Photo Credit: European Jewish Association
Rabbi Menachem Margolin with Prime Minister Juri Ratas of Estonia, lighting Hanukkah menorah

The chairman of the European Jewish Association has written to the rector of the University of Ghent to ask for an explanation of an online dictionary of Flemish sign language that uses the gestures of a large hooked nose, a beard, and side-locks, to define the words for “Jew.”

Rabbi Menachem Margolin also demanded the immediate removal of offending videos that have apparently taught the offensive, anti-Semitic gestures for at least the pasts 15 years, if not longer.

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The videos came to Margolin’s attention after they were forwarded to him by a Jewish family who started looking up sign language for fun.

The fun quickly transformed to disgust when they were confronted with these definitions: click here.

The sign language project, which has continued for nearly 15 years with the University of Ghent, seeks to provide an online dictionary of Flemish sign language.

In his letter to the Rector of Ghent University, Rabbi Margolin wrote:

“If the aim of this project was to embellish or add to the standard definition, it has certainly managed to so, in the most stereotypical and racist way imaginable, by focusing on side-locks and worse still gesticulating a hooked nose to describe a Jew.

“We certainly hope that such stereotypes do not reflect the policy of the University, nor your students.

“I write to ask you to clarify the situation and to use all available efforts to remove the offending and offensive videos immediately.”

A Jewish student at the University, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed his disgust at the videos. “In this age of viral videos, memes and gifs, I first thought this was a joke in poor taste or something ironical. That it is not is most alarming and disgusting of all. Is this how my University sees fit to teach deaf people to recognise a Jew? A hooked nose? Is this how I’m perceived as a Jew? The videos should be taken down immediately.”

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