A local group has asked Coretta Scott King to boycott an Israeli Embassy event honoring her slain husband, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., to protest violence in the Israeli-occupied territories.
James Zogby, a member of the District of Columbia King Holiday Commission, urged King to stay away from the Tuesday salute because of "flagrant violations of the human rights of Palestinians" in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Zogby, who also is executive director of the Arab-American Institute here, and seven of the 39 members of the city holiday commission sent a letter Thursday to King and members of the federal holiday commission asking that they disassociate themselves from the event.
At least 27 Palestinians have been killed by army gunfire in the wave of violent anti-Israeli unrest that has swept through the West Bank and Gaza Strip since Dec. 9. Another 1,978 have been detained.
The commemoration is being sponsored by the Israeli Embassy, the Jewish National Fund and the King Federal Holiday Commission.
King could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy declined comment.
In addition to Zogby, others signing the letter were Jack O'Dell, international affairs director of presidential hopeful Jesse Jackson's National Rainbow Coalition, and civil rights activists the Revs. Wyatt T. Walker and Ben Chavis.