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British Jews Accuse Oxford Dictionary

June 22, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Board of Deputies of British Jews charged today that the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary do “not go far enough” in qualifying the derogatory definitions of the word “Jew” that appear in the OED.

Victor Mishcon, vice-president of the Board and chairman of its Jewish Defense Committee, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “even if the OED insists on what the editors call objective scholarship, they should put in brackets a rider that the secondary description is offensive and archaic. Instead,” Mishcon said, “the editors offer a long explanation, as a kind of scholarly footnote, which may be suitable for an essay on the development of the term but will make no impact on the ordinary user of the dictionary.”

British Jews have taken exception to the definition that appears in the current edition of the OED which includes the description of a Jew as “a grasping or extortionate money lender or usurer” and also defines Jew as a verb meaning to cheat.

Marcus Sloimowitz, a member of the Board who has filed legal action against Clarendon Press, publishers of the OED, told the JTA that there will be another hearing July 5. “I am not claiming damages or anything like that. I am seeking an injunction to stop this defamation of the Jewish character,” he said.

Max Sokal, the distinguished Jewish sculptor, died in Londay today at the age of 76.

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