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Blatant antisemitism in a Sunday Times column

July 30, 2017 by norman lebrecht

30 comments.


The Sunday Times has taken down the online version of Kevin Myers’ column today.

In it, Myers writes: ‘I note that two of the best-paid women presenters in the BBC – Claudia Winkelman and Vanessa Feltz, with whose, no doubt sterling work I am tragically unacquainted – are Jews. Good for them. Jews are not generally noted for their insistence at selling their talent for the lowest possible price…’

This is a breathtaking act of racial stigmatisation, one of the worst we have seen in a British broadsheet in decades.

UPDATE: The editors of both the Irish and the UK editions of the paper have apologised. It’s still unclear why this smear was ever passed for publication.

UPDATE: Myers has been sacked.


Comments (30)

  1. Cynical Bystander says:

    One can only hope the Sunday Times are held to account for this vile piece of hate speak. I assume that should it be in the newsprint version there will be a suitable Der Stürmer like caricature!

    1. Cynical Bystander says:

      According to the ‘Observer’ Myers is a Holocaust Denier. How and why has he been given the opportunity to write this by the Sunday Times. They are now publishing regrets but seemingly only because they have provoked justifiable outrage.

  2. Vita Fugax says:

    Kevin Myers is not, and never has been, Editor of the Irish Times.

    1. Alex Davies says:

      Did anyone claim that he was?

    2. Una says:

      Who said he was? The paper involved is the Sunday Times in Ireland, like we get the Irish Times in England, different to that published in Ireland!

  3. SM says:

    If this is a sign of the times, from a venerable newspaper (its predecessor publication was founded 196 years ago, apparently), it is cause for yet more deep concern. How can the Sunday Times even have contemplated publishing this rank, offensive garbage? That would be bad enough. But to be cleared for publication? How low can we sink? Profoundly concerning. And utterly nauseating.

    1. Olassus says:

      … disturbing.

      A disturbing story concerning bigotry.

      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/concerning

    2. V. Lind says:

      I don’t see The Times these days because it is behind a total paywall. And I am not aware of Times editorial practices. But I am aware of those in many other reputable papers. Columnists and some bloggers are not edited at all, as long as they fit their material to the available space (in print — it rarely matters online). So odds are nobody saw this piece or edited it. Less and less editing is done, and mostly on reporting to check accuracy of facts.

      It seems unlikely that his views would not be known, but presumably you can’t fire a man for his thoughts if he does not promulgate them in the workplace or, in this profession, in the fora provided to the employees.

      It seems to me the paper has acted swiftly and definitively to make amends for a very nasty blot on its landscape.

    3. Una says:

      But if they were Irish and Catholic it’d have been a different story. I love the Jews. They were all my neighbours in East London and family-minded.

  4. John says:

    Why is this on SlippedDisc? What relevance does it have to classical music?

    1. Monty says:

      Good point well made John….I didnt realise that this was a platform for religious discussion!

      Here goes, I am an underpaid Christian and my brother is an unemployed Muslim!

    2. Cynical Bystander says:

      This is Mr Lebrecht’s blog. He is entitled to put on it whatever he cares whether we agree or not. At the time he posted it no other medium had picked it up so views that are by any measure totally repellent might not have been given wider circulation. Others here have commented that the Times is behind a paywall so if he had not raised it many of us would maybe not have been aware of it. Whether it is has anything to do with classical music is hardly the issue.

    3. Laurie says:

      if you don’t like his blog, why not stop reading it?

      1. Cyril Blair says:

        Where did John say he didn’t like the blog? Surely people are allowed to take issue with some of Mr. Lebrecht’s opinions or his posts and continue to read.

    4. Cyril Blair says:

      In reply to John, it can be considered a follow-up to NL’s July 24 post about BBC presenters’ salaries. The BBC regularly gets coverage from NL.

    5. Helene Kamioner says:

      As this is NOT a platform exclusively for “MUSIC”, but a forum concerning MUSIC, I take Mr. Lebrecht’s inclusion of this item as a warning which should concern all of us with the history and background of what occurred not so long ago or far away in music. I am afraid this is just the beginning, and if WE allow it to go unnoticed, we become guilty bystanders to impending doom. It’s a matter of communal humanity in music and those interested and involved.

      1. John Borstlap says:

        Agreed. Not so long ago we had this at times nasty discussion about Jews in (or not) in Meistersinger.

        http://slippedisc.com/2017/07/bayreuths-meistersinger-its-a-jewish-problem/

        And what were ‘the Jews’ some 80 years ago, may be ‘the Muslems’ in the future, or ‘the red-haired’, or ‘the elitists’, or ‘classical music lovers’, or the minority reading books.

    6. Una says:

      Exactly, nothing to.do.with classical music. Sadly we are not allowed to say anything …

  5. Ernest says:

    Rubbish! This has absolutely nothing to do with Classical music and irrespective of its nature should not be given discussion on a music forum.

  6. Boycott Murdoch Rags says:

    The fault is the Editor of the online edition of the Sunday Times for allowing it published online, the paper versions do not have it. This is a disadvantage of e-publishing, once a mistake get out you are done for. One would have thought they might have shown it to their gatekeepers!

