Following the return of The Canadian Jewish News in January 2021, we increasingly fielded questions about why “anti-Semitism” remained the spelling in our news reports and other content.
During our publication hiatus of 2020, historian Deborah Lipstadt gained more attention for her campaign calling for the lower-case, no-hyphen spelling of “antisemitism,” reflecting concerns that highlighting the word “Semitism” legitimized a form of pseudo-scientific racial classification.
While opinions on changing it initially varied across the Jewish news media and community institutions, the debate was generally settled in the U.S. on April 23, when the Associated Press announced a change to the stylebook whose rules are followed by most major publications:
The CJN didn’t make the change in tandem, even if it seemed inevitable that the Canadian Press—which follows AP’s lead in spellings that aren’t entrenched as distinct from our marvellous neighbours—would eventually make it official.
Still, many major publications in Canada, including the National Post and the rest of the Postmedia Network, have continued to favour “anti-Semitism” for the past three months.
But on July 21, a day in which antisemitism was big news due to a national summit, The CJN confirmed with The Canadian Press Stylebook editor James McCarten that a forthcoming print revision will reflect a change destined for adoption by all mainstream newsrooms.
“We are dropping the hyphen and capital S from the word antisemitism to reflect the preference of Jewish organizations that say the previous spelling gave undue credence to a discredited and racist theory about Jewish lineage,” reads the explanation.
While the revised 2022 stylebook is still in the process of being compiled by CP, this adjustment already appears in the online version.
And now “antisemitism” will be standard for all content from The CJN.