All representative institutions of the Spanish-speaking Jewish communities support the initiative. The removal of the definition of “Jew” as “avaricious or usurious person” is requested, as well as the definition of “judiada” as “a dirty trick.”
Madrid, September 6, 2023. More than 20 Jewish communities worldwide have formally
requested the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) to eliminate the definition of “Jew” as
“avaricious or usurious person.” They consider it an offensive definition that portrays a
community in derogatory and discriminatory terms, not reflecting the current usage of the
Spanish language in the Spanish-speaking community, where respect and the promotion
of diversity and multiculturalism are paramount.
The European Times wrote today to the Real Academia de la Lengua Española, who responded that:
Inappropriately Defining “Jew” as an Insult
“Dictionaries have the task of reflecting language use and evolution, and their content is based on linguistic and academic criteria. In a context where Spanish and Ibero-American society is increasingly sensitive to diverse identities, and disrespect in defining groups is widely rejected, we believe that these definitions should be updated to accurately reflect the language’s usage in our times,” says lawyer Borja Luján Lago, who is representing the Jewish community in this initiative.
The initiative, promoted by the Jewish Community of Panama, has the support of the entire Spanish-speaking Jewish community, represented by its representative organizations:
the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, the Delegation of Israeli Associations in Argentina, the Israeli Circle of Bolivia, the Jewish Community of Chile, the Sephardic Hebrew Community of Bogotá, the Zionist Israeli Center of Costa Rica, the Board of the House of the Hebrew Community of Cuba, the Jewish Community of Ecuador, the Israeli Community of El Salvador, the Jewish Community of Guatemala, the Hebrew Community of Tegucigalpa, the Central Committee of the Jewish Community of Mexico, the Israeli Community of Nicaragua, the Jewish Community of Paraguay, the Jewish Association of Peru, the Israeli Center of the Dominican Republic, the Central Israeli Committee of Uruguay, and the Confederation of Israeli Associations of Venezuela, as well as non-governmental organizations such as the American Jewish Committee (AJC), B’nai B’rith International (BBI), the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), the Latin American Jewish Congress (CJL), and the AntiDefamation League (ADL).
The document submitted to the RAE’s registry also requests, for the same reasons, the complete removal of the entry “Judiada,” which is defined as “a dirty trick or action that harms someone.”
“We understand that dictionary definitions reflect language usage and do not inherently promote hate, but they should be corrected as they are entirely outdated in the social and cultural reality of the 21st century. We appeal to the sensitivity of the RAE to promote a respectful and inclusive language,” says Luján Lago.
In 2001 this derogatory definition was not in the dictionary.
What is the Royal Academy of Spanish Language?
The primary location of the Real Academia de la Lengua Española is in Spain, where it holds the responsibility of regulating the language within the country. However, its impact goes beyond Spain as it is acknowledged as the language authority, for all Spanish-speaking nations. There are a total of 23 countries where Spanish is recognized as the official language and these countries are all considered part of the Spanish-speaking community. Therefore while the Real Academia de la Lengua Española is based in Spain, its influence and authority encompass all Spanish-speaking nations.