Duden – a dictionary that has earned the status of the ‘gold standard’ for the German language – has landed in hot water with its advisory describing the word ‘Jew’ as problematic.
In its printed and online editions, the dictionary says that the designation ‘Jew’ can “occasionally be perceived as discriminatory” due to the association with its use by the Nazis. The dictionary then advises using some replacement words instead, which include “Jewish people, Jewish fellow citizens or people of the Jewish faith.”
The suggestion did not sit well with Germany’s Jews. The nation’s Central Council of Jews criticized the supposedly “tolerant” initiative by saying that it is itself much more discriminatory than the word it sought to replace.
“For me, the word ‘Jew’ is neither a swear word nor discriminatory,” the Central Council’s head, Josef Schuster, said on Monday, adding that their association is called the Central Council of Jews and not of “Jewish fellow citizens” for a reason.