CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BP)–Evangelist Franklin Graham said his father’s conversations about Jews that were recorded at the White House were taken out of context.
Evangelist Billy Graham’s comments were not directed at all Jews but at a small media elite who controlled “the major outlets at that time,” Franklin Graham said in an interview with The Charlotte Observer published April 2.
“The issue has never been Jewish people,” Graham told The Observer. “His concern was liberalism in that time in the media. And it’s changed.”
The tapes were recorded in 1972 by a secret recording system installed in the White House by former President Richard Nixon. The tapes, released in March, included Graham’s concerns about alleged Jewish domination of the media.
“This stranglehold has got to be broken or this country’s going down the drain,” Billy Graham says, agreeing with Nixon’s own comments earlier in the conversation.
Franklin Graham, his father’s chosen successor, said his father’s comments were taken out of context. He said many other people have had private conversations they wouldn’t want to be made public.
“Anytime you have a private conversation with anybody and it’s taped and released, your confidence has been broken,” he told the newspaper.
When Nixon raises the subject of Jewish influence in Hollywood and the media later in the conversation, Billy Graham responds, “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,” Graham says. “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.”
Nixon then counsels: “You must not let them know.”
In two separate apologies, the elder Graham, now 83, said he should have disagreed with Nixon’s remarks about Jews. He asked the Jewish community “to reflect on my actions on behalf of Jews over the years that contradict my words in the Oval Office that day.”