Justice, Politics

RAC Celebrates MLK Jr. with Jesse Jackson at The Israeli Embassy

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism hosted an event Thursday night at the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C., commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — which falls this Monday — featuring an impassioned speech from the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
The JTA reports,

Rev. Jesse Jackson chastised religious conservatives who he said use a “perverse theology” to justify racism and anti-Semitism.
“It is that perverse theology that justified slavery,” Jackson said Thursday in a speech at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. “At the very heart of it is a racist, anti-Semitic view of the world.” Jackson spoke at a commemoration of the work of Martin Luther King Jr. co-sponsored by the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. Blacks and Jews “have both known slavery, we’ve known exile, we’ve known the hand of God as keys to survival,” he said.
Awards were presented to Richard Womack, assistant to the president of the AFL-CIO, and Carolyn Goodman, a civil rights activist whose son was murdered while working for civil rights in Mississippi in the 1960s.

Reverened Jackson’s remarks are a far cry from his “Hymietown” remarks made over two decades ago, and his participation in the event seems to demonstrate an interest in working with Jewish progressives towards combatting the influence of the Religious Right on American policy.
For more MLK Day goodness from the URJ, the RAC has a page of MLK-related resources available here, and NFTY has a podcast interview with Rabbi Israel Dresner, who marched and was arrested with Dr. King in St. Augustine in 1964, here.

5 thoughts on “RAC Celebrates MLK Jr. with Jesse Jackson at The Israeli Embassy

  1. Regarding the unproven claim of the “Hymietown” remark, which is based on only hearsay:
    “COINTELPRO enabled the FBI and police to exacerbate the movements’ internal stresses until beleaguered activists turned on one another. Whites were pitted against Blacks, Blacks against Chicanos and Puerto Ricans, students against workers, workers against people on welfare, men against women, religious activists against atheists, Christians against Jews, Jews against Muslims. “Anonymous” accusations of infidelity ripped couples apart. Backers of women’s and gay liberation were attacked as “dykes” or “faggots.” Money was repeatedly stolen and precious equipment sabotaged to intensify pressure and sow suspicion and mistrust.
    Otherwise manageable disagreements were inflamed by COINTELPRO until they erupted into hostile splits that shattered alliances, tore groups apart, and drove dedicated activists out of the movement. Government documents implicate the FBI and police in the bitter breakup of such pivotal groups as the Black Panther Party, SDS, and the Liberation News Service, and in the collapse of repeated efforts to form long-term coalitions across racial, class, and regional lines. While genuine political issues were often involved in these disputes, the outcome could have been different if government agencies had not covertly intervened to subvert compromise and fuel hostility and competition.”
    from: COINTELPRO in the 60s, excerpted from the book WAR AT HOME by Brian Glick


  2. Well, I wouldn’t necessarily pay much heed to anything that Brown has to say, but it is entirely possible that Jackson has grown up a bit. I don’t think he is anti-Semitic to begin with. In addition, I heard his son speak at an AIPAC event in Chicago.

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