Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, denounced black separatism and anti-Semitism Tuesday and repudiated the anti-Israel position taken by the New Politics Convention in Chicago last month. The Negro leader said anti-Semitism was “immoral” and was being used to divide Negro and Jew “who have collectively collaborated in the struggle for justice.”
Dr. King’s statement came in reply to a letter from Morris B. Abram, president of the American Jewish Committee, and the presidents of nine national Jewish organizations affiliated in the National Community Relations Advisory Council. They had drawn his attention to the anti-Israel declaration adopted at the Chicago convention at which Dr. King had been the opening speaker, and had asked him to dissociate himself from the convention stand.
In his reply, Dr. King noted that he had left the convention early and pointed out that the SCLC staff members there had been “the most vigorous and articulate opponents of the simplistic resolution on the Middle East question.” He said that, if he had been there during the discussion, “I would have made it crystal clear that I could not have supported any resolution calling for black separatism or calling for a condemnation of Israel and an unqualified endorsement of the policy of the Arab powers.”
Dr. King declared: “Israel’s right to exist as a state in security is incontestable. At the same time the great powers have the obligation to recognize that the Arab world is in a state of imposed poverty and backwardness that must threaten peace and harmony. Until a concerted and democratic program of assistance is affected, tensions cannot be relieved. Neither Israel nor its neighbors can live in peace without an underlying basis of economic and social development.”
Dr. King stated that the SCLC had “expressly, frequently, and vigorously denounced anti-Semitism and will continue to do so.” He pointed out that anti-Semitism was “immoral,” and was used to divide Negro and Jew, “who have effectively collaborated in the struggle for justice.” anti-Semitism “injures Negroes,” he said, “because it upholds the doctrine of racism, which they have the greatest stake in destroying.”
The letter to Dr. King was also signed by the chairman of the NCRAC and the presidents of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the Jewish Labor Committee, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the American Jewish Congress, the United Synagogue of America, the Jewish War Veterans, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the National Council of Jewish Women.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.