Sunday, January 15, 2006

‘Modern-day prophet’

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon hailed Martin Luther King as a “modern-day prophet” when he honored the slain civil rights leader in a ceremony at the Israeli Embassy.

“We gather this evening, as we have for the last 20 years, to pay homage and tribute to the life and work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Mr. Ayalon said at the reception last week in advance of today’s annual commemoration of King’s birthday.

“Rev. King was a modern-day prophet, a veritable reincarnation of Jeremiah or Isaiah, as well as an American patriot,” he said, comparing King with the ancient Israeli prophets.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who also spoke at the reception, said blacks and Jews have shared historical suffering.

“We have both known slavery. We’ve known exile. We’ve known the hand of God as the key to survival,” he said.

Mr. Ayalon also honored Carolyn Goodman, whose son, Andrew, was among three civil-rights activists murdered in 1964 in Mississippi, and Richard Womack, a civil-rights official with the AFL-CIO.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


• Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt of Belgium, who meets with President Bush. He also addresses the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is accompanied by Didier Reynders, deputy prime minister and finance minister; Karel de Gucht, foreign minister; and Vincent van Quickenborne, state secretary for administrative reform.

• Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo of the Philippines, whose meetings include talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a weeklong visit.

• Park Jae-kyu, former South Korean minister of unification, who speaks at a forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


• Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert of the Netherlands, U.N. force commander in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Steve Edwards of Britain’s Scotland Yard; Ambassador Michael Sahlin, the European Union’s special representative in Macedonia; Col. Jan-Inge Svensson of the Swedish Military Academy; and Brig. Gen. Gordon Mzwandile Yekelo of the South African armed forces. They speak at a forum on global-information operations sponsored by Open Source Intelligence.

• Maqbool Ali Sultan, Oman’s minister of commerce and industry, and Salem Ben Nasser Al Ismaily of the Omani Center for Investment Promotion and Export Development. They address a forum sponsored by the Cato Institute.

• A delegation from Rwanda, comprising Justine Mbabazi of the American Bar Association in Rwanda; Sen. Beatrice Mukabaranga; Rose Mukantabana, coordinator of the Women’s Legal Rights Initiative; Connie Bwiza Sekamana of the Chamber of Deputies; and Geraldine Umugwaneza, a former Supreme Court judge. They address a forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


• A delegation of Iraqi women, comprising Hanaa Edwar, general secretary of the Iraqi Al-Amal Association; Basma Fakri, co-founder and president of the Women’s Alliance for a Democratic Iraq; Zakia Hakki, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly; Mishkat Al Moumin, former minister of environment; and Ala Noori Talabani, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly and co-founder Women for a Free Iraq. They address a forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

• Canadian architect Phyllis Lambert, who receives the Vincent J. Scully Prize at a ceremony at the National Building Museum. Pierre Theberge of the National Gallery of Canada also attends the ceremony.

• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail

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