NEW YORK (May. 22)
The city’s highest-ranking Black official considers the National Black Political Convention’s resolution on Israel a “gratuitous insult” to both Israel and American Jewry. Manhattan Borough President Percy E. Sutton told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency through a spokesman today that he also “feels strongly” that a resolution on Israel has no place in a National Black Political Agenda.
“He personally supports Israel very strongly,” the spokesman said. “He feels it was wrong to single out Israel for comment.” The resolution originally adopted March 12 in Gary. Ind., recommended the “dismantling” of Israel. In its revised form, unveiled Friday in Washington, the resolution condemns Israel’s “expansionist policy” and “forceful occupation” of Arab territory. It was revised to meet objections from prominent Black leaders including Convention officials, the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus.
In a letter to the three co-chairmen of the Convention, Sutton also questioned whether the Israel resolution–and the “equally disturbing” one on school busing–are representative of American Black opinion, inasmuch as they were passed with only a small percentage of the delegates present.
He wrote: “No Black person interested in the development of the underdeveloped countries of Africa should find it necessary to destruct Israel to construct Black Africa. The destruction of Israel for the purpose of constructing Black Africa is a supernational concept which, in my view, neither reflects the views of the delegates who attended the Convention nor the thinking of the Black community nationally, nor has it ever been the expressed view of a single head of state of an African nation. Why then, should it be advanced as a position of the Black Political Convention? The answer is–it should not.”
The resolution on busing originally condemned it outright, then in the revised version scored its use as a political issue. Sutton supports busing to achieve integration. The NAACP quit the Convention last week over its “separatist and nationalist” Agenda, especially its “repugnant” resolutions–even as revised–on Israel and busing. Of the Convention’s co-chairmen, two–Mayor Richard G. Hatcher of Gary, Ind., and Rep. Charles C. Diggs, Jr. (D.Mich,)–object to the Israel resolution, while the third–Imamu Amiri Baraka of Newark, N.J., the poet formerly known as LeRoi Jones–backs it. Sutton wants a “thorough review” of the two disputed measures.