JERUSALEM (Sep. 20)
Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem agreed today to meet the Rev. Jesse Jackson when he comes to Israel next week even though he finds Jackson’s remarks about Israel “offensive.” Premier Menachem Begin however, has refused to receive the American Black leader who will be meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat during his visit to the Middle East.
Jackson, who heads “Operation PUSH,” a Chicago-based group active for Black rights in America, was one of the most vociferous critics of Israel and the American Jewish community for their alleged role in the resignation of Andrew Young as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
In a coble to Jackson today, Kollek said: I can assure you that Arab lip-service to the PLO is undoubtedly the result of fear of PLO terror. I take exception to your offensive remarks regarding the State of Israel and our Prime Minister. Nevertheless, J will welcome you to Jerusalem and you will have the opportunity to see for yourself the infrastructure of peace and tolerance.”
Jackson, who was invited to the region by Arafat, also expects to meet with King Hussein of Jordan and is trying to arrange a meeting with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. He claimed in a television interview last Sunday that he would try to moderate the PLO’s position toward Israel. He has been sharply critical of Israel for refusing to talk to the PLO.
According to press reports, Begin decided not to meet Jackson because of the latter’s public attacks on Israel in the U.S. The reports said Begin discussed the matter with his aides, a majority of whom advised against such a meeting. But one aide reportedly warned that a snub to Jackson could backfire against Israel.
Begin is also considered unlikely to meet with the 10-member Black American delegation headed by Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, that is presently visiting the Middle East. The group includes Walter Fauntroy, the District of Columbia Representative in Congress. Their visit grew out of the furor raised by Young’s resignation.