Anti-Semitism doesn’t pay
Children’s author Roald Dahl rejected for coin image because of his unsavoury views
By Charles Gardner
Previously published December 2018-January 2019
Proof, if it were needed, that it doesn’t pay to be anti-Semitic has come with the rejection of Roald Dahl’s image for British coins.
The Royal Mint, responsible for such decisions, has ruled him out for his virulent anti-Semitism, which should be taken as some consolation at a time when British society is rife with anti-Jewish sentiment – even a Kristallnacht 80th anniversary vigil at Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner was broken up by men shouting “Kill the Jews” in Arabic.1
Dahl’s views on the subject were apparently not widely known in spite of the fact that the immensely successful children’s author made no secret of it.
But as Tony Rennell put it in the Daily Mail 2, his dark side was brought to light with the Royal Mint’s decision against honouring his achievements by dedicating a British coin to him – the honour going instead to one William Shakespeare “whose caricature of a Jew (Shylock) in The Merchant of Venice fed anti-Semitism for centuries.”
I think that’s a little unfair as the Bard did not make a habit of such sentiment.
Dahl, on the other hand, was quoted in the Independent newspaper as saying: “I’m certainly anti-Israel and I’ve become anti-Semitic.” 3 And he told the New Statesman: “Even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them (the Jews) for no reason.”
Rennell lists several other nauseous instances of Dahl’s anti-Semitism that might have had him arrested today (he died in 1990, aged 74). And while acknowledging that he remains one of the greatest children’s storytellers of the 20th century, he suggests that the dark side to many of his tales is a fair commentary on his life, with much evidence of cruelty and unpleasantness.
Yet not even Jewish Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, when he shot the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) film, had any idea of his rank anti-Semitism.
What really bothers me is that there is so much that is dark and gloomy in today’s literature, especially for children, as well as in TV drama. In fact, it’s an absolute obsession, reflected by the way in which Halloween is rapidly challenging Christmas for our kids’ attention as an increasing number of homes are decorated with various aspects of occult paraphernalia.
There is surely an urgency as never before to point our children to the “light of the world” (John 8.12).
Dahl’s rejection for our coins reminds me of how America’s famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh, fell spectacularly from hero and zero as soon as his Nazi sympathies were made public on a national radio broadcast.4
He ended his life in relative obscurity and even a star-studded movie about his magnificent flying exploits was a flop at the box office.
In other words, he brought a curse on himself. For the Word of God says of Abraham’s seed: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.” (Gen 12.3)
Whatever anyone may think of the Jewish people, the Bible tells us quite plainly that they are God’s chosen people, with several references to them being his “treasured possession” (see, for example, Deut 7.6).
Anti-Semitism is thus the rotten fruit at the end of the dark road of rebellion against our Creator. Hitler went all the way down that path, and not only destroyed himself, but also brought his country down with him, along with much of Europe.
A massive battle for the soul of our nation continues today – between good and evil, light and darkness, God and the devil.
Jesus warned: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7.13f)