At our service this evening, we will welcome and hear from Rev. Shaun Jones of the Star of Bethlehem Church in Ossining. He will be speaking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his deep connection with the Jewish community.
Dr. King knew that we Jews identified with his cause, and he knew that our own experiences throughout history, and the ideals of our religion, made us natural allies in the struggle for human rights and the acceptance and respect for one another. And he wrote some words that seem especially appropriate to the matter of anti-Semitism and the challenges that we face today:
“Anti-Semitism, 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 anti-Semitic, and ever will be so…
The anti-Semite 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 anti-Semite 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 anti-Semitism. 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.”
As we remember Dr. King this weekend, we remember a man of courage, understanding and friendship. Still we share the “dream.”
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Greenberg