that the Palestinians are in bondage, and Israel their Pharaoh? That the Palestinians are David, and Israel — armed by the U.S. — their Goliath?

About Gaza, wouldn’t Dr. King point out that since 2006, Israel and the U.S. have carried out a collective punishment campaign to overthrow the democratically-elected Hamas government.

Wouldn’t he charge that this had turned Gaza into the world’s concentration camp, assassinating activists, and cutting-off essential goods and services to 1.5 million people?

Wouldn’t he show that, during their attacks last year, Israeli authorities threatened Gaza with a “greater Shoah” (Hebrew for Holocaust)?[5]

Wouldn’t he explain that it was Israel which, on November 5, violated the subsequent truce?[6]

Wouldn’t he condemn Israeli attacks that have inflicted thousands of Palestinian casualties in Gaza — and the U.S. for supplying the F-16s, Apache helicopter gunships, artillery, tanks and white phosphorous that made them possible?

Despite his pacifism, wouldn’t he recognize that the Palestinian cause resembles anti-colonial movements of his time in Algeria, South Africa, or Vietnam?

Wouldn’t he explain that, lacking the sophisticated U.S. arms provided to Israel, Palestinians have responded with what weapons they have, against what targets they can reach?

Wouldn’t he demand an immediate end to the siege on Gaza?

Wouldn’t he call for an end to Israeli military occupation?

Wouldn’t he support the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes?

Wouldn’t he embrace a truly democratic state throughout historic Palestine with equal rights for all?

Now, more than ever, wouldn’t he join veterans of the South African freedom movement in supporting the nonviolent campaign for Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment against Israel?[7]


1. Nieuwhof, The legacy of Martin Luther King: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, Electronic Intifada, March 25, 2007,

2. King, Beyond Vietnam, April 4, 1967,

3. King, I’ve Been To The Mountain Top, April 3, 1968,

4. The wandering Palestinian, The Economist, May 8, 2008,

5. Lefkovits, ‘Shoah’ remark sparks uproar, Jerusalem Post, March 3, 2008,

6. CNN, December 31, 2008,; Rockets fired after Gaza clashes, BBC, November 5, 2008,

7. Prominent South Africans, including Ronnie Kasrils, Steven Friedman, Eddie Makue, Condemn the Gaza Massacre MRZine, December 27, 2008,; Paulson, Tutu urges Jews to challenge oppression of Palestinians, Boston Globe, October 28, 2007,


More Jewish Voices We Haven’t Heard

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s First Prime Minister
“If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. . . . There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?”
Ze’ev Derori, Israel’s Reprisal Policy, 1953-1956 (New York: Routledge, 2005), 47.

Gerald Kaufman, Jewish Member of Parliament in the UK
“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town. . . . A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.”

Israeli Citizens Calling upon International Community to Stop Israel
Please find enclosed a petition signed by about 500 Israeli citizens, calling for urgent international intervention in order to stop Israel from continuing the war it has waged against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Avnery, The Blood-Stained Monster Enters Gaza
From the point of view of the population, the Hamas fighters are not a foreign body, but the sons of every family in the Strip and the other Palestinian regions. They do not “hide behind the population”, the population views them as their only defenders.

Israeli rights groups blast army over Gaza bloodshed
“The level of harm to the civilian population is unprecedented,” they wrote, accusing troops of “making wanton use of lethal force which has to date caused the deaths of hundreds of uninvolved civilians. . . . This kind of fighting constitutes a blatant violation of the laws of warfare and raises the suspicion . . . of the commission of war crimes,” it said, describing the campaign as “a clear and present danger to the lives and well-being of tens of thousands of civilians.”

British Jews Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel
We the undersigned are all of Jewish origin. When we see the dead and bloodied bodies of young children, the cutting off of water, electricity and food, we are reminded of the siege of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Amira Hass, History did not begin with the Qassams
The siege of Gaza did not begin when Hamas seized control of the Strip’s security organs, or when Gilad Shalit was taken captive, or when Hamas was elected in democratic elections. The siege began in 1991 – before the suicide bombings. And since then, it has only become more sophisticated, reaching its peak in 2005.

