Jackson Meets Jewish Leaders, Hails ‘Meaningful Dialogue’

Associated Press

Jesse Jackson met with about 30 Jewish leaders today in what he described as “the beginning of a meaningful and in-depth dialogue” with Jewish critics of his Democratic presidential candidacy. A few of them endorsed him.

While about a dozen demonstrators outside Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel chanted: “Lose, Jesse, lose!” “Jew hater!” and “Jesse, get out of town!” Jackson and about half of the participants in the closed session praised each other at a joint news conference. Jackson described the session as “a step toward healing the wounds,” adding: “We do live in one global community. . . . We walk together.”

‘A Reconciliation’

Rabbi Allen Freehling said that “the litany of complaints in the Jewish community with Jesse Jackson has been articulated” and that there was “a reconciliation.”


“We are as Jews and blacks united in one respect: We have a common commitment to justice,” said Rabbi Leonard Beerman, one of the few participants in the session to say he is endorsing Jackson.

Asked by reporters why he didn’t have a similar meeting while campaigning in New York last month, Jackson cited verbal attacks against him by Edward I. Koch, New York City’s Jewish mayor, and said, “Here you have a climate that is more conducive” to healing his differences with Jewish voters. “We thought this was the right place to start.”

‘An Appeal for Reason’

Koch had said during the New York primary campaign that Jewish voters concerned about the fate of Israel would have to be crazy to vote for Jackson.

Jackson said today: “I met with Arafat. So did the Pope. We took him not arms. . . . We took to him an appeal for reason, for justice.”