Bernice King Probably Knows More About Her Father’s Politics Than Amy Schumer Does

"I am certain he would call for Israel’s bombing of Palestinians to cease, for hostages to be released…" King wrote after Schumer shared a video of MLK.

Bernice King Probably Knows More About Her Father’s Politics Than Amy Schumer Does
Photo: (Getty Images)

Since Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on October 7th, Israel has retaliated by incessantly bombing and killing Gazan civilians, while blocking much-needed aid from getting to the Gaza Strip. Celebrities have met this humanitarian crisis the way they often do: with an overblown perception of themselves as political thought leaders.

Comedian Amy Schumer, in particular, has taken to social to share a torrent of information with her followers (13.1 million on Instagram, 4 million on Twitter). The posts have been mostly in support of Israel and speak out against threats of anti-semitism while demanding the return of the over 200 hostages Hamas are still holding.

On Monday, Schumer shared a (obviously old) video clip of Martin Luther King Jr. vocalizing his support of Israel’s right to exist as well as condemning antisemitism. Alongside her other posts, which have doubted and mocked the effectiveness of calling for a ceasefire and suggested that “Gazans rape Jewish girls,” the MLK clip seems to be suggesting that Schumer believes the civil rights leader would ideologically align with her.

The next day, on October 31st, MLK’s daughter and CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Bernice King, responded to the context of Schumer’s post in a Twitter thread. She wrote:

Certainly, my father was against antisemitism, as am I.
He also believed militarism (along with racism and poverty) to be among the interconnected Triple Evils.
I am certain he would call for Israel’s bombing of Palestinians to cease, for hostages to be released…

The “Triple Evils” King mentions are racism, poverty, and war.

King continued her thread by sharing a clip of her father vocalizing his support of the United States pulling out of Vietnam, furthering her point that he was consistent in his beliefs against the abuses of colonial military power. In that video, he cites France’s unilateral withdrawal from Algeria in 1962 and how that decision increased France’s prestige as a country. He called for the U.S. to prove its “moral power” over its “military power.” In her final tweet in response to Schumer, King suggested she read MLK’s book Where Do We Go From Here?: Chaos or Community.

Cherrypicking soundbites and quotes of MLK without spending time with or researching the scope of his teachings is fairly commonplace. Each year politicians, who advance policies that actively dismantle MLK Jr’s lifework, share quotes by the civil rights activist on MLK Day. That is just to say, Schumer, and really anyone, would do well to familiarize themselves with MLK’s principles and beliefs before using his likeness to defend positions he himself would not have.

King herself has been steady in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. On October 27th, she shared a statement on her social media accounts that read, “As I mourn the unconscionable disregard for humanity, and appeal for the release of all hostages, I, once again, passionately urge a ceasefire and immediate deployment to Gaza of additional, crucial life-saving supplies at the scale needed.” Days earlier, on the 20th, The King Center also called for a ceasefire in Gaza.

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