Sunday, March 25, 2012

Israeli Propaganda Week

"To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction." (The Purpose of Education, Martin Luther King, Morehouse College Student Paper, The Maroon Tiger, 1947)

Zionist propagandists will grasp at any straw to bolster their faltering case. The most recent example here has been an Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) poster barrage targeting the 8th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week on campuses across the nation.

One such poster features a photograph of Black-American civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King with an accompanying, unsourced, though presumably genuine, quote. Google the quote and one of the first entries to emerge is the following from

"10 days before his assassination, at the annual convention on [sic] the Rabbinical assembly, Dr King said: 'The response of some of the so-called young militants does not represent the position of the vast majority of Negroes. There are some who are color-consumed and they see a kind of mystique in blackness or in being colored, and anything non-colored is condemned. We do not follow that course... Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect her right to exist, its territorial integrity and the right to use whatever sea lanes it needs. Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality'. Source: I.L. Kenen, Israel's Defense Line, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY: 1981, 266"

[NB: I have highlighted in the above quotation the part which accompanies the photograph of King.]

What, I wonder, would the average Australian university student make of King's alleged words?

Putting to one side any analysis of the quote's content, one would hope that any students reading it would have the critical wherewithal to ask themselves (or AUJS) the following obvious questions:

1) Why is the quote not sourced as are those on AUJS's other 2 posters?
2) What is the source of the quote?

Assuming that any students were sufficiently interested as to google it and so access the above extract, one would hope that they would then have the nouse to ask two further questions:

1) Who is I.L. Kenen?
2) Is there any other source for the quote?

In answer to question 1) Isaiah Leo 'Si' Kenen (1905-1988) was the founder of the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs (AZCPA), the forerunner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most powerful component of the US Israel lobby, whose conferences provide the (candle-lit?) backdrop for American presidents' de rigueur declarations of undying love for the state of Israel. The full title of Kenen's book is Israel's Defense Line: Her Friends & Foes in Washington.

In answer to question 2) I can't find any other source on the net. (If anyone can find it in some volume containing say King's complete speeches, I'd be more than interested to hear from them.)

With these 2 answers in mind, I would therefore hope that such students would take the quote with the proverbial grain of salt.

Now assuming that King did say what has been attributed to him by Kenen, I would hope that students would then ask such questions as:

1) Is King, like the Pope, infallible?
2) Just how much did he know about the issue at the time?

To which, I think the following answers would have to be: 'no' and 'probably not much'.

I would hope as well that they would take into consideration the context in which it was said, that is, in the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which the Zionist propaganda mill conned Americans into believing was a war for Israel's very survival, with President Nasser of Egypt cast in the role of the new Hitler gearing up to drive Israeli Jews into the sea. With so many Americans sucked in by the myth of an Israeli David overcoming an Arab Goliath, why not King?

Finally (and again I hasten to add if these are indeed King's words), I would hope that students would marvel at the grotesque spectacle of a renowned campaigner for the rights of his own oppressed people so blind to the colonial dynamic at play in Palestine as to prattle on about the security of the coloniser and his supposed transformation of a "desert land" into an "oasis of brotherhood and democracy." The cliched, propagandist desert/oasis metaphor suggests that King (?) hadn't the foggiest idea about the geography of Palestine, let alone what had really been going on there since 1917.

Certainly, the PR people behind the MLK poster, would naturally be banking on our students simply suspending their critical faculties and taking the quote at face value. In which case, their propaganda campaign will have been successful. Let us hope that our students are up to the challenge. And as for MLK, I think he'd be turning in his grave.

No comments: