The editor of The Sunday Times, Martin Ivens, apologized to a British Jewish community leader in a phone call after an opinion column sparked accusations of antisemitism and a horrified backlash from readers.
The column by Irish journalist Kevin Myers implied that two of the BBC’s female presenters earned high salaries due to their Jewish heritage.
The newspaper deleted the column from the site, issued an apology and fired the writer, following the wave of outrage which it caused.
During a phone call on Sunday night, Jewish Leadership Council chairman Jonathan Goldstein arranged to meet Ivens in September in order to “discuss how this article managed to get through the editorial process.”
“I am grateful for the swift initial steps taken by Mr. Ivens. However, given the record-breaking rise in antisemitic incidents reported by CST [Community Security Trust] and antisemitism’s unfortunate prominence in our national discourse over recent months, it is the editorial process that remains a concern,” Goldstein said, referring to a report released by the antisemitism watchdog CST group last week.
“I look forward to meeting Mr. Ivens to discuss how such incidents can be avoided in the future,” he added.
The offending article was originally published online and in the Irish print edition of the weekly paper. The Sunday Times is one of the UK’s largest-selling newspapers.
“I note that two of the best paid women presenters in the BBC – Claudia Winkelman and Vanessa Feltz… are Jewish,” Myers wrote. “Good for them. Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price.”
This is far from Myer’s first foray into offensive – and antisemitic – viewpoints. In 2009 he published a column in The Independent titled “There was no Holocaust,” in which he claimed as “irrefutable truth” that six million Jews were not killed by the Nazis.
That article remained online for more than eight years until The Independent finally pulled it on Sunday, noting that it “does not comply with our editorial ethos.”
Amy Spiro contributed to this report.