Spain’s antisemitic definition of ‘Jew’ sparks fury from Jewish organizations

More than 500 years after the Spanish Inquisition, the Spanish word for ‘Jew’ maintains the connotation of ‘a shrewd, greedy person,’ and Judaism as ‘a loathsome trick that harms someone.’

By World Israel News Staff

About 20 Jewish groups from the US and Spanish-speaking countries contacted the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), urging Spain’s official linguistic institution to change its definitions of the words “Jew” and “Judaism” from their “outdated, utterly antisemitic” versions.

Ynet News reported that the letter, endorsed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called on the academy to revise its definitions pointing out that, “these descriptions are the product of a medieval and renaissance terminology of rejection, envy and hatred directed at the Jews who, because of their work, had the highest incomes – which was one of the factors that led to their expulsion from Spain by the Catholic monarchs.”

The definitions which has caused outrage defines a Jew as a “shrewd, greedy person or one who engages in usury, whereas Judaism is defined as “a loathsome trick or action that harms someone.”

While the latter is followed by a warning that the definition was originally used in an antisemitic setting, the Jewish signatories to the letter note that, “as far as the international Jewish community is concerned, the move has served only to confirm that we are dealing with an untrue definition that feeds antisemitism, harming the image of Jews by condemning them as a group of greedy people or moneylenders.”

The Academy, for its part, has acknowledged receiving the letter, and said it will “study the case further.”

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