After a comedian in the USA claimed that JK Rowling’s depiction goblins was anti-Semitic, Jewish organizations have stood by JK Rowling.

Jon Stewart attacked the author for the gringotts bank run by goblins in Harry Potter on The Problem With Jon Stewart.  

Stewart, who is Jewish, questioned why Rowling chose to ‘throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank’ in a fictional world where people ‘can ride dragons and have pet owls’.

However, Jewish fans were quick to note that the author has constantly called out anti-Semitism in recent years.

MailOnline was also told by Dave Rich (director of policy, Jewish charity Community Security Trust), that Rowling has been supportive of the Jewish community. 

He explained that JK Rowling was very supportive of Jewish communities in recent years. Rowling also regularly tweeted against antisemitism. It is therefore hard to believe Rowling used antisemitic illustrations in her books. Sometimes a “goblin” is just another goblin.

Rich pointed out, however, that something might be’subliminal” in Rich’s depiction. It suggests that “subconscious antisemitism” in society may have resulted in characters like goblins adopting ‘anti-Semitic cartoons’. 

David Baddiel, comedian added that “The goblins of Harry Potter must be seen not as #teamRowling or #antiteamRowling but rather in an many-centuries old and deeply subconsciously embedded cultural context.”

Nicholas Jubber, a literature expert and author told MailOnline that Rowling seems to have been following British tradition in fantasy literature. It was the old German word “kobold”, that gave birth to the term “cobalt” and signaled the association of these creatures in mining for valuable ores. It makes perfect sense, then that underground storage and vaults are linked to goblins.

Fans also defended the author, suggesting that her depiction of the goblins was typical of the fantasy genre, with the likes of JRR Tolkien and Terry Pratchett making similar descriptions.  

One said today: ‘Goblins were described and depicted like that decades before Rowling. So if those activists have problems with how goblins are depicted – they should cancel fantasy books and mythos that existed before.’

Another added: ‘You would have to tar all fantasy writers such as Tolkien and artists, who have portrayed goblins in exactly the same light since the 19th Century. In most fantasy and children’s writings they are almost always portrayed as mean, hoarders of gold and jewels with the same features.’ 

Others noted that Rowling’s original sketch of goblins was significantly different to the movie depiction of the creatures, which Warner Brothers are behind. 

Stewart characterized the goblins as an obvious anti-Semitic trope, and questioned why more people haven't done the same. Pictured is a movie still from the first Harry Potter film

Stewart characterized the goblins as an obvious anti-Semitic trope, and questioned why more people haven’t done the same. Pictured is a movie still from the first Harry Potter film

Goblins in the Lord of the Rings. Fans also defended the author, suggesting that her depiction of the goblins was typical of the fantasy genre, with the likes of JRR Tolkien and Terry Pratchett making similar descriptions.

Goblins in the Lord of the Rings. Fandom also defend the author. They suggest that her representation of the goblins is typical of fantasy fiction, Terry Pratchett, JRR Tolkien, and Terry Pratchett all use similar descriptions.

Jewish supporters were also quick note the constant slamming of anti-Semitism by the author in recent years. 

Jon Stewart (pictured), who is Jewish, questioned why Rowling chose to 'throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank' in a fictional world where people 'can ride dragons and have pet owls'

Jon Stewart (pictured), who is Jewish, questioned why Rowling chose to ‘throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank’ in a fictional world where people ‘can ride dragons and have pet owls’

However, some fans pointed out that Rowling's depiction of goblins was consistent with how they had been depicted in fantasy for years, such as in the works of JRR Tolkien

However, Rowling’s representation of goblins is consistent with other fantasy depictions of them for many years. For example, in JRR Tolkiens work.

Rowling was a critic of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader and refused to be part of a cultural boycott Israel.

Her criticisms of anti-Semitism at home in Britain were repeated. This prompted one Jewish journalist, to post: ‘There’s a strong argument that no one has done more to raise global awareness of anti-Semitism today faced by British Jews living on the left than @jk_rowling. This is not just what she has done, but how she explained it to her 14 million followers. Remarkable.’ 

Stewart (59) said that the banker-goblin characters of the author’s fabled book series were based upon caricatures of Jews taken from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This antisemitic text purports to depict a Jewish plan of world dominance.

