Some of the Jewish contributors who have long provided major backing for the NAACP, the Urban League and the political campaigns of D.C. Del. Walter E. Fauntroy are sending word that blacks should no longer look to them for financial support.
The offices of Fauntroy and the two black organizations began receiving phone calls late last week from a number of longtime Jewish allies in the civil rights struggle, angrily declaring there would be no more financial contributions in the future.
The anger of many of the Jewish contributors centered, sources said, on the meeting that Fauntroy and the Southern Christian Leadership conference held last week with the Palestine Liberation Organization in the wake of the resignation of United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young.
Others expressed unhappiness over the implied criticism of Jewish organizations by a broad coalition of black groups that rallied in Young's support last week in New York.
"We've been receiving lots of angry calls from people who said they were going to stop contributing now," a source close to the NAACP said. Persons familiar with the Urban League said it also was receiving calls cutting off contributions.
"I've gotten some calls at the office while I was away, and I got the impression from my staff that they were not very nice," Fauntroy said. "Some of them indicated that they would give no more money for campaigns."
Fauntroy and the other black sources declined to identify their callers by name.
Meanwhile, leaders of several major American Jewish organizations said last night that neither their groups nor any other Jewish groups with which they were familiar had proposed or encouraged any halt to contributions.
Hyman Bookbinder, Washington representative of the American Jewish Committee, said that while some individual Jews might conceivably have decided to withhold donations, "I do not know of any instances in which Jewish organizations have encouraged this." Instead, he said, many leaders have asserted that any such practice should be discouraged.
"The organized Jewish community does not want this (any withholding of funds ) to happen," he said.
Fauntroy said the angry calls apparently resulted from misunderstandings about his positions and that he intended to meet soon with local Jewish leaders. Vernon Jordan, the head of the Urban League, and Benjamin Hooks, executive secretary of the NAACP, have also made plans for healing meetings with the leaders of national Jewish organizations.
Other blacks who appeared in New York last week in defense of Young were less disturbed, and raised the possibility of black groups' receiving future financial support from Arabs.
"It would be unwise for the Jewish community to cut off funds to civil rights groups," said one key adviser and strategist for the major black civil rights organizations. "To create such a vacuum would open the way for other kinds of money."
Young's resignation -- universally viewed among black leaders as having been forced by the Israelis -- set off a firestorm of anger and criticism and in the end, brought together the sometimes feuding leaders of virtually every major black organization in the country in an extraordinary display of support for Young.
Attending the New York meeting were not only the NAACP, Urban League and other long-established civil rights groups but also representatives of black clergy, black social groups, black professional associations, even the black division of the Elks. Many described the meeting as the most broad-based gathering of black organizations since the celebrated March on Washington in 1963.
"The resignation was seen by the black community as a threat to black leadership," said Franklin Williams, former U.S. ambassador to Ghana, who joined in the protest. "It was seen as a threat to black participation in international affairs with the implication that blacks were not qualified to participate in that arena, and as an attack on a respected leader and friend whose accomplishments in civil rights were well respected in the black community."
After meetings of Fauntroy and the SCLC with the PLO observer and the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, the black leaders issued a carefully negotiated statement that one participant, noted black psychologist Kenneth Clark, described as a "declaration of independence".
The statement was critical of their traditional allies in Jewish organizations for stands they had taken on affirmative action and other recent discrimination cases.
And it declared forcefully that black leaders in the future no longer would restrict their activity to domestic issues but would become increasingly involved in an independent manner in major foreign policy concerns.
"We summarily reject the implication that anyone other than blacks themselves can determine their proper role in helping to shape and mold American foreign policies which directly affect their lives," said Gary, Ind., Mayor Richard Hatcher, reading the position paper of the group of black leaders who met in New York.
"The standard of living for the average black person is so inextricably connected with international affairs," said one participant, Dr. Ron Walters, a professor of political science at Howard University. "The black man frustrated and standing in long lines at the gas pumps understood what was happening in Iran."
"What is at stake for blacks is their communal soul," said Frank Hercules, author of several books on political thought, American society and black revolution.
"If they fail in taking independent actions in the interest of the black community, they fail themselves, fail the black community as a whole and they will have deserved the scorn and contempt of posterity down through the ages," Hercules said.
Young, who was presiding over the U.N. Security Council in his final week as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, kept his distance from the group that rallied in his support in New York last week, never attending any of the public events or the major closed-door strategy sessions.
