Saturday, August 13, 2011

Romania to correct anti-Semitic definition


BUCHAREST — The Romanian Academy, the country's linguistic watchdog, on Thursday promised to change the definition of an anti-Semitic word included in a widely-circulated dictionary, after a Jewish group slammed it as "shameful".

The Centre for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism in Romania (MCA) had denounced the dictionary definition of the word 'jidan', a pejorative term for Jew, as merely a "familiar" term.

"Unfortunately, when the most recent edition of the dictionary was compiled, an error was made," the academy, which serves as the custodian of the Rominian language and culture, said in a letter.

"In future editions of the dictionary, definitions will be worded so as not to leave room for discriminatory interpretations."

MCA said that the definition was "harmful to Romanian society and likely to encourage nationalist and chauvinist propaganda".

"'Jidan' was the last word to be heard by the hundreds of thousands of 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," the group stressed.

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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