Was Roald Dahl’s “Anti-Semitism” Based on Experience?

by Peter Rushton

RECENTLY ONE of the world’s best-known children’s writers has been at the centre of controversy over ‘politically correct’ or ‘woke’ censorship of his work.

Roald Dahl died in November 1990 but his work continues to earn vast sums for his family, both from reprints of his books and from film and television adaptations. His publishers Puffin spent three years combing through all of his books with the help of “sensitivity readers” from the risibly named organisation Inclusive Minds, before making extensive amendments to remove what they termed “derogatory language.”

After the Daily Telegraph revealed these changes, there was a very unusual and partly successful reaction against this latest excess of ‘wokeness.’ UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and ex-PM Boris Johnson were in rare agreement in criticising the publisher. Non-White novelist Salman Rushdie tweeted that “Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.” And even Queen Consort Camilla joined in, letting it be known that she was “shocked and dismayed” by the changes to Dahl’s originals.

Puffin eventually backed down – at least in part – allowing Dahl’s originals to remain available, though there can be no doubt that the censored versions will be the ones pushed in schools etc. from now on.

On one level it shouldn’t surprise anyone that books written decades ago contain material that outrages the Politically Correct “standards” of today. But it seems certain that Dahl is being specially targeted because he committed the cardinal sin of “anti-Semitism.” The interesting question is – what were the roots of that “anti-Semitism”?

Dahl first got himself into trouble in the August 1983 edition of Literary Review, a London magazine that was (perhaps significantly) owned and edited by a Palestinian Christian businessman, Naim Attallah. He was reviewing God Cried, a book about the previous year’s Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

The review’s opening paragraph didn’t indicate that it would outrage Jews or upset conventional opinion: On the contrary it conveyed the ‘anti-nazism’ that one would expect from Dahl’s wartime generation:

In June 1941 I happened to be in, of all places, Palestine, flying with the RAF against the Vichy French and the Nazis. Hitler happened to be in Germany and the gas-chambers were being built and the mass slaughter of the Jews was beginning. Our hearts bled for the Jewish men, women and children, and we hated the Germans.

Yet Dahl then abruptly switched to condemnation of Israeli actions, including the recent “mass slaughter” in Lebanon.

Never before in the history of man has a race of people switched rapidly from being much pitied victims to barbarous murderers. Never before has a race of people generated so much sympathy around the world and then, in the space of a lifetime, succeeded in turning that sympathy into hatred and revulsion.

Throughout the review, Dahl implicitly and explicitly compares the Israeli state’s behaviour to that of the Third Reich – and of course it is clear that Dahl’s hatred of the Third Reich was intense.

After various barbed references to the Jewish lobby, Dahl concluded his review thus:

Now is the time for the Jews of the world to follow the example of the Germans and become anti-Israeli. But do they have the conscience? And do they, I wonder, have the guts?

Taken to task by a Jewish writer from the left-wing New Statesman, Dahl (no doubt mischievously) got himself into further trouble by adding:

This I did not dare to say, but 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 Hitler, 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….

One of the many “prestigious” and pro-Israel American journals, The New Republic, quickly condemned Dahl for what it termed the “ugliest piece of anti-Semitism to appear in a respectable setting for a long time.” Israeli television promptly banned Dahl’s popular series of half-hour plays, Tales of the Unexpected.

Yet in a world that is increasingly inclined to kowtow to Jewish demands and end the careers of anyone accused of ‘anti-Semitism,’ Dahl seemed to get off lightly. He certainly didn’t back down, quite the reverse. Just a few months before his death in 1990, he told an interviewer from The Independent:

I am certainly anti-Israel, and I have become anti-Semitic, in as much as you get a Jewish person in another country like England strongly supporting Zionism.

One of the world’s most powerful Jewish censors, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, condemned Dahl as “a blatant and admitted anti-Semite.”

By raising the question of ‘dual loyalty,’ Dahl must have known he would infuriate the Jewish lobby. Later that year, writing to the New York Times a fortnight after Dahl’s death, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League – a man used to ending writers’ careers – denounced the late author as “a blatant and admitted anti-Semite.”

Yet throughout the last seven years of his life Dahl’s books continued to sell, without his being forced to apologise to Jewry, and the money continued to roll in to his estate for another decade, before his heirs quietly published an apology on their Web site, probably as a condition for yet another lucrative film deal.

