Thursday, February 27, 2020

How Do You Say "Jew" in Flemish Sign Language?

Hat tip Joods Actueel

-Joods Actueel

Jews are having a tough time in Belgium these days. Not only do they have to deal with anti-Semitic displays during the carnival in Aalst, now they even have to contend with an offensive new sign in Flemish (a variant of Dutch) sign language for the very word, Jew. The University of Ghent is also under fire for their role in the development of the new Flemish sign language dictionary. The below article from Joods Actueel, a Jewish, Flemish-language site in Belgium, is translated by Fousesquawk.

The University of Ghent uses "hooked nose" as sign language symbol for Jew

Recently, in Flemish sign language, for the word Jew, the sign was used of an imaginary beard being rubbed. That is the case everywhere in the world except in the new Flemish Sign Language Dictionary, which was developed in cooperation with the University of Ghent. They thought no better than representing "Jew" and "Jews" as someone with a big hooked nose.

"When I heard it, I thought it was a joke," reacts N-VA Member of Parliament Michael Freilich, who follows anti-Semitism for his party.

"Jews described with a hooked nose is a centuries-old and outdated anti-Semitic cliche. This is what this kind of stereo-typing is about. I hope that the University of Ghent will condemn this as quickly as possible and make it right, but above all, (conduct) an internal inquiry as to how this could happen."

"There is consternation with us when in (Italian) soccer, black players are welcomed with jungle sounds, so let us surely not remain blind to what happens in our country."

The Nazis used the hooked nose to portray Jews as shocking. For the record, the cliche that Jews have big noses has long been consigned to the trash. Anthropologist Maurice Fishberg tested it in 1911 by measuring 4,000 Jewish noses. The result was that hardly 14 per cent fell in the category, "hooked nose", which was in line with the rest of the population.


The University of Ghent sees no reason to object. Their reaction: "Researchers from Flemish universities, including the University of Ghent were involved in the creation of the Flemish Sign Language dictionary. They take no position on the signs, and make no judgement on them."

The University of Ghent takes offense at the title of our article.

"The dictionary is managed by the Flemish Sign Language Center, and, due to the history of its origin, is housed in a University of Ghent server. So the title of your article is not correct. Can I ask you also to set that straight?"

Michael Freilich: "This is really a missed opportunity for the University of Ghent, and it makes me sad that the rector refuses to even take a position on this."

"In my opinion, this fits in the same place as UNIA (Inter-Federal Equal Opportunities Center), where he hear leftists and progressive circles ring a bell about discrimination, but when it comes to Israel or Jews, the fun can't go on. Then I think, for example, of the defense of an anti-Jewish column by a professor  to this unique, false information about Jews as slave merchants during the Middle Ages and the many anti-Israel measures and expressions of institutions or persons affiliated with the University of Ghent."

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