Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Heritage changes spelling of the word 'anti-Semitism'

 


The Associated Press has changed its spelling of the word “antisemitism,” now writing it without a hyphen — joining the leading experts of hatred against Jews who have long advocated that usage.

The Twitter account of the AP Stylebook — the leading reference for news publications — posted on April 24, 2021, “We now write antisemitism (n.), antisemitic (adj.), without a hyphen and with no capitalization.”

“This is a change from AP‘s previous style: anti-Semitism and antisemitic,” it added.

Because Heritage Florida Jewish News has adhered to the AP-Style Book’s spellings, it used the hyphenated format, which has been a subject of debate in the Jewish and scholarly communities.

Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt has been campaigning for some time to adopt the non-hyphenated spelling. She told Israeli daily Haaretz last year, “The hyphen is over. We are way overdue when it comes to losing the hyphen. Its presence completely distorts the meaning of the word.”

She said that the term is often misrepresented or misinterpreted as referring to all speakers of a Semitic language, when in fact it has only ever referred to Jews.

“Why do I spell antisemitism without a hyphen?” Lipstadt has asked. “Because anti-Semitism is not hatred of Semitism or Semites — people who speak Semitic languages. Antisemitism is Jew hatred.”

Some disagreed at the time, including the AP Stylebook. Andrew Silow-Carroll, editor-in-chief of the New York Jewish Week, told the Israeli outlet, “Although the case for ‘antisemitism’ is strong, we are sticking with anti-Semitism because it appears to be the preferred spelling among most of the Jewish institutions we cover, and because it is consistent with our own newspaper’s practices going back decades.”

This was also the reasoning of the Heritage, which is now pleased to change the spelling in accordance with AP Stylebook.

 

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