BBC news host suggests antisemitism isn’t as bad as other forms of racism

"He should have phrased his question better."

By MARCY OSTER/JTA
March 16, 2019 08:45
1 minute read.
Police officers protect the entrance to the BBC building

Police officers protect the entrance to the BBC building. (photo credit: STEFAN WERMUTH/REUTERS)

 
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The host of a BBC news program suggested that antisemitism isn’t as bad as other forms of racism.

Justin Webb, host of Radio Four’s “Today” program, later apologized for his remarks on Tuesday during an interview with American pollster John Zogby about the controversy over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s tweets and statements about the pro-Israel lobby in the United States.



A BBC spokesperson told the London-based Jewish Chronicle that Webb acknowledged that he “should have phrased his question better.”



“He intended to highlight a growing trend among U.S. Democrats of suggesting that antisemitism is not comparable with other forms of racism. He was certainly not expressing any personal view,” the spokesperson said, according to the Jewish Chronicle.



Webb asked Zogby: “If the party decided to say to its supporters, ‘look we think that antisemitism is a bit like the way some of our people might regard anti-white racism, that actually it’s a different order of racism. It’s not as important — it’s still bad — but it’s not as important as some other forms of racism. … What impact do you think that might have?”



Webb was called out on Twitter by the British comedian David Baddiel, and the two continued the conversation in a thread in which Webb apologized “if I phrased in a manner that made it seem positive.”

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