1967 Statement on Palestine
What is considered SNCC’s Palestine Statement is actually an article published in the June-July 1967 SNCC Newsletter, shortly after the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, under the title, “Third World Round Up: The Palestine Problem: Test Your Knowledge.” It was written by Ethel Minor, who was communications director at the time, and her primary source was a pamphlet published by the Palestine Research Center, called “Do You Know? Twenty Basic Facts about the Palestine Problem.” The article included illustrations by artist, Kofi Bailey.
Historian Clayborne Carson writes about the release of the statement:
“Although the press portrayed this article as an official SNCC policy statement, it was actually written to provoke discussion of the Middle East conflict by SNCC’s staff and was distributed outside of the organization without the approval of many of SNCC’s leaders.”
James Forman, who had become the director of SNCC’s newly-formed International Affairs Commission in June 1967, had apparently urged against taking a formal stand until SNCC could call a special staff meeting where staff could be educated about the issue. He was abroad when the article was published. After its release, John Wilson, who was then administrator of SNCC’s National Office, called a press conference to announce that the article did not represent SNCC’s official position. Soon after, other staffers called a press conference in Atlanta to release the article.
SNCC released a more formal statement in response on August 15, 1967, entitled “The Middle-East Crisis.” It incorporates many of the points that were made in the June-July article, but within an added context that acknowledged the horrors of the Holocaust, the suppression of American Jewish voices that protested Zionism, and the critical support given to Zionism by the United States.
Clayborne Carson, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981), 266-269.