|January 22, 2002|
CAMERA ALERT: Letter by Martin Luther King a Hoax
The flowery, pro-Zionist “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend” (see below), allegedly written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is apparently a hoax. However, the basic message of the letter was indeed, without question, spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr. at a dinner in Cambridge, MA, shortly before he was assassinated. At that dinner, he rebuked a student who made an anti-Zionist remark, saying, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism.” (See, e.g., “The Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews and Israel” by Seymour Martin Lipset; Encounter magazine, December 1969, p. 24.)
We were initially doubtful of the authenticity of the
“Letter to an anti-Zionist Friend » because the language in the first paragraph seemed almost a parody of language used in Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech. Additionally, we could find no reference to the “letter” prior to 1999, which was odd because the text is such a dramatic denunciation of anti-Zionism — one that would have been cited widely.
However, we then found the “letter” in a reputable 1999 book (Shared Dreams by Rabbi Marc Shneier) whose preface was written by Martin Luther King III. Since the King family is known to be extremely careful with Dr. King’s legacy, we assumed they must have verified the accuracy of the book before endorsing it.
Additionally, we found that quotations from the
“letter” were used on July 31, 2001, by the Anti-Defamation League’s Michael Salberg in testimony before the U.S. House of Representative’s International Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. The same “source” (Saturday Review, August 1967) for the “letter” that was mentioned in the Schneier book was also cited in the testimony. Since many in the Anti-Defamation League had actually worked with Martin Luther King, Jr., in the civil rights struggle, we assumed again they would be very knowledgeable about King’s work and would have thoroughly checked anything they chose to read before Congress.
However, because we do not ordinarily rely on anyone
else’s research, we decided to double-check, by searching back issues of Saturday Review (Rabbi Shneier’s book had referenced the “letter” as being published in the August 1967 Saturday Review). We found no such letter in any of the August issues, nor do the page and volume numbers cited conform to those actually used by that publication. CAMERA also checked with Boston University, where Dr. King’s work is archived.
The archivists, too, were unable to locate any such letter. We can only conclude that no such letter was written by Dr. King. (Please note we are not implying that the apparently bogus “letter” originated with Rabbi Schneier.)
The following letter is a fabrication/hoax:
“Letter to an anti-Zionist friend”
Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
of the Linguistic Legerdemain Underlying the Propaganda Techniques of
the New World Order, 2012: