D.C.Mayor Marion Barry, in remarks taped for overseas audiences, predicted yesterday that the current rift between American blacks and Jews over the resignation of Andrew Young would heal once the Palestine controversy abates.
Barry said Young's forthcoming departure from his United Nations ambassadorship "may turn out for the best . . . be a blessing in disguise" because it will push Young to the forefront of national black leadership.
The mayor also struck back at critics of his recent 19-day trip to Africa, saying the trip helped strengthen American ties with African leaders and create support in this country for African interests.
The session, at which Barry taped two "Press Conference USA" programs for the International Communication Agency, marked the first time Barry has spoken publicly at length about the Young resignation.
ICA's Voice of America made audio tapes of the session and ICA's television unit made video tapes. The expectation was that the tapes would be broadcast abroad, but it was not immediately known last night how extensively the video tape in particular would be distributed. One ICA official said the agency, which sponsored the mayor's trip to Africa, was primarily interested in discussion of African matters.
Barry was one of six black mayors Young spoke with by telephone after his resignation under fire was announced on Aug. 15.
Blacks and Jews were allies in the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s, Barry recalled.
"I don't think this [current rift] is going to be long lasting," Barry declared, saying the mutual pattern of oppression of the two groups is too strong for them "not to be natural allies."
"They both have too much to lose," Barry said. "The enemy is larger than both of us."
Barry said he agreed with black leaders, who met this week with both Palestine Liberation Organization and Israeli leaders, that peace in the Middle East hinges on both sides talking to each other.
The blacks who met with both sides are not trying to "develop a black foreign policy . . . rather, they are working toward an American foreign policy" in which blacks rightfully should have a voice, the mayor declared.
It is ironic, Barry said, that the black involvement in the Palestinian issue arose because of Young's departure, and not out of a basic interest in the issue itself. "A lot of blacks . . . didn't know what PLO stood for," he said.
The mayor said President Carter may have lost some current support from blacks that would have translated into lost votes "if the [presidential] election were held today . . . but it's next year."
Asked whether he might support a Republican challenger to Carter, Barry replied: "I'm a Democrat, and I haven't found any Republican who suits my fancy."
Reminded that there was publicity about shortcomings in his summer youth employment program while he was in Africa, Barry said his trip "couldn't have come at a better time."
The city, he said now has staff officials capable of running things well. "The public has more confidence in the city government than ever before," he said.
His trip is "gong to pay off in the long run," Barry said. "People are beginning to focus on Africa as an entity . . . not as the Dark Continent . . . Andy Young is going to keep us focused."
But, Barry stressed, "my priority is Washington, D.C."
There was little specific discussion of Washington civic matters on either program. Answering one question, Barry predicted that crime would rise in the city if the recession deepens, throwing more people out of work.
One of Barry's interviewers was Diane Johnson, of the Voice of America's Africa division, who told Barry she attended Washington public schools when Barry was president of the school board in the early 1970s.