11 Oct Disciples of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Says His Nonviolent Principles Can Help Bring Peace in the Middle East
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October 10, 2023
Disciples of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Says His Nonviolent Principles Can Help Bring Peace in the Middle East
“You Never Turn to Violence,” Says Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., President and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Who Seeks to Return to the Middle East
ATLANTA – Officials of the Southern Chrisitan Leadership Conference (SCLC) said today that they are open to revisiting the Middle East to meet with leaders from Israel and Palestine – two nations engaged in a vicious war where the death toll is rising by the hour and many hostages are being held -, because they believe the nonviolence philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the few avenues for bringing about a peaceful resolution.
During the summer, officials from the legendary civil rights organization, co-founded and first led by Dr. King, visited Jerusalem to educate city and community leaders about Dr. King’s nonviolence principles. It was also a trip to fulfill Dr. King’s promise to return to the Middle Eastern nation. Dr. King, who first visited Israel in 1959, was unable to fulfill that promise because he was assassinated in Memphis two weeks before his scheduled return visit.
“We have provided nonviolence training on both sides. One day we were in Israel, and the next day we were in Palestine, and we were very successful,” Dr. Steele said. “But you cannot do this training two or three times. You must do this continuously, 24/7. You have to teach it on a daily basis and institutionalize it. So, we are open to mediating, and we are in communication with a couple of people who are close to the Palestinians as well as the State of Israel. They will let us know if they are open to mediation using the Kingian philosophy, which was very successful during the turbulent civil rights era led by Dr. King.”
Dr. Steele said he is very disappointed that the Palestinian nationalist organization Hamas chose violence over talks, and that action has sparked a deadly war.
“That was a selfish move,” Dr. Steele said. “You never turn to violence. That is totally against the principle and philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When you begin to use violence or any physical force to kill people, that eradicates the opportunity to communicate and negotiate whatever the resolve should be. Ultimately, when you turn to violence to get across your point of view, you are asking for failure. And when you get to the point where you want to eliminate countries such as a State of Israel, then you are limiting your options.”
Outside of Dr. King’s six-step principles for nonviolence social change, which include information gathering, education, personal commitment, negotiation, direct action and reconciliation, Dr. Steele said there are limited options to resolve the conflict.
“You have to have a happy medium,” Dr. Steele said. “The happy medium is the middle ground for everyone concerned. But no one is listening to the other side, so the options are limited. Other than Dr. King’s nonviolence philosophy, the other options are God himself and the Trinity.” ###
ABOUT THE SCLC: Established in 1957, the SCLC, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is an international organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: north, south, east, and west. Its sphere of influence and interests has become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries. For additional information about the SCLC, visit www.nationalsclc.org.To arrange an interview with Dr. Steele, contact Jerry Thomas at email@example.com, or (312) 804-7999.