British columnist fired over anti-Semitic column

Columnist for Sunday Times fired for column in which he made anti-Semitic references.

Ben Ariel and JTA ,

Newspapers (illustration)
Newspapers (illustration)

A columnist for the London-based Sunday Times was fired for a column in which he made anti-Semitic references, JTA reported.

The newspaper had removed the column over the BBC’s gender pay gap by Kevin Myers, a columnist for the Ireland edition, and apologized, calling it “unacceptable”, according to the Jewish news agency.

Myers had noted that two of the BBC’s best-paid female presenters, Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, are Jewish.

“Good for them. Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price, which is the most useful measure there is of inveterate, lost-with-all-hands stupidity,” he wrote.

The column appeared in the newspaper’s Irish edition and online. An apology will be printed in the print edition next Sunday, according to the BBC.

Martin Ivens, editor of The Sunday Times, said the comments were unacceptable and should not have been published.

“It has been taken down and we sincerely apologize, both for the remarks and the error of judgment that led to publication,” he said in the apology posted on the Sunday Times website.

Ivens also apologized personally to Winkleman and Feltz for unacceptable references both to Jewish people and to women.

“As the editor of the Ireland edition I take full responsibility for this error of judgment. This newspaper abhors anti-Semitism and did not intend to cause offense to Jewish people,” Frank Fitzgibbon, editor of The Sunday Times Ireland, said in the printed apology.

Myers has written many controversial columns including one in which he denied the scope of the Holocaust, noted JTA.

Last week, the Community Security Trust (CST) published a report which found that 767 anti-Semitic attacks were recorded in the United Kingdom in the first half of 2017, the highest figure recorded within six months since monitoring began in 1984.

This past February, the CST released data showing that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain rose by more than a third to record levels in 2016.

Last December, British Interior Minister Amber Rudd promised funds totaling $17 million towards the protection of Jewish synagogues, schools, kindergartens, and museums.