NEW YORK (Aug. 22)
Black leaders continued to meet today to discuss the consequences of Andrew Young’s resignation as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and U.S. policy towards the Middle East. A meeting this afternoon at the New York Sheraton between the NAACP, the National Urban League and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was scheduled to examine “The Total Issue of Foreign Policy,” specifically U.S. Israeli-Palestinian issues.
Yesterday Howard, Squadron, American Jewish Congress president, Bertram Gold, American Jewish Committee executive vice president and Nathan Perlmutter, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, met with a 12- member SCLC delegation led by Joseph Lowery, SCLC president. After a 2 1/ 2 hour meeting, Squadron issued a statement on behalf of all three Jewish officials:
“We found the meeting frank and useful We are convinced that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference is opposed to PLO terrorism and to the provisions in the charter of the PLO that call for the destruction of Israel.
“We have a fundamental disagreement; however, on the wisdom and consequences of the SCLC meeting with the PLO representatives. We think that was a grave error, lending legitimacy to an organization committed to terrorism and violence.”
Lowery said earlier after a meeting with Israeli Ambassador, Yehuda Blum, “We are making no apologies. Let’s stop the killings while we work out the problems. We are saying let’s stop opening up the bellies of beautiful young children who are Palestinians and Israelis.”
In a “report to the community” last night at the Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, Lowery responded to charges that his actions constituted an endorsement of the PLO. “We have not endorsed the PLO We have endorsed justice We have condemned terrorism of the PLO or anybody else likewise,” Lowery said.
The Rev: Wyatt T. Walker. the church’s pastor, told the gathering, “There will be no peace in the Middle East until justice comes to the Palestinians.”He said he has visited a Palestinian refugee camp. “All you have to do is visit a refugee camp one time and you will know that the Palestinians are the niggers of the Middle East. The Palestinians deserve justice in the Middle East.”
JEWISH GROUPS ATTACKED
The Black leaders who met today presented four position papers which criticized the Carter Administration and Jewish organizations for their behavior toward Young. Franklin Williams, who was U.S. Ambassador to Ghana in the early 1960s, focused on what he termed the “double standard” applied by President Carter and the State Department to Young and U.S. Ambassador to Austria Milton Wolf. Young was rebuked by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance for his meeting with a PLO official in New York while wolf was merely “reminded” of U.S. policy on talking with the PLO after he had met with PLO officials on three separate occasions;
Williams termed Young a “sacrificial lamb” who “acted on his best judgement in circumstances beyond his control.” He assailed the “overreaction of the media, Jewish organizations and the U.S. government towards Young’s meeting with the PLO,” and declared that “Blacks are deeply affronted by the inherent arrogance by some Jewish groups” to Young’s action.
Rep. Walter Fauntroy, who represents the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives and is a member of the Black Congressional Caucus, termed the State Department “callous and ruthless, ” in the way Vance dealt with Young’s meeting with the PLO official. He said he would demand a full disclosure by the State Department of Young’s meeting to determine if he had violated official policy. Fauntroy also assailed the “double standard” in the cases of Young and Wolf and took time out to call for the desegregation of the State Department.
Richard Hatcher, Mayor of Gary, Ind., declared: “We affirm the right of Black citizens and organizations to engage in dialogue with individuals and groups whose actions have serious consequences for them. We applaud the initiative of those individuals and organizations that have come to the defense of Ambassador Andrew Young, our colleague and brother. We respect and affirm the right of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and any other individual or organization to express their views on international and domestic issues. We join with Ambassador Andrew Young in rejecting the notion that any foreign nation should dictate the foreign policies of the United States….”
The most emotional and hard-hitting statement was presented by Julian Bond, Georgia State Senator He declared, in port: “The key question before us as representatives of the Black community in America is the more immediate problem of the extent to which the successful demand for the resignation of Ambassador Andrew Young has in fact further damaged an already unhappy relationship between the American Jewish organizational spokesmen and the rank and file and the leadership of American Blacks….
“There is no question that individual Jews and Jewish organizations and their Leaders have worked as part of a liberal coalition with Blacks and organized labor to form a powerful political force for social and economic reform in the United States. It is also clear that Jewish organizations and leadership have done so when it is in their perceived interest to do so as do we It is reasonable to believe that they will continue to work with Blacks when they believe that it is in their interest to be allied with Blacks and their aspirations….
“Whenever the legitimate concerns of Blacks are or are perceived to be in conflict with the interests and policies of Jewish organizations and leaders then those differences must be made clear and if possible resolved. If their concerns cannot be resolved by rational discussions and in an atmosphere of mutual respect, then realism demands that Blacks will differ with Jews even as Jews differ with Blacks. Each group will then use whatever power and influence it has to pursue its own goals.”
The various papers read during the one -hour meeting were accepted unanimously by the Black leaders present. Members of the audience responded to the statements with murmurs of “right on” and “teach them.” The meeting culminated in a standing ovation for Band’s statement and members of the audience commented that the event signaled a “Black declaration of independence.” Other Black leaders present were Kenneth Clark, Rev. Jesse Jackson who heads Operation PUSH, Vernon Jordan who heads the National Urban League and Martin Luther King III.