Rolling Out

Andrew Young, 91, still wants to see this happen in his lifetime

The Ambassador says he’s worked on this conflict his entire career

At the 2023 HOPE Global Forums in Atlanta, when Ambassador Andrew Young was asked to give his final statement, he gave a 5-minute response about the Palestine-Israel conflict.

After the panel, rolling out caught up with Young and asked him one question:

What do you think is the Black community’s responsibility in the Palestine and Israel conflict?

The Black community’s responsibility is to stand up for justice.

I never went on a civil rights demonstration when they were not representatives of the Jewish community. Martin Luther King was working on this before he died. We were going to take a group to Israel and Palestine, and he was trying to get them together. Now, even before Martin Luther King in 1964-65, Ralph Bunche started creating two states in 1948 and he won the Nobel Peace Prize. So we’ve been in this a long time.

All my days in the Civil Rights Movement, I’ve never been in a march, I’ve never been in an election, I’ve never had anything to do when I haven’t had strong support from our Jewish brothers. I grew up as much on the Old Testament as I did on the New Testament, so I don’t think we can divide this ethnically. I think we have to be for peace. You can argue about who started it, but it started with a massacre of people at a peace conference in Israel. And I think 1400 people were killed because they were just slaughtered at like a rock concert.

That’s what started the war this time, but it’s been going on. It’s been going on since Europe. I’m 90 years old, now 91, and I read about Anne Frank when I was in high school. I grew up in a neighborhood where a lot of my father’s business friends were Jewish, but the Nazi Party was around the corner from my house, flying swastikas. I’ve been struggling with this and dealing with it since I was about four years old. I would like to see it put back together in my lifetime. I don’t know whether that’ll happen, but if Jimmy Carter had been reelected President for another term, you see, he got Israel and Egypt together, and they made an agreement. No Egyptian has been killed by an Israeli in 60 years, and no Israeli has been killed by an Egyptian. So, peace conferences do work.

We have always been on the side of peace, and I’ve always had as many Jewish friends as I’ve had Palestinian friends. We can’t discriminate because we’ve been discriminated against too much, but we can be for peace. We can be for prosperity, and we can be for letting children have a good, strong, peaceful life.

That’s what gets the world upset now. It’s not Israeli children or Palestinian children; all children are catching hell right now, and it doesn’t need to be that way. That’s what good government has got to find a way to do, and I hope we can do it in my lifetime. I ain’t got all that long.

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