Stewart said, “Here is how you know Jews remain where they are,” in an episode that he was referring to before lamenting the fact that those he had spoken to weren’t willing to recognize the similarity.

Hans Christian Andersen and Greek and Hindu mythology: The history of goblins – how they have been represented throughout history and the reasons why anti-Semitic polemicists have twisted them 

Nicholas Jubber author of The Fairy Tellers. A Journey into The Secret History of Fairy Tales.

Since the beginning of time, goblins have been wandering the streets telling fairy tales, myths, stories and legends from all corners of the earth, including the Japanese Tengu with its long nose, as well as the many bhutas who swarm around Shiva. 

JK Rowling is said to have followed Anglophone conventions especially Tolkien. 

The English word ‘goblin’ has been in use since at least the fourteenth century, and is probably derived from the German ‘kobold’, which itself has been linked to ancient Greek.

It’s an echo of the household deities that continued to be worshipped long after the arrival of Christianity in Europe.

As with many other mythical or magical creatures, the goblin is a whisper about the underground beliefs. In the case of goblin storytelling it can be literal. 

Hans Christian Andersen had them keen on porridge and sensitive to the cold; Christina Rossetti made them ‘Cat-like and rat-like… Chattering like magpies’ and ‘gliding like fishes’. They are often depicted as a petulant, capricious and mischievous in traditional stories. 

Anti-Semites twisted this imagery to make the kind of propaganda Jon Stewart mentioned. This was imagery which had a very dangerous effect. 

It is also important to remember that Sir Walter Scott believed goblins could be derived from Lapland caricatures of the Sami people. The long nose and pointed ears of the Japanese Tengu are thought to have been influenced by the mythical Hindu bird’s beak.

However, Rowling appears to have followed traditions in British fantasy literature – such as ‘The Hoard of the Gibbelins’ by Lord Dunsany. 

The old German word, ‘kobold’, gave us the word ‘cobalt’, signalling the association of these creatures with mining for precious ores. It makes perfect sense, then that underground storage and vaults are linked to goblins. 

But given the way these associations were twisted by antisemitic polemicists in the early part of the twentieth century, it’s a shame that such an inventive writer couldn’t come up with a different spin on goblins, whose history is richer and more varied than the scenes at Gringotts imply.  

“I want to show your a caricature. They’re like “Oh, look at this, it’s Harry Potter!” You’re thinking, “No, it’s just a cartoon of a Jew taken from antisemitic literature.” J.K. Rowling asked, ‘Can these guys run our bank?

When he first saw the Harry Potter films, Stewart said he expected other theater patrons to ‘be like ‘h*** shit, she did not, in a wizarding world, to just throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank.’ Everybody was exactly like the ‘Wizards.

Some pointed out that Rowling’s goblins were simply a reflection of how the creatures are usually depicted in media. 

Terry Pratchett, JRR Tolkien, and Terry Pratchett both wrote about goblins. Their descriptions were very similar to Rowling’s. 

MailOnline was informed by a spokesperson from Campaign Against Antisemitism that the Harry Potter books’ portrayal of goblins is in line with Western literature. 

“It’s the result of centuries-old associations of Jews and evil and deranged creatures in folklore as well as money, and finance. 

“The Western mind has become so indoctrinated with mythological associations that the origins of their creations and consumption no longer matter to creators nor consumers. 

“Those who keep using such representations often don’t think of Jews at all but of the way readers and viewers imagine goblins looking, which speaks more to centuries-old antisemitism in Christendom than to contemporary artist malice.

“So it’s with JK Rowling. In recent years she has shown herself to be an unwavering defender of antisemitism in the Jewish Community. We are so grateful for her efforts.” 

PopDust 2019 writer Dan Kahan commented that the Gringotts Goblins were completely coded to be anti-Semitic Jewish stereotypes. 

‘J.K. Rowling did not intend to do this. … Rowling also borrowed and pastiched from all sorts of fantasy and folklore while writing Harry Potter, so it’s likely that a lot of the goblins’ more anti-Semitic features are actually related to older fantasy fare surrounding bankers. These were likely inspired by anti-Jewish propaganda. 

