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The story
  • A long road to understanding
    By Ivan Penn, Times Staff Writer
    Martin Luther King Jr.'s hopeful message could surely find a home in Jerusalem and the West Bank ... or could it?
  • In Perspective: It's a fight for peace activists to get heard in Israeli-Palestinian debate
    By Ivan Penn, Times Staff Writer
    I was in Jerusalem as a journalist with a group of performers who traveled to the Middle East on a cultural exchange with the Palestinian National Theatre to perform the play Passages of Martin Luther King. The U.S. Department of State organized 10 performances of the play in Jerusalem and on the West Bank over 312 weeks with American and Palestinian artists.

On the play's 2007 tour to China
In national news

Local singers bring MLK Jr.'s message to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

A group of singers from Tampa Bay traveled to Israel and the West Bank to perform a play about Martin Luther King Jr. Sponsored by the Unted States Department of State, the play, Passages of Martin Luther King,  explores the philosophy of non-violence that guided the American civil rights movement.

Working with Palestinian actors, the singers discovered that the historical drama they were presenting to Palestinian audiences had more relevance to current events than they imagined. During their three-and-a-half-week tour, they experienced a fatal bombing and even the assassination of the founder of a theater where they performed.

The singers left Israel with a newfound appreciation of the complexity of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. But they also gained a deeper conviction that all Palestinians do not endorse violent protest and that many are open to Martin Luther King's message of non-violence.

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