Leading Israeli Scholar Avi Shlaim: Israel Committing “State Terror” in Gaza Attack, Preventing Peace
Israel was doubly guilty of sabotaging the ceasefire, A, by launching a military attack, and B, by maintaining its very cruel siege of the people of Gaza. of Thousands Demonstrate Globally Against Israeli Actions,

Jewish Women Among Those Leading Protests
And we have to do it as Jews, because the social justice thread of our tradition, it says that this is a violation. We are the people who jumped out of the windows at the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, and we’re the ones who organized the unions, and we’re the ones who went to Spain to fight and in the Second World War. And if anything we have learned, you cannot stand by and do nothing. So, we as Jews have to say to this country that claims to represent us, “Stop. Stop. This is a humanitarian disaster.”

Former Amb. Martin Indyk vs. Author Norman Finkelstein: A Debate on Israel’s Assault on Gaza and the US Role in the Conflict
The record is clear: Israel broke the ceasefire by going into the Gaza and killing six or seven Palestinian militants. At that point — and now I’m quoting the official Israeli website — Hamas retaliated or, in retaliation for the Israeli attack, then launched the missiles.

Klein, Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction
Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews.

From: [K.]
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:15 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: MLK Jr.was famously Zionist and a strong supporter of Israel

What are you talking about? The picture of MLK is placed above a poets fundraiser and a vigil/march for justice. Where are you getting that this is somehow a support for Hamas? MLK was “famously zionist”? Martin Luther King Jr. was famously peaceful and supportive of oppressed, marginalized, and disenfranchised people. Period. AND he absolutely believed in and practiced civil disobediance. Please do not be so presumptious as to believe that you know what MLK would say or think about what is happening today. MLK was a critical and nuanced thinker, and I am sure that there is nothing that you could come up with that would be close to the advice and thoughts he would have for us all if he were still alive. Clearly you have a limited knowledge of the struggle and FIGHT for African Americans rights in this country and how Dr. King navigated and worked with other black movements and organizations that employed very different tactics than his own.

On the eve. of MLK day and the historic inaguaration of the first black president, you should be careful about impulsively whipping out an email and annoiting yourself spokeman for the politics of the most historically significant and revered figure for us black folks. You have the right to say what you want,

From: R.
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 4:54 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: MLK Jr.was famously Zionist and a strong supporter of Israel
MLK, Jr. would have been sickened by Hamas and what it stands for. See the clips below re MLK and a second one re how Jewish children are victims of Hamas, and why Israel must defend itself. Using King’s image to represent one side of this war, and to demonize Israel is exploitive and morally wrong, not to mention factually incorrect. At best, one could cite him for non-violence practice that both sides should consider, but suggesting he would be only anti-Israel and not anti-Hamas is intellectually bankrupt and unworthy of any modest skimming of King’s legacy. What’s next? Will this emailing lawyer next week deny the Holocaust occurred, and cite MLK as the authority? There is no place for this garbage at our work place, or anyplace where honesty and integrity are valued.

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 2:55 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Gaza Protest Update

Palestinian Casualty Count (Since December 27)
>5,000 (including >300 dead children)


To purchase ($2/ea.), reply to this email.


Growing U.S. Jewish Protest of Israeli Massacres
NYC Press Conference (video):
LA Consulate (video):
SF Consulate (video):

Petition to Barack Obama, AFL-CIO and Change to Win

Final LAS Union Members’ Statement (44 Signers)

Upcoming Protest Schedule

Tonight, 7 p.m.
Poets For Gaza Fundraiser
Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square Park, S.

Monday, January 19, 4:30 p.m.
In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.:
Vigil and March for Justice in Gaza
Rally at Union Square 14th St., March to Washington Square Park

Union Free Speech Notice
Collective Bargaining Agreement, §§ 3.5 (“The expression of personal religious, political, social or economic beliefs of each and every attorney is fully guaranteed and will never constitute grounds for discharge or relief from an individual assignment unless, in either instance, it can be demonstrated that such expression has, or will, directly interfere(d) with, and detract from, representation of a Society client so as to render said representation less than at the highest level of competence and effectiveness.”) and 1.5 (“The Union will have reasonable use of the Society’s internal communication mechanisms.”).

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