One fan stated that he was impressed by the poem at the time, but it could have been due to cultural chauvinism running through Northern European folklore and not any intention by the author. Similar arguments could be made against Tolkien.

Stewart’s statements were also reacted to by his fans who quickly supported Stewart. 

One said: “My Jewish perspective says that Stewart is making a cheap shot at Stewart.” At the time @jk_rowling made bankers goblins, I do not believe she ever considered ‘Jews’. Nor does any HP child. JKR has been a strong supporter of Jewish causes for decades & she has denounced real antisemitism when few non-Jews do.

‘Perhaps she regretted the choice after critics made that connection, but if you look at folkloric creatures that have been described for centuries as gold hoarders & think ‘Jews’, that’s not on her.’

One other said that JK Rowling was being accused of antisemitism for her portrayal of goblins within her Harry Potter books. It is ridiculous. Rowling has been a strong supporter of British Jews and we must stand with her now.

A third commenter said: “Dear world JK Rowling, you are not antisemitic.” Gringotts goblins can be called goblins. Not Jews. Goblins do not have to be anti-semitic just by their existence. If you make the link between goblins & Jews – that’s on you. Consider your options. JKR may be as anti-semitic to me as I am as a Jew. Probs less.’

The Harry Potter wiki describes the goblins as an intelligent, small-sized magical humanoid race that lives in harmony with the wizarding realm. They eat meat, roots and fungi.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling (pictured) is no stranger to controversy, and has faced cancellation for her comments regarding transgender issues

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter author (pictured), is not new to controversy. She was criticized for comments she made regarding transgender issues.

Fans were quick to point out that JK Rowling has been a frequent critic of anti-semitism online in recent years

Many fans were quick to highlight that JK Rowling was an online critic of antisemitism in the recent years.

The description says that Goblins speak in Gobbledegook and are skilled metalsmiths known for their silverwork. They even make coins to support wizarding currencies. 

They are skilled in money management and finance and control the Wizarding Economy to a great extent.

One of the first times they appear in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is when one describes them as short and with a “swarthy and clever face”, a pointed mustache, and long fingers and toes.” 

Stewart isn’t alone in pointing out goblins – Pete Davidson from Saturday Night Live expressed similar frustrations back in 2020. 

In the Harry Potter books and movies, he said, ‘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.’ 

Rowling (56) has been accused of transphobia following her mockery of an article on June 2020 in which she used the words “people who menstruate” instead of “women”.   

She was not interviewed for HBO’s ‘Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts’ special, sparking outrage from some fans who accused makers of attempting to erase her over her views.

The New Year’s Day Special featured clips in which stars praised her writing. She was also revealed to have appeared in archives footage. 

An illustration from The Protocols of the Elders Zion

An original illustration from J.K. Rowling, sketched before Warner Brothers began making the films

An illustration from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is shown to the left. It’s an antisemitic text which purports show a Jewish scheme for global dominance. J.K. Rowling’s sketch of Harry Potter visiting Gringotts Bank with a Goblin is shown right. This was long before Warner Brothers acquired the movie franchise.

The possibility that the goblins that run Gringotts bank in Harry Potter's universe are crude Jewish stereotypes was raised long before Jon Stewart mentioned the issue on his podcast

Jon Stewart didn’t mention this issue in his podcast.

A segment of 2019 also features her discussing how difficult it was to find Harry’s acting talent when she cast The Philosopher’s Stone.

This eagerly awaited reunion will see Daniel and Emma Watson join Rupert Grint (who played Ron Weasley) as co-stars to mark 20 years since the original franchise aired. 

Later, she defended herself in an essay passionately against these claims but was criticized ever since.

Last week she hit back at a claim on US website that she believed there are only two genders.

Rowling stated: “Small, but crucial point: I have never claimed that there are just two genders. There are multiple gender identities.

“The central question in this debate is whether or not sex and gender identity should be used to decide on safeguarding and provision of services, sports categories, and other areas that women and girls have current legal rights and protections.

It is a mistake to use the words “sex” and “gender” interchangeably. This obscures the core issue.

If you want to know what I really said, here is a link – in which I say “trans lives matter” and that “trans rights .’).’are human rights