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Rev. Jesse Jackson on War & Peace

Civil Rights Activist


Met with Milosevic to negotiate release of captured airmen

Rev. Jesse Jackson is scheduled to meet three captured US soldiers ahead of talks with President Slobodan Milosevic over their release. The meeting with Milosevic is not set to take place until Saturday but preliminary meetings will be held throughout the day Friday with Yugoslav politicians and officials. Jackson and his delegation of American religious leaders arrived late Thursday and checked into their rooms at a hotel in central Belgrade shortly before NATO bombs rained down on the city in the heaviest attack yet on the capital.

The White House, which did not endorse the trip, made clear to Jackson that his mission would have no impact on the ongoing NATO air campaign. A National Security adviser told the group their visit would undermine efforts to isolate Milosevic. The Serbs want the delegation to see NATO bomb damage but the group said it was wary of being used for Yugoslav propaganda.

Source: CNN.com , Apr 30, 1999

Endorsed self-determination for Palestinians

[In the 1988 Democratic platform], much of the excitement during the platform debate was over the plank offered by Jackson to endorse “self-determination for Palestinians. While the plank was withdrawn by pre-arrangement before a vote, Jackson supporters called the debate a ”first“ for that volatile issue at an American convention.
Source: The Search for Common Ground, by Charles Henry, p. 83 , Jul 2, 1991

Got US POW released from Syria in 1984

While seeking the support of black religious leaders at a conference in 1983, Jackson made a proposal: “I don’t know whether you know it or not, but there’s a black Navy flier who’s a prisoner of war in Syria and the U.S. has forgotten about him. I sent a cable to Assad asking for his release on humanitarian grounds. I think that if a delegation of religious leaders would go to Syria, we may be able to get them to turn them loose.” While an embarrassed White House had admitted that the U.S. envoy had been ordered not to bring up Goodman’s imprisonment on his visit to Syria, Jackson’s initiative was discouraged.

Jackson’s decision to make a personal humanitarian appeal to Assad for Goodman’s release marked his campaign as one that would not follow traditional conventions. Assad agreed to meet with Jackson. On January 3, 1984, Goodman was released into the waiting arms of Jackson. It was clear that Jackson had succeeded where the White House had failed even to try.

Source: The Search for Common Ground, by Charles Henry, p. 99 , Jul 2, 1991

Talk with all 22 nations in the Middle East

Peace in this world: Our present formula for peace in the Middle East is inadequate. It will not work. There are 22 nations in the Middle East. Our nation must be able to talk and act and influence all of them. We must build upon Camp David, and measure human rights by one yard stick. In that region we have too many interests and too few friends.
Source: Address to the Democratic Convention , Jul 17, 1984

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Page last updated: Mar 14, 2014