Hoax: Martin Luther King’s “Letter to an anti-Zionist Friend”


From: “Letter to an anti-Zionist friend”
Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

…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 … 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 be so….

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… 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.

(Purported source: M.L. King, Jr., “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,” Saturday Review XLVII Aug. 1967, p. 76. [There is no such article.] Reprinted in “Shared Dreams,” by Rabbi Marc Shneier, preface by Martin Luther King III.)


CAMERA’s research indicates that the “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,” quoted above and allegedly written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a hoax. However, the basic message of the letter indeed reflects the sentiments of Dr. King. For example, in at a dinner in Cambridge, MA, shortly before he was assassinated, Dr. King said: “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.]

For more details, see here.

An earlier version of this article attributed Dr. King’s comment to a 1968 appearance at Harvard. To clarify, professor Seymour Martin Lipset and Congressman John Lewis, a disciple and associate of Dr. King, both point out that the comment was made shortly before King’s death, but did not name the precise date. Lipset asserted the comment was made in Cambridge, Mass. and Lewis cited Harvard University as the location.

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