Belgian university denotes 'Jew' with the same hand-sign for hooked nose

A dictionary of sign language in The University of Ghent uses the same sign for hooked nose to say 'Jew'

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ/JTA
September 17, 2019 05:53
A sign language interpreter translates a prayer during a ceremony

A sign language interpreter translates a prayer during a ceremony on the eve of the International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust in Minsk. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A gesture signaling a hooked nose is how one Belgian university described “Jew” in its online sign-language dictionary.

The University of Ghent compiled the dictionary and features the gesture in videos on the website.

The European Jewish Association protested in a statement Monday. Its director, Menachem Margolin, said the first two videos depicting a Jew “seem standard.” Both show a presenter stroking an imaginary beard.

“The second involving side-locks are borderline acceptable if misleading,” he said, “and the last two are simply racist and demeaning to Jews, using a gesticulation of a large and hooked nose to define Jew.”

Margolin has asked campus authorities to remove the two gestures from the dictionary.


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