update deskAntisemitism

DC nonprofit adviser praises Jew-hatred on Urban Dictionary

“About time it becomes more mainstream,” Akshobh Giridharadas, of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, wrote of “Israeled.”

Credit: Postmodern Studio/Shutterstock.
Credit: Postmodern Studio/Shutterstock.

An angel renames Jacob “Israel” in Genesis because the forefather “wrestled with God and with men and prevailed.” Some 3,500 years later, the user-generated Urban Dictionary website decided that the name had an antisemitic definition.

Among the definitions of “Israeled” on the site is stealing, with the example provided: “In a restaurant, someone asked to share my table. I agreed. After a moment, he asked me to leave because he has a meeting! I’ve been israeled.”

Another definition of the “word”: “When a person tells you that your property is theirs (when it obviously isn’t), and demands you just give this property to them, and if you refuse, they take it by force and the law will somehow be on the their (israeling) side.”

These and some 40 other “definitions” were posted after Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel, many as recently as Oct. 22. Users have expressed dissatisfaction about many. For example, the first one has 9,234 thumbs-up and 17,602 thumbs-down votes at press time.

Urban Dictionary is selling a mug with “Jewished” for $32.95.

In a page on its website about “adding a new definition,” Urban Dictionary states: “Your definition will be reviewed by Urban Dictionary moderators before it is published on the site. If it is approved, it will be added to the database and will be available for others to see and use.”

Perhaps ironically, Esau remarked earlier in Genesis, before his brother’s name was changed to Israel, that Jacob was aptly named because “he twice tricked me” (v’ya’akveyni). Urban Dictionary users might not be aware of their Jewish Bible, but they did create entries for “Jewish trickery.”

Urban Dictionary
Urban Dictionary logo. Credit: Wikipedia.

One example, from 2017, is “David: ‘Did you see Joshua perform Jewish trickery on Ellie?’ Nancy: ‘Yes. Now her wallet, house and car are gone.’ David: ‘Damn. I hate Jews.’”

Some appreciate the antisemitic “definitions.”

“A new term enters the urban dictionary: ‘Israeled.’ About time it becomes more mainstream,” wrote Akshobh Giridharadas, a strategic communications adviser at the Washington, D.C. nonprofit U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum. (He has since deleted the post.)

Akshobh Giridharadas
A since deleted post on X by Akshobh Giridharadas.

Urban Dictionary apparently removed an entry for “acting Jewish,” but an archive of the page reveals that the phrase was defined as “being financially conservative or frugal. Also just being plain cheap.”

Other offensive terms include: “Jewish Stocktake” (arson insurance fraud), “Jewish piano” (a pocket calculator) and “Jewishize” (“to make one more Jewish, to make one into a money desirer”).

In the past, Urban Dictionary has also had “definitions” mocking the Holocaust.

In 2013, The New York Times reported that courts are turning to Urban Dictionary definitions “in the thick of cases involving everything from sexual harassment to armed robbery to requests for personalized license plates, as courts look to discern meaning and intent in the modern lexicon.”

Queries to Urban Dictionary and its founder and to Giridharadas remained unanswered at press time.

“We are not—and never will be—okay with people using a definition to harass, discriminate and/or directly incite violence against others,” Urban Dictionary claims in its content guidelines.

The Scrabble dictionary used to include the word “jew,” in lowercase as a verb, with the definition “to bargain with—an offensive term.” It was subsequently removed.

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