“Israel’s right to exist as a state is incontestable.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote these words in a letter to the then-president of the Jewish Labor Committee in 1967, after the Six-Day War.
Each year on MLK Day, this one small sentence is shouted from the rooftops of almost every Zionist organization in America. It has become a way for some Jewish groups to deflect the actual legacy of Martin Luther King and focus the day on Zionism, rather than on justice for Black people. It also exploits Dr. King’s words, as though they provide legitimacy to all Israeli government actions. News flash: Israel’s “right to exist” is not synonymous with a right to occupy and subjugate another people. Dr. King’s words mean what they say: he supports Israel’s existence. They do not mean that we should blindly support every action by the Israeli government.