Clarification: An earlier version of this article attributed Dr. King’s comment to a 1968 appearance at Harvard. To clarify, professor Seymour Martin Lipset and Congressman John Lewis, a disciple and associate of Dr. King, both point out that the comment was made shortly before King’s death, but did not name the precise date. Lipset asserted the comment was made in Cambridge, Mass., and Lewis cited Harvard University as the location.
So that CAMERA is currently saying that King said the quote in Harvard, albeit on an unspecified date.
Enter Martin Kramer, an Israeli professor very much worried that Wikipedia lists the quote as disputed. In a well-documented article, Kramer proved that Martin Luther King traveled to Boston in October 1967 on a fundraiser and was invited to Marty Peretz's house in Cambridge, together with his aide Andrew Young, who would later become the US's Ambassador to the UN and the mayor of Atlanta. It was there, Kramer asserts, that King said the quote. In his words: "We now have a date, an approximate time of day, and a street address for the Cambridge dinner, all attested by contemporary documents." Kramer goes on to state:
And just to run the contemporary record against memory, I wrote to Peretz, to ask whether the much-quoted exchange did take place at his Cambridge home on that evening almost 45 years ago. His answer: “Absolutely.” I’ve written twice to Andrew Young to ask whether he has any recollection of the episode. I haven’t yet received a response.
So will the guardians of Wikiquote redeem this quote from the purgatory of “disputed”?
To put things in context, Marty Peretz is a well-known Zionist fanatic and anti-Muslim bigot, who has resorted to dishonesty to advance his cause. "Lying for the crown" is a behavior one would expect from him. The fact that Andy Young hasn't corroborated the quote doesn't help either (although even if he had it wouldn't mean much; after 45 years, memories tend to be blurred: personal recollections about issues one is not very much involved with are not usually reliable).
But remember, CAMERA quoted Congressman John Lewis, a disciple and associate of Dr. King, as also confirming the quote, in an article first published in the San Francisco Chronicle which eventually was adopted by the US Congress and made its way into the Congressional Record, V. 148, Pt. 1, January 23, 2002 to February 13 2002. In that article, Lewis states:
During an appearance at Harvard University shortly before his death, a student stood up and asked King to address himself to the issue of Zionism. The question was clearly hostile. King responded, “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.”
So that Kramer claims that the quote was said at a dinner at Marty Peretz's home, while Lewis claims it was said at Harvard. If one is right, the other is wrong, and vice-versa. What we have here is what appears to be a number of people interested in supporting a pro-Israel narrative (Kramer, Peretz and Lipset out of ideological motives; Lewis because he needs the money of his Jewish donors), all claiming that Martin Luther King Jr. equated anti-Zionism to antisemitism, but unable to get their act together as regards the details.
I expect CAMERA to clarify this mess; as long as they don't, the world has every right to doubt the authenticity of MLK's quote, and Wikipedia is fully justified to describe it as disputed.