Is JK Rowling anti-Semitic? Jon Stewart says Harry Potter author mocked Jews as goblins
Prior to Jon Stewart, SNL comedian Pete Davidson had also pointed out the similarity of the goblins in Potterverse with Jews
After transphobia row, embattled Harry Potter author JK Rowling has now been accused of anti-Semitism and morphed depiction of the Jewish community. American show host and podcaster Jon Stewart accused the billionaire British author of racially discriminating against the Jews in the magical world of Harry Potter. Stewart particularly cited the example of the goblins in the Gringotts Bank, saying that the characters were a caricature of Jews inspired from infamous anti-Semitic text 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'.
The 59-year-old comedian lashed out at Rowling in his podcast 'The Problem with Jon Stewart', where he said Rowling threw "Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank" in a fantasy world where other characters "can ride dragons and have pet owls." He further added, "Here's how you know Jews are still where they are. I just want to show you a caricature. And they're like, "Oh, look at that, that's from Harry Potter!" And you're like, "No, that's a caricature of a Jew from an antisemitic piece of literature." JK Rowling was like, "Can we get these guys to run our bank?"
Rowling has been called out time and again in the recent past for her problematic stance on the transgender community. In December 2021, she angered even the most loyal Potterheads as she shared an article titled "Absurdity of police logging rapists as women". The article detailed how Scotland Police have been criticized for saying "they will record rapes by offenders with male genitalia as being committed by a woman if the attacker 'identifies as a female'." The report was tweeted by Rowling, along with the sarcastic caption - "War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman."
Her remark created an uproar soon afterward, as fans vehemently criticized her transphobic stance and alleged hatred towards the trans community. Rowling had previously asserted her belief that trans people shouldn't be allowed to legally change their sex to reflect the choice of gender that they identify with. She thought this would allow individuals to exploit the law and manipulate it. The 'Harry Potter' author also wrote an elaborate personal blog to explain how and why she came to a conclusion regarding her stance on "an issue surrounded by toxicity".
Amid the raging controversy, a band of Rowling loyalists chose to ignore her 'trans erasure' attempts and named her 'Woman of the Year'. Some self-proclaimed feminists tweeted #IStandWithJKRowling on Twitter while branding her as the ideal woman.
Rowling was also overshadowed extensively in the recently-released Harry Potter reunion show 'Return To Hogwarts', with only a few minutes of screen time dedicated to the Harry Potter creator. However, this is the first time she has been accused of something as serious as anti-Semitism.
Jon Stewart, who is Jewish himself, noted that the caricature of Jews in the Gringotts goblins struck him when he watched the Harry Potter movies for the first time in theaters. He said that he thought other moviegoers would be "like "h*** shit, she did not, in a wizarding world, to just throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank." And everybody was just like "Wizards."'
Prior to Stewart, SNL comedian Pete Davidson had also compared the goblins with Jews, saying, "The woods are controlled by centaurs, the schools are run by wizards and ghosts, but who controls the banks... Jews obviously—little giant-nosed Jew Goblins." At that time, Sarah Silverman also agreed with him saying, "After watching the below and then seeing the clip in the thread I am just kind of stunned. You know when you giggle but it’s really more fear than joy?"
Contrary to Jon Stewart's claims, goblins in the Potterverse have been identified as "a highly intelligent race of small magical humanoid beings with long fingers and feet that coexist with the wizarding world." However, it has also been added in Harry Potter Wiki that, "due to their skills with money and finances, they (goblins) control the wizarding economy to a large extent and run Gringotts Wizarding Bank."