ADC Demands Merriam Webster Correct Definition of "anti-Semitism" - ADC

ADC Demands Merriam Webster Correct Definition of “anti-Semitism”

ADC Demands Merriam Webster Correct Definition of “anti-Semitism”

  • November 10, 2009
  • 0 Comments

ADC Action Alert:
BACKGROUND:
ADC recently sent a letter to Merriam-Webster demanding that the company take steps to correct the definition of "anti-Semitism" in its "Third New International Dictionary," which was recently reprinted.
The definition reads: "
1) hostility toward Jews as a religious or racial minority group, often accompanied by social, political or economic discrimination (2) opposition to Zionism (3) sympathy for the opponents of Israel."
In its response to a letter of concern from ADC Communications Director Hussein Ibish, Merriam-Webster said only that "we expect to resolve this issue when the fourth edition of our International Dictionary is published, which should be within the next ten years." This is clearly an issue that demands immediate attention from Merriam-Webster, and cannot be left to be dealt with, perhaps, in the next ten years or so.
This issue is especially relevant at a time when some pro-Israel ideologues such as Alan Dershowtiz, ADL chief Abe Foxman, Harvard University President Larry Summers and others are seeking to foreclose the debate on the Middle East, especially at university campuses, by promoting the idea that criticism of Israeli policies is indistinguishable from hatred of Jewish people.
ACTION REQUESTED:
Please contact John Morse, President and Publisher of Merriam-Webster, and demand that the company formally repudiates senses two and three in the outrageous definition of anti-Semitism that is contained in the "Third New International Dictionary." Please point out that

  • this issue must be dealt with at once and not some time in the next tenyears, and
  • it is a simple matter for Merriam-Webster to begin to correct the error and repair the damage by issuing a public statement which repudiates senses two and three.

You can use the online form at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/info/contact.htm or mail to:
Merriam-Webster, Inc.
47 Federal Street
P.O. Box 281
Springfield, MA 01102
or:
Tel: (413) 734-3134
Fax: (413) 731-5979
TALKING POINTS:
The letter from ADC Communications Director Hussein Ibish points out that:
"By failing to state for the record that the term will definitely be corrected in future editions Merriam-Webster gives the continued appearance of actually supporting the current definition. Moreover, reprinting the Third in 2002 raises the possibility that it will be years before another edition will appear, meaning that for the foreseeable future, Merriam-Webster will be legitimating and promoting a definition of anti-Semitism that:
a) Merriam-Webster itself does not believe is accurate;
b) Conflates the first, accurate definition with two inaccurate ones, thereby undermining and even trivializing the very concept of anti-Semitism and damaging efforts to combat prejudice and discrimination against Jewish groups and individuals;
c) Smears and impugns the motives of all those who support the human and political rights of Palestinians;
d) Undermines the efforts of Jewish groups and individuals working for Mid-East peace;
e) Stigmatizes perfectly legitimate political opinions and activities."
ADC Update:
ADC Demands Merriam Webster Correct Definition of "anti-Semitism"
ADC has recently sent a letter to Merriam-Webster demanding that the company take steps to correct the definition of "anti-Semitism" in its "Third New International Dictionary," which was recently reprintined.  The definition reads: "1) hostility toward Jews as a religious or racial minority group, often accompanied by social, political or economic discrimination (2) opposition to Zionism (3) sympathy for the opponents of Israel."  The letter from ADC Communications Director Hussein Ibish points out that:
"By failing to state for the record that the term will definitely be corrected in future editions Merriam-Webster gives the continued appearance of actually supporting the current definition. Moreover, reprinting the Third in 2002 raises the possibility that it will be years before another edition will appear, meaning that for the foreseeable future, Merriam-Webster will be legitimating and promoting a definition of anti-Semitism that:
a) Merriam-Webster itself does not believe is accurate;
b) Conflates the first, accurate definition with two inaccurate ones, thereby undermining and even trivializing the very concept of anti-Semitism and damaging efforts to combat prejudice and discrimination against Jewish groups and individuals;
c) Smears and impugns the motives of all those who support the human and political rights of Palestinians;
d) Undermines the efforts of Jewish groups and individuals working for Mid-East peace;
e) Stigmatizes perfectly legitimate political opinions and activities."

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