Royal Mint scrapped commemorative coin for Roald Dahl over his antisemitic views

Proposal ditched because he was 'associated' with Jew-hate and not 'of the highest reputation'


The Royal Mint decided not to issue a commemorative coin to mark the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth because of his antisemitic views, it has been revealed.

Minutes of a 2014 subcommittee meeting, obtained by the Guardian, show it decided not to honour the author of beloved children's books including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach, because he was “associated with antisemitism and not regarded as an author of the highest reputation”.

They decided instead to honour William Shakespeare and Beatrix Potter.

In a 1983 interview with the New Statesman, Roald Dahl said: “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews.

"I mean, there’s always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.”

In 1990, he told the Independent: “I’m certainly anti-Israeli and I’ve become antisemitic in as much as that you get a Jewish person in another country like England strongly supporting Zionism.

"I think they should see both sides. It’s the same old thing. We all know about Jews and the rest of it. There aren’t any non-Jewish publishers anywhere. 

"They control the media – jolly clever thing to do – that’s why the president of the United States has to sell all this stuff to Israel.”

Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman said“The Royal Mint was absolutely correct to reject the idea of a commemorative coin for Roald Dahl.

“Many of his utterances were unambiguously antisemitic. He may have been a great children’s writer but he was also a racist and this should be remembered.”

Though Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice has been accused of being antisemitic, some Shakespeare scholars have argued the “hath not a Jew eyes” speech by Shylock, the Jewish moneylender in the play, is evidence of philosemitism.

Beatrix Potter has previously been wrongly accused of antisemitism. The quote - “The strongest impelling motive of the Jewish race is love of profit as distinct from any other form of money earning” – is sometimes attributed to her but was actually written by Beatrice Webb Potter, an English sociologist and Labour reformer, who was one of the founders of the Fabian Society.

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