  7. Richard Wagner says:

    This is outrageous antisemitism. But for some reason I am not surprised. While we all try to deny it because of our admiration of British culture and sense of humour, antisemitism contaminates large parts of the British society as can be seen even in the BBC coverage of Israel.

    1. Olassus says:

      The first I ever heard of anti-Semitism in the UK was three years ago when problems within the Labour Party became public.

      Where is the evidence for your big claim?

      Go fix Tannhäuser.

    2. Nik says:

      The BBC is quite shockingly tolerant of anti-Semitic bias in its reporting, and not just in relation to the Middle East.
      The conduct of their reporter Tim Willcox live on air after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris was disgusting. The BBC investigated itself and concluded it was just clumsy, oops, nothing to see here. For the rest of us it provided a pretty clear insight into the twisted way these people think.

  8. David McK. says:

    I am no fan of Kevin Myers. I disagree with many of his opinions, and found the views he expressed about women in his Sunday Times article to be crass, crude and offensive. However, I have to say that I think it is unfair and a distortion of the truth to paint him as some sort of rabid anti-Semite. In fact, he has played an honourable role over many years in exposing the presence of genuine anti-Semitism in Irish society. Myers was one of the first to criticise the decision of the Irish State to honour the novelist Francis Stuart as an outstanding Irish artist. He drew attention to Stuart’s role as an apologist for Nazi Germany during the war, and exposed Stuart’s record of expressing virulent anti-Semitic sentiments. Stuart sued the Irish Times for publishing Myers’ description of him as a collaborator with “the most bestial regime in human history”. The Irish Times backed down, paid damages and issued an abject and grovelling apology. A few years later new evidence emerged that established beyond doubt that Stuart had fully supported the Nazis’ murderous regime, and had expressed explicitly anti-Semitic views. Myers also played a central role in drawing public attention to the consistent support that the IRA had given to the Nazi regime from the mid-1930s. This support included seeking aid from the Nazis in their attempts to sabotage the Allied war effort. The IRA also produced a large quantity of vicious anti-Semitic propaganda in which Jews were habitually referred to as “vermin”. Myers showed considerable personal courage in writing about this shameful history since the current IRA do not take kindly to being reminded of the reality of their past . In other words, this is a more complex situation than the reaction to his most recent column seems to allow.

  9. John Borstlap says:

    It is amazing that such people are still around and even write in newspapers.

  10. matteo says:

    “B L A T A N T A N T I S E M I T I S M ! ! ! !”

    Really.
    But what does the man say?
    He says that Jewish people are well payed.
    Is it so offensive, given that they are the most successful and wealthiest ethnic group in America (and probably in Britain)? How can this simple truth become “a breathtaking act of racial stigmatisation (sic.), one of the worst we have seen in a British broadsheet in decades”?
    You can mock the PM, the Queen, the Pope, even God. But you cannot mock the Jews. Because that’s “antisemitism”.
    Result: the article has been censored, Myers has been fired, his life and career has been destroyed and the UK editions have apogized.
    But that’s not enough for Norman Lebrecht, since “it’s still unclear why this smear was ever passed for publication”. Is he maybe asking for the layoff of the entire newsroom?

    PS: also note the very nice mugshot-like photo.

  11. DAVID MCK says:

    In the context of my previous email, I think it only fair to draw attention to the statement that was issued yesterday by the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland. No doubt to the surprise of some of those who seemed so keen to rush to judgement – such as Vanessa Feltz – the Council has moved to defend Kevin Myers, saying that branding him “as either an anti-Semite or a Holocaust denier is an absolute distortion of the facts”. In its statement, Ireland’s Jewish Council also paid tribute to Myers’ record, saying that “more than any other Irish journalist” Mr Myers had “written columns about the details of the Holocaust over the last three decades”. The Council believed that Myers had “inadvertently stumbled into an anti-Semitic trope”. In other words, Irish Jews seem to have been more open-minded (and perhaps better-informed) than some of those self-righteous critics – such as JK Rowling – who could not wait to condemn Myers.

  12. M2N2K says:

    Stereotyping may be dumb and lazy, but saying that certain people have self-respect, know their worth, and do not sell themselves cheaply, sounds to me like a compliment – not an insult. Therefore I consider his statement to be probably unwise but certainly not hateful.

  13. James says:

    Blatant Antisemitism! screams the tired old headline.
    Do us the favor and knock it off. Imagine if the two ha ha victimised ladies were not
    jewish…whatever that means these days….but Scots.
    Charges of parsimoniousness, avarice, tightfistedness, driving a hard bargain would hardly produce wailing north of the Border where such a reputation can be a matter of traditional pride. Ask me late Scots grandparents.
    What of Sikhs and Chinese, with their acknowledged gifts as keen businessmen? Do they play the victimisation card when one spells it out? Lordy, no. Tis all rather fishy, I think.
    Once upon a time, an antisemite was one who didnt like Jews. Nowadays, it seems more intended for those whom certain Jews and ha ha philosemites dont like.


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