BBC Host Suggests anti-Semitism Isn’t as Bad as Other Forms of Racism

Radio 4's Justin Webb called out on Twitter after he asked American pollster on how the public would react if told 'anti-white racism is more important than anti-Semitism'

File photo: A man talks on a mobile phone inside the BBC headquarters in London, Britain, November 21, 2008.
Andrew Winning/Reuters

Justin Webb, the host of BBC Radio 4's “Today” program, suggested that anti-Semitism isn’t as bad as other forms of racism.

Webb 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.

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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 anti-Semitism 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 anti-Semitism 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.”