Dear Jewish-history.com visitor:
We received the following message from the media
watchdog group CAMERA:
We are sorry to inform you that the “Letter to an
Anti-Zionist Friend” allegedly written by Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr., is apparently a hoax.
NOTICE FROM JEWISH-HISTORY.COM
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. And it was an odd coincidence that
the “Letter” was listed as being published in one of
the few magazines whose archives are not able to be
checked online. 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
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
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 [which does not exist! SR was a weekly, not a monthly publication]) 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. Based on the apparent verification
of the “letter” by the King family and the ADL, we
sent the “letter” to you on MLK Day.
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 67 Saturday Review). Lo and
behold, there is 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 CAMERA is not implying that the
apparently bogus “letter” originated with Rabbi
It has been brought to our attention that this page is being linked by some questionable sites. Therefore we have removed all quotes and reminiscences that we have not been able to personally verify.
Jewish-History.com has attempted to track down the source of this Internet hoax and find out who could have composed this bogus letter, without success. There is no evidence that Dr. King uttered these words at a speech given at Harvard, and whether or not he may have said something like this to someone in a private conversation is impossible to verify.
The hoax appears to have originated with either Marc Schneier or Michael Salberg in spite of vehement denials from CAMERA and the ADL. Somebody obviously thought it would be cool to make up a bogus MLK quote in support of a cause that he may or may not have endorsed.
We warn everyone to be wary of "quotes" from famous people that they may encounter on the Internet.
Unfortunately, the communication from CAMERA, which we received in 1999, also contained a number of unverified, bogus quotes attempting desperately to link MLK to the cause of Israel. Look, we know that he had a bunch of Jewish friends, but he had his own battles. He did not have the time or the energy to embrace someone else's agenda. We have removed those quotes from our website and apologize to anyone who may have been misled by them.