Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jewish group urges Romania to change anti-Semitic definition

BUCHAREST (AFP)---A Jewish group on Tuesday urged Romania to change the definition of an anti-Semitic word included in a widely-circulated dictionary, saying it was "an expression of racism in its purest form."

"We are calling on the Academy to correct without delay the shameful and offending definition of the word 'jidan'," the Centre for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism in Romania (MCA) said in a letter.

Defined in an earlier edition as a "familiar and pejorative" term, the word is described as a "popular" alternative name for Jew in the 2009 edition.

"This definition turns the most abject expression of anti-Semitism into a mere synonym for Jew," MCA stressed.

The group said that "'Jidan' was the last word to be heard by the hundreds of thousands Jews whose belongings were stolen and burnt and who were themselves crammed into death trains or killed like animals simply because they were born Jewish."

"This definition is harmful to Romanian society and likely to encourage nationalist and chauvinist propaganda," MCA said.

Between 280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews died in the Holocaust in Romania and the territories under its control, according to an international commission of historians headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, himself a Romanian-born Jew.

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