Dumisani Washington, a CAMERA speaker and a proud activist for Israel, is an expert in Dr. Martin Luther King’s pro-Israel legacy. In the past, he has spoken to students at UCONN, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, as well as at other CAMERA-supported groups. When Dumisani Washington speaks to students who are either pro-Israel, not at all knowledgeable about Israel, everyone learns a lot from his interesting perspective.
The values of the BDS movement reflect concepts from Black ‘militant’ movements rather than Dr. King’s legacy of human rights. Washington’s writings help explain the antisemitic roots of BDS and how they conflict with what Dr. King stood for.
Dr. King stood for peace in the Middle East and peace in Israel
Dr. King, in simple and clear words, stated that, “What is basic and what is needed in the Middle East is peace.” Although the follow-up statement is often overlooked, Dr. King also explained that regarding Israel, “We must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist.” As Dumisani Washington explains, Dr. King respected the Jewish people and Israel’s territorial integrity—he recognized the Jewish state as the model democracy in the Middle East. Dr. King even referred to Israel as “an oasis of brotherhood and democracy.”
While other groups during the Civil Rights Movement had begun to falsely label Israel as a colonizing, imperialistic power, Dr. King only called for restoring security in Israel.
Black ‘militant’ groups disagreed with Dr. King and began to slander Israel.
While Dr. King is highly respected and appreciated for his leadership and efforts in the African American Civil Rights Movement, African American ‘militant’ groups such as Black Panther were critical and impatient with Dr. King’s non-violent methods of ending discrimination.
Such African American civil rights activists, or ‘militants’ as they were referred to, were angry at American society—they were thirsty to finally obtain equal rights and establish Black Power.
As part of their quest for justice, these ‘militants’ were quick to look at Israel and equate the Palestinian-Israeli relationship to the White-African American relationship. As Dumisani Washington explains, they began to label Israel as a Western colonization and as imperial, and tended to sympathize with Arabs.
Such Black ‘militant’ groups drew false parallels between their narrative and that of Palestinians.
Projecting the African American narrative on the Palestinian narrative creates an inaccurate conception of Middle East relations and is simply a false understanding of Israeli-Palestinian relationships.
Dr. King could not agree more with Black ‘militant’ groups that America needed to stop discrimination and establish equal rights for all citizens. However, in addition to protesting their violent methods, Dr. King also disagreed with their undeveloped understanding of Israel.
Dr. King recognized that Israel’s relationship was not at all comparable to that of America’s relationship to African Americans. In fact, Dr. King argued that as the country developed, Israel would only help Palestinians further.
On a fundamental level, Dr. King disagreed with Black ‘militant’ groups and saw them as “color consumed.”
The philosophies of Black ‘militant’ groups did not reflect the opinion of most African-Americans. As Dr. King explained, these ‘militants’ were “color consumed” and would condemn those who are not colored. This is a radical reaction to racism and is a sort of racism of its own.
As a result of being “color consumed,” these Black ‘militants’ would empathize with “colored” Arabs. Consequently out of a sense of “colored” superiority, they would stand in solidarity with Arabs and became hostile to Israel.
In Dumisani Washington’s words, Dr. King saw this as “nonsense.”
Dr. King would not tolerate color superiority of any kind and believed that people should be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Dr. King’s perspective on the Middle East was objective whereas Black ‘militants’ looked at the Palestinian-Israeli relationship with an automatic bias.
Though this sometimes meant disagreeing with fellow African Americans, Dr. King was more concerned about not being “color consumed” and fighting honestly for truth and justice.
Fundamental roots of the BDS movement are similar to, and possibly directly influenced by, these “color consumed” concepts.
While the BDS movement claims to be helping Palestinians, BDS is an anti-Semitic movement.
BDS is unconcerned about the Jews’ need for a safe haven and their right to their homeland in Israel. BDS is only interested in hearing the Palestinian narrative and choose them over the Jewish people just as Black ‘militants’ sided solely with Arabs.
As Dumisani Washington explains, Arab aggression, beginning with the Khartoum Declaration, spurred anti-Israel views among Black ‘militants.’ In turn, this strengthened anti-Zionism in America and eventually resulted in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel.
To honor Dr. King’s legacy is to truly serve human rights and justice.
While the BDS movement is blinded by its staunch bias against Israel, Dumisani Washington argues that to truly promote Dr. King’s legacy of human rights for all people, it is essential to stand with Israel.
Additionally, Dumisani Washington explains that Palestinian authorities must be criticized for perpetrating their own people. While BDS overlooks Hamas, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, these regimes are responsible for countless honor killings in the West Bank and for withholding aid funds worth billions of dollars from suffering Palestinians.
Similar to the Black ‘militant’ groups, BDS is a color consumed movement and needs to consider the roots of their values before they continue wasting their time blaming Israel and not truly helping Palestinians.
To further understand Dumisani Washington’s view on Israel and his writings on Dr. King’s Pro-Israel legacy, click here. In addition, Dumisani Washington constantly speaks for Israel on his Facebook Page.
Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz