(CNN) - The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is looking to calm this week's firestorm over remarks termed anti-Semitic by critics, saying Thursday he meant to say "Zionists" instead of "them Jews" when referring to people in Washington who do not want President Obama speaking with him.
"Let me say, like Hillary, I misspoke. Let me just say 'Zionists,'" Wright told SIRIUS radio host Mark Thompson.
Earlier this week, the former Chicago pastor told Virginia newspaper The Daily Press he no longer speaks with Obama - a former congregant of his Trinity United Church - because "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me."
"I'm not talking about all Jews, all people of the Jewish faith, I'm talking about Zionists," Wright said Thursday, adding that his comments were in reference to "historical facts."
"I'm not talking about emotionally charged words or the fact that like Jimmy Carter's book, that because he used the word that Jews use, 'apartheid,' he gets labeled anti-Semitic."
"They can jump on that one phrase if they want to, but they can't undo history and the facts of Jewish historians and Jewish theologians who write about what's going on, who write about the enormous influence that AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) has on our government and on United States policy and the United Nations."
The White House declined to comment on Wright's original remarks this week.