Bitter dissension erupted in the Rev. Jesse Jackson's peace campaign today as two American Jews who accompanied the entourage to Israel charged Jackson with exploiting the Middle East conflict to advance his personal ambitions and to court Arab money.
Philip Blazer and Raymond Mallel, Los Angeles-based Jewish activists who helped arrange the trip, disassociated themselves from Jackson's Middle East mission, as the black civil rights leader from Chicago crossed the Jordan River on his way to Amman, Damascus and Beirut.
Blazer tonight called Jackson a "dangerous man" whose allegiances are "less a matter of moral persuasion and more a matter of personal gain."
Blazer said Jackson came to the Middle East because his black movement is in need of money and membership and Jackson felt he could capitalize on the plight of Palestinian refugees to bolster his organization.
Balzer and Mallel said Jackson had demonstrated in his first day here that he "cares not one bit about the Israeli point of view," but that he had shown "preprogrammed rhetoric" only in support of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Jackson described Mallel's and Blazer's allegations today as "pure sabotage" and said the two had "nothing to do" with the black delegation he brought here Monday.
However, on the evening of his arrival, Jackson introduced the two men at a public meeting as members of his delegation, specifically citing his association with Blazer in organizing Jewish and black opposition to the 1978 pro-Nazi demonstration in Skokie, Ill.
Members of Jackson's entourage confirmed that Blazer arranged transportation, accomodations and logistical support for the tour, sending a Los Angeles public relations associate, Hal Sloane, ahead several days earlier as an advance man.
During his three days in Israel, Jackson generated a storm of controversy by suggesting that American blacks could pressure the U.S. government to reduce financial aid to Israel if it fails to recognize the PLO as the legitmate bargaining agent for West Bank and Gaza Strip Arabs. Jackson also charged that Israel is antiblack and was impeding the peace process by refusing to talk with PLO chief Yasser Arafat.
After a visit to the militantly nationalistic West Bank city of Nablus, where he was carried on the shoulder of Palestinians chanting "Jackson and Arafat!" Jackson crossed the Allenby Bridge into Jordan.
During his tour here, Jackson was snubbed by Prime Minister Menachem Begin and every member of Begin's rightist Likud government. As a result, he confined his interviews to maverick Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, leaders of the opposition Labor Party and West Bank Palestinians.
Blazer said Jackson scrapped a detailed itinerary that included visiting a border kibbutz, the strategic Golan Heights and meetings with Jewish refugees from Arab states, and instead adopted a media-oriented tour that reinforced his pro-PLO sentiments.
"Rev. Jackson's constituency is the media. He is one of the most successful media manipulators in the world," Blazer said.
When asked why he came on a trip if he suspected Jackson's intentions in advance, Blazer said, "I felt, maybe, if I went I could do some good."
He said his first moment of concern came on the flight from New York to Tel Aviv, when, he said, Jackson said, "I'm sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust and having America being put in the position of a guilt trip. We have to get on with the issues of today and not talk about the holocaust."
One of Jackson's stops today was the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, where he said such genocide should "not be allowed to happen to anyone, including the Palestinians."
During his Nablus tour, where he met with City Council officials, Jackson said that a Palestinian state would be assured only when terrorism ceased and the OPEC oil-producing states began to apply pressure on the United States.
Jackson and his group are scheduled to meet with Syrian President Hafez Assad in Damascus and Arafat in Beirut. The group will then fly to Cairo for a meeting with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.