Former C.o.r.e. Leader Warns Against Scuttling Black-jewish Ties
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Former C.o.r.e. Leader Warns Against Scuttling Black-jewish Ties

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James Farmer, the founder and former national director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), warned last night that the “scuttling of the alliance” between Blacks and Jews “would not be in the interests of Blacks” or “in the interests of Jews.” It would, he said, “only be in the interests of those who, like the Ku Klux Klan, wish pain upon Jews and Blacks alike.”

Former, who is now executive director of the Coalition of American Public Employes, said in a prepared speech at the Conference of the National Association of Human Rights Workers in Portland, Me., that “the purported rift between the Black and Jewish communities” tied to the resignation of Andrew Young as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, threatens to “fragment” the “historical alliance between Blacks and Jews.”


“In all my years in the civil rights movement, no single white community contributed more in human and economic terms than the Jewish American community,” Farmer said. He said he is “troubled by recent statements by some Black leaders regarding events in the Middle East.”

He added, however, “A passionate concern for the social, political and economic freedom of all people must, of course, include the Palestinians. But this is not the issue. The issue here, simply put, is whether a unilateral, pro-Palestine Liberation Organization stance with its implied opposition to the nation of Israel serves the cause of that freedom or whether it might not escalate hostilities and limit the opportunities for peaceful resolution of these long-standing conflicts.”

Farmer continued: “More importantly, in light of the complexities of the issues in the Middle East and the historic appetite for violence on both sides, dare we stand mute when differences over there threaten to dismember a mutually advantageous alliance over here. I think we must not now hand the common enemies of Blacks and Jews such a windfall as that. To allow others to split our forces would invite defeat. To split our own forces ourselves is suicide.”

Farmer declared: “We should move quickly and decisively to resolve existing problems in our communities and to forestall others which threaten to erupt. When Blacks are endangered we must enlist both Jewish and Black leaders. When Jews are under attack, Blacks must move to their defense. The anti-Semite, we must never forget, is a bigot. Actions against Jews are only a prelude to actions against Blacks. And, equally true is the reverse.”


In another development, Rev. Jesse Jackson, head of Operation PUSH said here last night that he had been quoted out of context “for slanderous purposes” in a Christian Science Monitor article that said he had solicited Arab money for Black causes. Jackson was quoted by the Monitor on Sept 25 as saying that without Arab money for Black causes “we will learn to recite the alphabet without three letters, P-L-O.”

Jackson, speaking at a panel discussion sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute on the role of ethnic groups in American foreign policy, explained that he had told an Arab-American audience that they would have more influence in American foreign policy if they joined and contributed money to Black causes. Hyman Bookbinder, Washing ton representative of the American Jewish Committee, said Jackson’s explanation amounted to an “acknowledgement of the quote” in the Christian Science Monitor.


Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun Times reported today that Jackson solicited and received $10,000 in cash and pledges from Arab-Americans for his Operation PUSH last Saturday. Columnist Roger Simon quoted an unidentified Arab-American source as saying the money was requested at a closed meeting between Blacks and Arab-Americans at the PUSH headquarters in Chicago. Simon quoted his source as saying that Jackson was “clear” in telling the Arab-Americans “if you don’t support me, I won’t support you.”

Simon said that Jackson confirmed this to him by telephone saying he challenged the Arabs “that if they want to be part of the human rights struggle they must join it … with dollars and bodies.” Jackson was quoted as saying “We have lost some Jewish support, but this Arab support is not a trade off for that. The Arab money was not supposed to replace Jewish money.”

In a related development, former U.S. United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young said on an ABC-TV interview last night that he would continue to maintain his position that the U.S. should recognize the PLO despite divisions within the Black American community. (See P.3 for related story on Black-Jewish relations.)

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