Jackson's Visit: Sins of Omission


To the Editors of the Crimson:

As a long-time admirer of the Reverend Mortin Luther King, Jr., I attended the January 15 sermon by the Reverend Jesse Jackson. He preached to an overflow crowd of 1000 persons as the guest of the United Ministry at Harvard.

"Most of what his half hour address contained was worthy of being a memorial sermon. However, his attitude towards Harvard and his own predisposed opinions leave something to be desired.

It was disappointing to compare the thrust of the two Reverent King, and Jackson, not only because of the things the Reverend Jackson did say but even more by what he did not say.

Since I am an alumnus I feel Justified in saying that the Reverend Jackson, as a guest of Harvard, showed poor faste from the text of his prepared sermon (source: UPI dispatch 1/10/83 to castigate Harvard for its investments in South Africa. It would have been enough if, in one sentence he had simply deplored the existence of the investments. Instead, he indulged himself, in a three minute diatribe of shrill overkill.


What he did not say is that Harvard's President Derek Bok joined with other college presidents, at least a week before January 15, to direct a strong letter of protest to the South African government. It included a firm request for an immediate amelioration of the restrictions on Blacks, Rightly or wrongly, Harvard's position is that an effective boycott against South African industry will only exacerbate the position of the Blacks by creating unemployment.

This again leads into what the Reverend Jackson did not say. He did not recommend a boycott here in the United States against all corporations doing business with South Africa. Evidently it is one thing to tell Harvard to divest and another thing to ask Americans to divest. That would mean getting rid of toasters, washing machines, radios, television sets, automobiles ad infinitum. It would mean looking for replacements made by companies not involved with South Africa or doing without the items.

Also what he did not say is hat 29 Black African countries are doing business with South Africa. On a January 20 Kup's show, Boston TV Channel 44, the Reverend Jesse Jackson excused these countries on the basis of necessity whereas the United States in his opinion has the luxury of choice. What choice, the choice of boycott stated above?

In the course of the sermon he brought out that the eastern block of countries, Russia et at.. are not doing business with South Africa What he did not say is that Russia is doing business with Black African countries which are communist-oriented, e.g. Ethiopia Some food and medical supplies are being delivered to starving the Russian trucks. The the recipients who see "LADA" the Russia auto masque as to be grateful to Russia. This came out to recent Phil Donahue talk show. In the police of hunger as practiced by Ethiopia a Norwegian ship, loaded with relief supplies, was not allowed to unload because were to go to rebel-held as well as government held areas

The Reverend Jesse Jackson recited a list of western countries trafficking with south Africa-the United States, England, France, Italy, Germany, and even include Israel Which accounts for one half of I percent of South African imports. what he did not say is that the Arab countries are selling millions of dollars of oil to south Africa . Is one of the reasons for this blatant omission the fact that his organization, Operation PUSH, receives Arab donations?

Also what he did not say is that Israel virtually did no business with South Africa before the Yom Kippur war. After 1973 the Arab oil countries pressured almost all of the Black African countries to close the Israeli embassies (source: Naomi Chazan, Israeli Foreign Office, guest speaker at the African Studies seminar in December, 1984 at Coolidge Hall, Harvard).

Incidentally the Reverend Jackson mentioned Wednesday morning, January 16, on Boston's TV Channel 7 that Ethiopia needs well-digging equipment. When African countries shut out Israel in 1973 it was precisely Israeli agricultural aid programs that were, perforce, stopped.

After naming Israel as a country dealing with South Africa what he did not say is that Israel should be commended for rescuing 10,000 Black Africans, now in Israel. Why did he not call for Americans to emulate Israel? We did it for Cubans and Vietnamese who were in life-threatening situations. We did it for Hungarians in 1957 I know. I was in charge of getting jobs for 12 refugees in Needham, Massachusetts. Someone else was in charge of getting housing, someone else clothing. Someone else teaching them English and so on. That is what Israel is doing today with the Ethiopians each town taking a few.

At least one side benefit of the airlift of the 10,000 Blacks is that the rug have been pulled out from under Arab racist resolutions against Israel in the United Nations. On January 9at Yenching Institute, Harvard. U.N Secretary General Javier Perez talked on "The U.N. Potential in Shaping Tomorrow's World. "I asked him when would the U.N. reverse All he could say was that he, personally, had never considered Israel racist.

It is Quite evident that America does not want to hear any more HYMIE type remarks. What the Reverend Jesse Jackson specifically said is that Western countries

must abandon the "false AI Joison Black face mask" and do what is right. "why did he not say" "False Amos'n Andy Black face masks"? He could have even included Gene Kelly or, generically, the Black minstrel show era. NO, these other variations on the them don't have the punch when you want to intimate, subconsciously perhaps, that a Jewish singer indulged in a form of entertainment not generally considered demeaning in Jolson's time

Today we have outgrown that mentality. We acknowledge that it is not proper for whites to don burnt cork. It is my hope that the outgrow the anger that brings forth these unfortunate, division innuendos.

Perphas my hope is due to the fact that I am much older than the Reverend Jackson. This allow me to remember that a Boston Jew, Walter Beringer, was once president of the local chapter of the Urban League

On the January 20th Kup's show, Boston TV Channel 44, Kupcinet asked the Reverend Jackson about a request from the mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek. The mayor had asked the Reverend Jackson to speak to the governments of Ethiopia and Sudan to allow rescue of the Black Jews, Beta Israel, remaining in Africa. The Reverend Jackson said he would look into it but that it was a very delicate matter.

Blacks and Jews used to work in greater harmony on social problems as evidenced by Messrs. Kaplan and Beringer. With his intellect and experience the Reverend Jesse Jackson could conclude it is now time for him to help Blacks and Jews rediscover their natural common interests and sympathies.

I appeal to him to bend greater efforts to help restore that harmony for a variety of reasons, not least the benefit to America. Neal Jacobs'39