How Should Jews Remember Rev. Billy Graham?

Currently, the #1 story at The New York Jewish Week is “How Should Jews Remember Rev. Billy Graham?”:

Rev. Graham’s sharing of vile anti-Semitic stereotypes with President Nixon in 1972 did not endear him to Jewish collective memory. In secretly taped telephone conversation, when Nixon complained that Jews controlled the influential New York Times and Washington Post, Rev. Graham responded: “This stranglehold has to be broken, or the country is going to down the drain.” He invokes the pejorative term from Revelations — “synagogue of Satan.” Sure, say some, Rev. Graham apologized — not once but twice — but only because he was caught. His true colors confirm a popular Yiddish aphorism: “Scratch a goy (a non-Jew), uncover an anti-Semite.”…

Well, how about that. I’ve never heard of this ‘popular’ Yiddish aphorism before. I wonder why?

So my advice to my co-religionists who harp on Rev. Graham’s anti-Semitic attitudes as eclipsing all his other characteristics and contributions? Get over it. After all, we Jews did that with others we admired, like Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, who themselves harbored some pretty nasty stereotypes of Jews. Recall FDR dismissing appeals for Jewish refugees as “Jewish wailing” and “sob stuff”; his insistence that immigration should be confined to those who “had blood of the right sort”; and his saying that Jews were “overcrowding” many professions. And what about the sentiment in President Harry Truman’s  diary that “The Jews, I find, are very, very selfish?”

So, both FDR and Truman, in making the sort of common sense heuristic assertions one tends to make upon noticing patterns (e.g., observing Jewish social strategies and in-group behavior) were, like all of us goyim, anti-Semites at heart.

Let’s not forget that popular Yiddish aphorism: “Scratch a goy, uncover an anti-Semite.”

Knowing and remembering that this level of paranoia and persecution-complex is so deeply embedded in their culture helps to explain a lot of things.

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