The Misrepresentation of Martin Luther King

By comparing Mahmoud Abbas to Reverend Martin Luther King, Condoleezza Rice has managed to sully the heritage of Jews and Blacks at the same time.

Last October, in Jerusalem, Rice compared the struggle of the Palestinians to that of the African-Americans for civil rights. She also compared Mahmoud Abbas to Reverend Martin Luther King because in her mind they both are committed to peace. Mort Klein, the director of the Zionist Organization of America, upon hearing about this outrageous comparison, wrote:

The civil rights struggle in this country was fought by honorable, peaceable African-Americans and their supporters, not by jihadist murderers, suicide bombers, kidnappers and hostage-takers. How dare Secretary Rice desecrate the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King by comparing Mahmoud Abbas with him? Rice claims that Abbas is dedicated to peace and non-violence. Really? Did Martin Luther King call terrorists ‘heroes?’ Did he call terrorist chieftains ‘martyrs?’ Did he call upon his followers to direct their guns at Israelis . . . Mahmoud Abbas has done all these things, and more.

Martin Luther King preached non-violence. Abbas tells Palestinian Arab youth that “[Martyrs] receive their reward in the Garden of Eden” while Palestinian Authority-controlled TV teaches Jihad to children. The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, which Abbas commands, was designated by the US government on March 23rd, 2002, as a terrorist organization.

Mahmoud Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Martin Luther King said that those who are against Zionism are against the Jews. Martin Luther King was a Bible-believing Christian who believed that Israel was the land of the Jews. Condoleezza Rice, who claims to be a Bible-believing Christian, echoes Abbas’s claim that Judea and Samaria are Palestinian Arab land. Demanding that parts of Israel be judenrein is the antithesis of everything Martin Luther King stood for as is Abbas’s blaming the Jews for the Holocaust.

Martin Luther King advocated equality. The popular Palestinian Arab preacher, Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Madhi — when he’s not calling for annihilation of the Jews on Palestinian Authority TV — preaches that Jews should live as second-class Dhimmis to the Palestinian Muslims.

Secretary of State Rice says that the Palestinian Arabs are like the blacks of the South during the civil rights movement, but after the Israelis turned Gaza over to the Palestinian Arabs as a gesture of peace the Arabs made it into a base for launching rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. Is this in anyway analogous to the non-violence civil rights movement led by Dr. King?

On March 25, 1968 – less than two weeks before his assassination – Martin Luther King said:

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.

When Israel sacrifices its territorial integrity for so-called peace, the land it gives up becomes a launching pad for rockets. Yet Secretary Rice and Abbas keep demanding that Israel make more territorial concessions. According to Israeli military men, the only way Israel can stop the rocket attacks from Gaza is to occupy Gaza again, yet Abbas threatens that if Israel were to do that his Fatah army would join Hamas in fighting Israel. Gaza has become a weapon depot thanks to Rice’s pressure on Israel to withdraw. The fact that there is less terrorism emanating from Judea and Samaria than from Gaza is due to the presence of Israeli soldiers there. Abu Oudai, a chief rocket coordinator for Mahmoud Abbas’s Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Judea and Samaria, claims major Israeli cities and the country's international airport will eventually become Palestinian rocket targets — particularly once Israel withdraws from Judea and Samaria. If Israel is to be secure, the Israeli military must be present in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

President Bush demands Israeli withdrawals and at the same time says that Israel must be secure. Yet events have proven that the two are mutually exclusive. Israeli security must be more than rhetoric. As Martin Luther King pointed out, “That security must be a reality.”

On Martin Luther King Day in 2000, Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who worked closely with Dr. King during the civil rights movement, said that Martin Luther King:

. . . knew that both peoples [i.e., Blacks and Jews] were uprooted involuntarily from their homelands. He knew that both peoples were shaped by the tragic experience of slavery. He knew that both peoples were forced to live in ghettoes, victims of segregation. He knew that both peoples were subject to laws passed with the particular intent of oppressing them simply because they were Jewish or black. He knew that both peoples have been subjected to oppression and genocide on a level unprecedented in history.

Why is Martin Luther King’s legacy undermined and misrepresented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice? The United States is eager to show the Arab world, especially Saudi Arabia, to whose oil and oil money the United States is addicted, that the U.S. is their friend. It is in this light we must understand Secretary of State Rice’s eagerness to show that she identifies with the Palestinian Arab. She wants to believe that Mahmoud Abbas is a new Martin Luther King. What’s next? Arafat was Gandhi?

In addition to implementing bad policy, Secretary of State Rice has managed to sully the heritage of Jews and Blacks at the same time.