The Royal Mint refused to celebrate children’s author Roald Dahl on a new commemorative coin because of his antisemitic views, internal papers have revealed.
Released under a Freedom of Information request from the Guardian, minutes of a 2014 sub-committee meeting show that the prolific writer’s views on Jews were a step too far for the Royal Mint, despite the Royal Mail having issued a set of Roald Dahl commemorative stamps.
The sub-committee also felt Dahl was “not regarded as an author of the highest reputation” so instead opted for coins commemorating Beatrix Potter and William Shakespeare.
Shortly before he died in 1990, Dahl admitted that he was antisemitic in an interview with The Independent, by which point he had alleged Israeli crimes were being “hushed up” by Jewish-owned newspapers.
After Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, in 1983, he 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.”
Labour MP Wes Streeting said it was “the right decision,” adding: “This isn’t borderline antisemitism. This is classic, undeniable, blatant antisemitism. When it comes to celebrating individuals, these factors ought to be taken into account.”
Board of Deputies’ vice-president Amanda Bowman also praised the decision, saying Dahl “may have been a great children’s writer but he was also a racist and this should be remembered”.