Fauntroy said, however, that he had frequent conversations with Young, but that "Andy did not direct us in any. But we know Andy and we understood his concerns."
One source close to Young insisted that he played no active role in the SCLC meeting with the PLO. Though Young "generally approved of the results" of that meeting, the source said, he would have handled the session differently had he taken an active role.
"Andy did have a moderating influence," the source said. "He helped refocus the anger from people defending him to discussing the issue of the PLO and the Israelis."
The danger of losing Jewish support concerned many of the established black civil rights organizations. They pressed in stategy sessions for moderate language in the group's statements, hoping to mute the anger from the Jewish community that many saw coming.
In position papers, and in closed-door discussions, moderate black leaders cited noteworthy contributions that Jews, along with organized labor and white liberals, have made to civil rights, but they cited strains on traditional bonds with Jews.
In a draft of their statement they said that Jews had been allies of civil rights groups when it is in their perceived interest to do so." At the urging of the Urban League's Jordan a softening clause was added so that the final statement asserted that Jews had been allies "when it is in their perceived interest to do so, as do we ."
Others said they could understand, but still disagree, with the position Jewish organizations have taken on affirmative action or quotas. The Bakke case posed the problem. Jews saw in the principle of setting numerical quotas for one group a re-emergence of the old "gentlemen's agreement" system that had been used to keep Jews out. The black leaders said they looked upon special programs for minorities as affirmative action to overcome the legacy left from the days of legal segregation.
"It's ironic that the Jews were chosen [to lash out at] when Jews are better than other whites on issues affecting blacks," one established East Coast civil rights leader said after the meeting. "Blacks are angrier at Jews because we've been so close."
That person noted that even though black organizations and Jewish groups had battled in recent years over affirmative action and the Bakke reverse discrimination case, they had at the same time, teamed up to fight for the Humphrey-Hawkins full-employment bill in Congress and against proposals for a constitutional amendment prohibiting school busing.
Others were less concerned. "What are the Jews angry about?' asked one strategist who helped draft the statements. "What we declared was we were men."
"The tensions between Jews and blacks have been simmering for years," the Rev. Jesse Jackson of Operation PUSH later told a reporter. "There have been a lot of confrontations between blacks and Jewish landlords, blacks and Jewish merchants.
"This is a serious matter," he said. "No one should underestimate the depth of this black-Jewish division, this festering sore. But on the other hand, no one should underestimate the need for reconciliation to heal this wound."
Beyond questions of the future relations of civil rights groups and Jewish organizations, there remain divisions among black leaders themselves.
"I believe that there was an appearance of unity." said longtime civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. "I have very little in unity with the black nationalists that were there.
"What happened, in defense of Andy, was nobody wanted to upset the apple cart, nobody wanted to look like an Uncle Tom or get shouted down." Urstin said. "Furthermore, unity is not in statements. Unity is in action together."
Others disagreed. Walters of Howard University said, "A sense of movement has been created in an area of interest in foreign affairs. . . with a potential for galvanizing leadership in some of the other domestic areas."
Eddie Williams, head of the Joint Center for Political Studies, said he hopes the black leaders who gathered in New York could participate in a national voter registration campaign for blacks. Jackson, of Operation PUSH, hopes the momentum created in New York will help launch a national jobs program, and Fauntroy hopes to promote his idea for a national black network that would reach voters in black organizations in every city and town in the nation who can be called on to write letters and lobby Congress and the White House on short notice on matters that concern blacks.
In short, no one appeared to know with certainty what the next step might be.
Great social movements in history are not planned in terms of day-to-day or hour-to-hour strategy." Williams said, "They flow. Things occur."
According to staff aides to Young and others close to him, no one yet knows what effect the movement might have on Young's own future.
Sources close to Young have said previously that he intends to continue to speak out on foreign and domestic issues and that he is seeking a base with a foundation or think tank in Atlanta or Washington from which to operate. One thing is clear, they said, and that is Young intends to campaign for President Carter -- an action that baffles some of the black leaders who gathered in New York.
"Among many blacks, there is a strong disaffection with the Carter administration." Walters said. "The charismatic leadership that we had before was not strongly tied to any white leadership. That gave them the freedom to maneuver.
"Black people may look to Young for leadership," he said, "but it will be circumscribed by his support of the president. It's going to prevent Young from leading black people very far."