Jewish Journal

Billy Graham and the Jews

by Brad A. Greenberg

June 26, 2009 | 7:44 pm

I mentioned yesterday reaction to a 1973 conversation the Rev. Billy Graham had with President Nixon, in which Graham referred to the “synagogue of Satan.” Over at GetReligion today I offered a bit more analysis and examined “Billy Graham’s Jewish problem.”

When a previous batch of 500 hours of Nixon tapes were released in 2002, Graham was forced to apologize for having told the president that he believed Jews had a “stranglehold” on American media that “has got to be broken or this country’s going down the drain.” Worse yet, he had told Nixon in that 1972 conversation that some of his best friends were Jewish:

“A lot of Jews are great friends of mine. They swarm around me and are friendly to me, because they know that I am friendly to Israel and so forth, but they don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country, and I have no power and no way to handle them.”

This from a fervent supporter of Israel who had been honored by the American Jewish Committee for being responsible for major advancements in Protestant-Jewish relations.

Painful as it is for me to consider the possibility that a hero of my faith harbored sentiments that would endear him to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Graham’s words seem to speak louder than his actions. And though Graham refused to join in calls for Jews to convert, I have to wonder if his “synagogue of Satan” comment was really directed at those Jews who called themselves Jews but had both missed the Messiah and had stopped living like Jews. In short, those same Hollywood Jews who he thought had “stranglehold” on American media.

But really we don’t know. Graham is 90 now and not doing interviews. And what we know about Graham’s true feelings toward Jews is obscured by previous soft interviews, public exhortations and, now, another round of Nixon tapes.

Read the rest here.

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