Even then, the apology (posted at some point late in 2000) made no specific mention of Jews or anti-Semitism. It read:

The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by some of Roald Dahl’s statements. Those prejudiced remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in marked contrast to the man we knew and to the values at the heart of Roald Dahl’s stories, which have positively impacted young people for generations.

Even now, the main criticisms of Dahl are for some of his “racist” or otherwise “insensitive” language, and it is assumed that any problem can be solved by editing such language. Allegations about Dahl’s own views are kept in the background of the controversy.

One reason for this might be that the Zionist lobby fears too close an examination of Dahl’s wartime career, and some of the experiences that might have had a formative influence on his opinion of Jews.

At the outbreak of war in September 1939, Dahl was working in East Africa for the Shell Oil Company, but he quickly resigned so that he could play his part in the war, driving 600 miles across Kenya so that he could volunteer as an RAF pilot. He spent more than six months being trained to fly fighter planes and was then sent in mid-1940 to prepare for a combat role in North Africa, where the RAF were supporting the British Army’s fight against Mussolini’s Italian forces.

Roald Dahl as a young RAF officer, shortly before his transfer to an intelligence and propaganda role in the USA.

Before he could see active service, Dahl crashed the Gladiator biplane in which he was expected to fly himself from the Suez Canal base of Abu Sueir to a base near the front line in the Western Desert. He suffered only minor burns, having escaped from the wreckage before it exploded, but sustained a fractured skull and severe concussion, as well as spinal injuries.

After months of recuperation he was passed fit to resume flying, just in time for two weeks’ fierce fighting against vastly superior German forces who drove the British out of Greece, inflicting heavy losses and taking many British and Commonwealth prisoners.

What was left of Dahl’s 80 Squadron reformed and regrouped in Haifa, fighting German and Vichy French forces in Syria. After three weeks the effects of his previous head injury returned and he was clearly unfit to fly. At the end of June 1941 he was invalided out, and sent back to England.

Following a few months of convalescence, Dahl was summoned to the Air Ministry and told that he was being posted to the USA as part of a diplomatic mission. His orders and papers came through in March 1942 and he sailed to New York, then travelled on to Washington as assistant air attaché at the British Embassy, where his duties began in late April 1942.

Though he was a social success with many Americans, Dahl’s irreverent manner got him into trouble with fellow diplomats and he ended up being warned that further infractions would result in his recall.

It was at this point that Dahl decided an intelligence posting would suit him better than regular diplomacy. British Security Coordination, based at the Rockefeller Center in New York and headed by the mysterious Canadian businessman William Stephenson, seemed his best bet. Though it was a top secret organisation, Dahl had heard rumours about its existence. The precise details of his recruitment are not clear in available archives, but evidently Dahl put out feelers and was recruited.

Roald Dahl’s wartime boss Sir William Stephenson, head of British Security Coordination, seen here (second right) postwar with his wife Lady Stephenson, receiving the Presidential Medal for Merit, presented by William Donovan, head of the CIA’s predecessor the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

It seems likely that Dahl’s social connections in Washington made him seem an especially useful recruit from BSC’s standpoint. He also began his writing career by composing romanticised versions of his earlier adventures as a pilot, in stories that were placed in American newspapers and magazines by the BSC-linked propaganda organisation, British Information Services. Among his senior colleagues at BIS was the left-wing Jew Sidney Bernstein. Despite being viewed with suspicion by MI5 because of his close Communist connections, Bernstein later contributed to some of the first postwar British propaganda about the ‘Holocaust,’ and he eventually became one of the most influential figures in British broadcasting as founder and chairman of Granada Television.

It was Bernstein who introduced Dahl to Walt Disney Studios, leading in April 1943 to his first published book – The Gremlins – and work as a screenwriter. His literary success and developing Hollywood connections led Dahl to make new influential social contacts (useful to BSC) with, among others, the Jewish tycoon and presidential adviser Bernard Baruch and the ‘muckraking’ left-wing columnist Drew Pearson. Together with another new friend and member of Roosevelt’s inner circle, the Italian-American lawyer Ernest Cuneo, Dahl was part of a BSC team that fed gossip to some of America’s most widely-read journalists.

