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On Martin Luther King Jr Day – January 15 2018

0 Comments 15 January 2018

By Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann, RHR director of organization development

If the reverend Martin Luther King Junior and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel were alive today they would certainly be “praying with their feet” and marching here with the human rights groups, marching in Nabi Salach and Sheikh Jarrah, active in opposing the destruction of villages and expulsion of their people in places like Khan Al Akhmar, Um Al Hiran and Susia, and passionately protesting the plans to expel African asylum seekers and refugees to a tragic fate in Africa, especially when these things are being done by representatives of a people who have themselves suffered expulsion, refugee status and worse in the past.

cc: wikipedia

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (2nd from right) in the Selma Civil Rights March with Martin Luther King, Jr.  “Heschel Selected Photos”. the Trustees of Dartmouth College [faculty] [Department of Religion]. Archived from the original on Sep 17, 2014. Retrieved Sep 17, 2014., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5004303

They would certainly have declared in a clear and resounding voice that what is happening here in Israel and the occupied territories – the continuing military occupation and repression and the descent of our government into institutional racism and idolizing of brute force, the culture of corruption and silencing of criticism – is abhorrent and flies in the face of belief in a universal G-d of humanity who created humankind in the Divine image. They would tell us that this behaviour contradicts the religious and moral vision of our ancient prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.They are both no longer with us and what we have left are their words, their memory and the example of dedication and courage in their struggle, and that of many others, against racism in the USA. The struggle of those following their path of spiritual radicalism has not ended there and our struggle here continues in the light of their inspiration.

In my office hanging on the wall, as well as on the wall of Palestinian non violence resistance leader, Sami Awwad (whom I admire), is an iconic photo of Martin Luther King Junior in his office with that of Mahatma Gandhi on the wall behind him. In our meeting room, at RHR, the famous photo of MLK and Abraham Heschel marching, arm-in-arm, in Selma Alabama is prominently displayed on the wall.

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