Jewish chair of Penguin Random House declines to comment on antisemitism row over one of its authors

The publisher brought out an English translation that cut references to the Rothschilds which had been present in the original


The Jewish chair of Penguin Random House UK has declined to comment on allegations the company has published an antisemitic book.

It emerged last week that the English translation of How They Rule The World by Pedro Baños, a Spanish military officer, omits large chunks of the original text, including references to the Rothschilds and their supposed power.

It triggered a huge row that prompted the publisher to order an independent inquiry by Rabbi Julia Neuberger.

But Baroness Gail Rebuck, who took on her non-executive role at the publishers since 2013 after 22 years as chief executive, declined to comment when approached by the JC through a company spokesperson.

Speaking on Monday's BBC Radio Four's Today programme, Rabbi Neuberger said the English translation had "no case to answer".

But, emphasising she could not speak Spanish herself, Rabbi Neuberger said there were "questions to be asked" about the edits and said the author's reputation for "making one or two comments" should be probed.

She said it would "push it over the line" if it emerged Baños was "known to have made lots of allusions to some kind of Jewish conspiracy".

Rabbi Neuberger disputed claims the use of tentacles on the front cover was antisemitic, saying: "I really don't think that's fair... Some of the people making the accusations need to say to themselves, 'now come on get a life'.

"But, and it's an important but... in the translation and the editing, 30,000 words have been taken out... There are quite a few references to the Rothschild family that betrays a certain fascination with them... It's not antisemitic in itself but it hints at stuff about Jewish conspiracies, powerful, half-hidden, secretive, Jewish men, bankers...

"There are possible allusions to some kind of Jewish conspiracy... He's certainly fascinated by Jews and he likes conspiracy theory."

Referring to the infamous Tsarist forgery, she said: "As a publisher, I would be saying 'hang on a minute, if it is a Protocols of the Elders of Zion conspiracy thing, this is antisemitic, I'm not publishing it'. That is where I think the line is."

Asked if she thought there should be "sanctions", she said: "Not I think if it's this kind of allusion stuff, no. I think if it's openly 'the Protocols of the Elders Zion were right', when we know it's a fake, then yes."

Speaking after Rabbi Neuberger was asked to do her review, Penguin Random House UK chief executive Tom Weldon said: "This external review is an unusual step, which is a mark of how seriously we view the complaints made and the complexity and sensitivity of the issues involved.

"We will give full consideration to the review, and any conclusions and recommendations it makes, within the context of our long-held commitment to publish responsibly across a spectrum of opinion and a diversity of voices.”

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