PLO Consulted on Dictionary

The Palestine Liberation Organization was involved in consultations with the Oxford University Press which led to alterations in the Concise Oxford Dictionary, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has learned.

The changes involved the definition of the words “Palestinian” and “Jerusalem”. The new edition of the dictionary will define Jerusalem as a “holy city west of River Jordan,” and not as the capital of Israel, as previously.

The PLO’s involvement is revealed in the latest newsletter of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU). After describing CAABU’s own approaches to the Oxford University Press, the newsletter writes: “After consultation with CAABU and, via CAABU, with the PLO representative in London, Said Hamami, the following definition of “Palestinian,” for inclusion in the new edition of the dictionary, was agreed upon: “native or inhabitant of Palestine: of, pertaining to, or connected with Palestine”.

Last month, Jewish organizations protested about the changes, claiming they had been made under Arab pressure and that this was incompatible with the OUP’s unique academic standing. In reply, R. W. Burchfield, chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionaries, admitted that there had been concessions to “Arabic sources that have approached us”. But this is the first evidence that these sources included the PLO’s London office.

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