October 20, 2019

Belgian University Uses Hooked Nose Gesture for ‘Jew’ in Sign Language Dictionary

A model gestures a hooked nose depicting "Jew" on the website of the University of Ghent, Belgium. (University of Ghent)

(JTA) — A gesture signaling a hooked nose is how one Belgian university described “Jew” in its online sign-language dictionary.

The University of Ghent compiled the dictionary and features the gesture in videos on the website.

The European Jewish Association protested in a statement Monday. Its director, Menachem Margolin, said the first two videos depicting a Jew “seem standard.” Both show a presenter stroking an imaginary beard.

“The second involving side-locks are borderline acceptable if misleading,” he said, “and the last two are simply racist and demeaning to Jews, using a gesticulation of a large and hooked nose to define Jew.”

Margolin has asked campus authorities to remove the two gestures from the dictionary.