Return to Israel:
History, Geography, and Politics
Dr. Martin Luther
"Anti-Zionism" = "Anti-Semitism"
". . . You declare, my friend,
that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely 'anti-Zionist.'
And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain
tops, let it echo through the valleys of God's green
earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews--this
is God's own truth.
"Antisemitism, the hatred of the Jewish people,
has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind.
In this we are in full agreement. So know also this:
anti-Zionist is inherently antisemitic, and ever will
"Why is this? You know that Zionism
is nothing less than the dream and ideal of the Jewish
people returning to live in their own land. The Jewish
people, the Scriptures tell us, once enjoyed a flourishing
Commonwealth in the Holy Land. From this they were expelled
by the Roman tyrant, the same Romans who cruelly murdered
Our Lord. Driven from their homeland, their nation in
ashes, forced to wander the globe, the Jewish people
time and again suffered the lash of whichever tyrant
happened to rule over them.
"The Negro people, my friend, know
what it is to suffer the torment of tyranny under rulers
not of our choosing. Our brothers in Africa have begged,
pleaded, requested--DEMANDED the recognition and realization
of our inborn right to live in peace under our own sovereignty
in our own country.
"How easy it should be, for anyone
who holds dear this inalienable right of all mankind,
to understand and support the right of the Jewish People
to live in their ancient Land of Israel. All men of
good will exult in the fulfilment of God's promise,
that his People should return in joy to rebuild their
"This is Zionism, nothing more,
"And what is anti-Zionist? It is
the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right
that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely
accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination
against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short,
it is antisemitism.
"The antisemite rejoices at any
opportunity to vent his malice. The times have made
it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred
of the Jews. This being the case, the antisemite must
constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison.
How he must revel in the new masquerade! He does not
hate the Jews, he is just 'anti-Zionist'!
"My friend, I do not accuse you
of deliberate antisemitism. I know you feel, as I do,
a deep love of truth and justice and a revulsion for
racism, prejudice, and discrimination. But I know you
have been misled--as others have been--into thinking
you can be 'anti-Zionist' and yet remain true to these
heartfelt principles that you and I share.
"Let my words echo in the depths
of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean
Jews--make no mistake about it."
From M.L. King Jr., "Letter to an
Anti-Zionist Friend," Saturday Review_XLVII (Aug.
1967), p. 76.
Reprinted in M.L. King Jr., "This I Believe: Selections
from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."