Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1998, says that Anti-Semitism
is "Opposition to, or hatred of, Semites, esp. Jews.".
Poor, Edmund W wrote:
Can the Wikipedia say that a certain person is
anti-Semitic? Or must
an article step back and say only that the person is "regarded as
Well, this may not be helpful in the important borderline cases, but some
people declare themselves to be anti-Semitic.
Does it serve our neutrality policy to say rather that
such a person
is "universally regarded" or "all but universally regarded" as
In some cases, yes. But we need not add these sorts of qualifiers
unless there does exist someone (noteworthy) who says otherwise.
"Although the Institute for Historical Change is all but universally
regarded as anti-Semitic, the Institute itself denies it, claiming
instead blah blah blah." Compare with "Both critics and defenders of
The Institute for Changing History agree that it is anti-Semitic."
Or "KillTheJews.com is an openly anti-Semitic website."
(All examples made up just now. Real examples exist, of course.)
If someone ever quotes a Wikipedia article in a
newspaper or book,
should they be able to say, "According to Wikipedia, Joe Blow is
It's possible, but because the term is "hot", it's unlikely.
"According to Wikipedia, Joe Blow is a Canadian citizen." Of course,
if Joe Blow _denies_ it, or if there is any significant opposition,
then we should "go meta" and not assert it ourselves, even if we think
Is there any difference between stating that a certain
studied at a university and stating that the person "is anti-Semitic"?
Perhaps I am making a fact-value distinction:
* studied at the university (fact)
* is anti-Semitic (value judgement)
I see the point you are making, except that being anti-Semitic isn't
always a value judgment, and is sometimes just a simple fact. It
turns out, of course, that in the vast majority of cases, the label is
Some people legitimately say "I'm not anti-Semitic, I just oppose the
specific policies of the Israeli government." Other people
illegitimately say "I'm not anti-Semitic, but I don't want Jews in my
But I guess there are some people who openly embrace the term.
I'm not really asking for a chorus of opinions
from the list, but an
authoritative, once-and-for-all pronouncement from the Founders.
Not my style, exactly, for better or worse. :-)
So how's this for a non-authoritative, tentative and subject to change
In almost all cases, it's better to go meta with a contentious label
like anti-Semitic. This need not involve soft-pedalling the issue.
Here's another possibly contentious term: "white supremacist". The
difference here is that the term is not as often applied to people who
don't accept the term. Saying that the KKK is a white supremacist
organization is uncontroversial, even though the term does carry with
it, to normal people, a negative moral judgment.
Here's a real website: http://www.jewwatch.com/
I only mention them to
condemn them and hold them up for ridicule. They are anti-Semitic,
and I'd feel comfortable with the Wikipedia saying so.