Claim by Spanish-Speaking Jewish Community at the Royal Spanish Academy to Suppress the Denigratory Meaning of the Words "Judío" and "Judiada" from the Dictionary

September 6, 2023

Buenos Aires - The Latin American office of the Wiesenthal Center supported the initiative of the Jewish Community of Panama to make an official request at the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE),  represented by lawyer Borja Luján Lago, in order to suppress the current denigratory meanings of the terms "Jew" as "greedy and usurious person" and "Judiada" as "dirty trick or action that harms someone" from the Dictionary of the Language.

Without any doubt, the consigned definitions are offensive and discriminatory towards our community, sullying its identity, and do not reflect the present use of language in the context of the Spanish-speaking community, where respect and encouragement of diversity and multiculturalism prevails.

Keeping the dictionary reasonableness of such meanings is in itself humiliating, and it is even more so to standardize their use in common language.

(presentation of the letter at the Royal Academy)

Dr.  Ariel Gelblung, Director of the Wiesenthal Center for Latin America, stated, "We understand language is something alive and changing and therefore reflects a given moment and a historical context and does not encourage hateful behavior per-se. However, in this case, we can presume that those terms as crystallized in the dictionary, are a sign of an anti-Semitic prejudice still prior to the Edict of Expulsion of 1492 that has been maintained throughout the centuries, even in the absence of a Jewish presence in Spain; until the end of the 19th century when some Jews began to return, and it continues as such to the present. Therefore, we enthusiastically join the Panamenian community initiative aimed at urging the RAE to encourage respectful and inclusive language that accounts for the social and cultural reality of the 21st century."

For further information, please contact Dr. Ariel Gelblung at +54 9 11 49695365, join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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