There were several Jews within the BSC / MI6 team in the US: Among the most important was Isaiah Berlin, the young Oxford philosopher whose connections allowed him to go over the head of Britain’s Ambassador (Lord Halifax) to communicate directly with senior officials in London, and on occasion directly with Churchill himself. Berlin’s close connections included another dubious character of Russian-Jewish origin and fellow BSC officer, Alexander Halpern, as well as the Soviet spy Guy Burgess: Berlin’s own complicated loyalties will be investigated further in later articles. Possibly for what would now be called ‘anti-Semitic’ reasons, Dahl disliked Isaiah Berlin, referring to him as “the White Slug”.

Oxford philosopher Isaiah Berlin was among the influential Jews working with Dahl on top secret work in wartime Washington and New York.

Another important Jew recruited to BSC via earlier work at a senior level in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) was Louis Franck, a partner in the leading Jewish banking firm Samuel Montagu. When Franck was sent to the USA to take charge of all subversive activities in North and South America, the ministerial chief of SOE, Hugh Dalton, confided to his diary: “This is an interesting appointment and may succeed. He is a very clever fellow, though I would not trust him far.” (An observation that might have been made about many of the Jews who worked for the secret side of the Allied war effort!)

Long before Dahl’s arrival (and before the Americans entered the war in December 1941) several Jews were employed on secret propaganda work seeking to convince Americans that Germany was their enemy. Among these was the playwright and songwriter Eric Maschwitz (best remembered as author of one of the most popular songs of that era, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square). Maschwitz was in charge of ‘Station M,’ manufacturing forged German documents to bolster the British propaganda effort.

My own investigations into such propaganda have focused on the spreading of rumour – for which BSC’s own term was “whispering,” or more specifically “sibs” — a term invented by their London masters in the Political Warfare Executive. This was a classical reference to the Latin verb sibilare meaning “to whisper,” or in a certain context (when expressing disapproval in the theatre) “to hiss.”

BSC’s official history (partly written by Dahl) included the following rules that were taught to its “whispering” rumour-mongers:

1. A good rumour should never be traceable to its source.
2. A rumour should be of the kind which is likely to gain in the telling. [i.e. be exaggerated, as in the parlour game ‘Chinese Whispers.’]
3. Particular rumours should be designed to appeal to particular groups (e.g. Catholics, or ethnic groups such as Czechs, Poles, etc.)
4. A particular rumour should have a specific purpose.
5. Rumours are most effective if they can be originated in several different places simultaneously and in such a way that they shuttle back and forth, with each new report apparently confirming previous ones.

These five rules for “whispering” – inventing and spreading successful rumours – should be borne in mind by every student of ‘Holocaust’ history.

By the 1980s, ageing and ill, did Roald Dahl look at the postwar world for which he and his generation had sacrificed their youth, and wonder whether it had been worth it?

Was the ‘anti-Semitism’ that Dahl expressed repeatedly during the last seven years of his life based on his experience of working with Jews during the Second World War, on propaganda and other ‘dirty tricks’ of the Anglo-American war effort?

In later life Roald Dahl became known for grotesque fictions designed for children. How much of the official history of the Second World War (including official ‘Holocaust’ history that must now be believed on pain of prosecution and imprisonment in most European countries) is also a grotesque fiction, to which Dahl and his wartime propagandist colleagues (many of them Jews) contributed?

It is now becoming possible to answer some of these questions. We will return to this subject during the coming months.

* * *

Source: Real History

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Former Liberal
Former Liberal
15 May, 2023 6:20 am

Another good, informative article, which clarifies some of the recent controversy about Roald Dahi’s writings and thoughts. So what if he was ” antisemitic”. Jews are just as bad, if not worse than blacks, as they can’t tolerate any criticism. At least blacks have the excuse of generally being less intelligent than other races.

Gigolo Joe
Gigolo Joe
27 May, 2023 6:39 pm

Roald Dahl was born in 1916 to Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Hesselberg.
Dahl is admitted to have been in Air Force Intelligence.. Dahl worked in BSC (MI6) under William Stephenson, as a conduit between Churchill and Roosevelt. Dahl is also listed in the peerage

Netflix bought the entire Dahl catalog from the family in 2020, including all copyrights. Since Netflix is a CIA front, the Dahl family is just returning the copyright to those that hired Dahl in the first place