Co­me­dian Bad­diel high­lights au­thor’s anti-Semitic words

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

ROALD Dahl Day was marked with a gi­ant Lego peach in his Cardiff home­town yes­ter­day – but not ev­ery­one was cel­e­brat­ing, due to a row over the writer’s anti-Semitic re­marks.

The late world-fa­mous chil­dren’s au­thor has his Septem­ber 13 birth­day marked ev­ery year with spe­cial events around the UK.

This year’s is the first since a mas­sive week­end of events took over Cardiff last year to mark the cen­te­nary of birth of the Char­lie and the Cho­co­late Fac­tory writer in the Llandaff area of the cap­i­tal.

But yes­ter­day’s com­mem­o­ra­tions saw co­me­dian David Bad­diel say­ing he wouldn’t be cel­e­brat­ing Roald Dahl Day be­cause of of­fen­sive com­ments made by the au­thor.

Bad­diel, 53, ref­er­enced a quote from 1983 which was at­trib­uted to Dahl.

Shar­ing the quote on Twit­ter, Bad­diel said: “Though a mas­sive fan of his work, I won’t be cel­e­brat­ing #RoaldDahlDay”.

The quote reads: “There is a trait in the Jewish char­ac­ter that does pro­voke an­i­mos­ity.

“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.”

The com­ments were first re­ported in the New States­man.

An in­ter­view with The In­de­pen­dent seven years later fur­ther stoked the con­tro­versy, when Dahl was quoted as say­ing: “I’m cer­tainly anti-Is­rael and I’ve be­come anti-Semitic inas­much as that you get a Jewish per­son in an­other coun­try like Eng­land strongly sup­port­ing Zion­ism.”

In an ex­change on Twit­ter af­ter pub­lish­ing Dahl’s com­ment, nov­el­ist and pre­sen­ter Bad­diel – whose ma­ter­nal grand­par­ents were Jewish and fled the Holo­caust – added: “I re­main a mas­sive fan of his work.”

Roald Dahl Day typ­i­cally sees schools choos­ing to have fancy dress days to cel­e­brate the char­ac­ters cre­ated in his books. Dahl, who died in 1990 at the age of 74, penned some of the best­known chil­dren’s books of the 20th cen­tury, in­clud­ing Fan­tas­tic Mr Fox, The Twits and Matilda.

Last year’s week­end of cel­e­bra­tions in Cardiff – dubbed City of the Un­ex­pected – saw a tightrope-walk­ing fox, a gi­ant peach and many thou­sands of per­form­ers take to the streets as part of the event.

Yes­ter­day’s com­mem­o­ra­tion saw unique Lego mod­els of his young hero­ine Matilda from the book of the same name, So­phie from The BFG, James from James and the Gi­ant Peach, Char­lie from Char­lie and the Cho­co­late Fac­tory, Billy from Billy and the Min­pins and Ge­orge from Ge­orge’s Mar­vel­lous Medicine placed at sites around the UK.

James ap­peared at Cardiff Cas­tle, Matilda at the Cam­bridge The­atre in Lon­don, Ge­orge at Not­ting­ham Rail­way Sta­tion, Billy at the Eden Project in Corn­wall, So­phie at the Gi­ant’s Cause­way in North­ern Ire­land and Char­lie at the Manch­ester Cen­tral Li­brary.

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