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'A hooked nose' to define a #Jew uncovered on #UniversityOfGhent Flemish sign language webpage




European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin (pictured) has written to the University of Ghent rector asking for an explanation and the immediate removal of offending videos.

The videos came to the attention of Rabbi Margolin after being forwarded to him by a Jewish family who were looking up sign language words for fun. The fun quickly turned to disgust when they saw the following.

The project was carried out in conjunction with the University of Ghent and is nearly a decade and a half old. It seeks to provide an online dictionary of Flemish sign language.

The first two sign language definitions for Jew seem standard, the second involving side-locks are borderline acceptable if misleading, and the last two are simply racist and demeaning to Jews, using a gesticulation of a large and hooked nose to define Jew.

In an urgent letter to the Rector of Ghent University this morning, EJA Chairman 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 wishes 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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