Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

Toward Tradition: In Defense of Rev. Billy Graham

SEATTLE, WA. - ...Toward tradition today called on the Anti-Defamation League to stop defaming the Rev. Billy Graham. The ADL's national director, Abraham H. Foxman, assailed Graham as a purveyor of "age-old classical anti-Semitic canards," referring to secretly tape-recorded remarks Rev. Graham made to President Nixon 30 years ago. The "canard" in question is that Jewish people are disproportionately represented among Hollywood and other media powerbrokers. Graham spoke to Nixon of a Jewish "stranglehold" on the American media.

Toward Tradition's president, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, commented: "The unfairness of this ADL attack was highlighted by the week's news that the producers of A Beautiful Mind deliberately left out any references to the genuinely anti-Semitic beliefs and comments of their protagonist, mathematician John Nash, amply documented in Sylvia Nasar's biography on which the film is based. Published reports suggest that director Ron Howard did this at least partly because he hoped to garner Academy Award recognition. Given that the Hollywood Establishment indeed includes a considerably greater proportion of people of Jewish ancestry than does the American populace as a whole, Mr. Howard was concerned that the academy would justifiably spurn a film that lionized an anti-Semite. To call that a stranglehold may not be polite, but it is not lie either.

Toward Tradition cannot understand why it is acceptable for Ron Howard to acknowledge this reality, however implicitly; but when Billy Graham did so, long ago and in private, it was somehow different - 'chilling and frightening' in Mr. Foxman's words. Immediately the ADL's statement forced a heartfelt apology from the frail and elderly Rev. Graham, but Mr. Foxman has refused to accept the apology, which he calls 'mealy-mouthed.' Such insults are truly inappropriate. Could it be that these attacks are directed at Billy Graham because he is a conservative evangelical Christian - whereas Ron Howard gets a pass because he is not a Christian in the mold?

Return to News ArchivesBack to Top