April 7, 2004 10:27 AM PDT

Google caught in anti-Semitism flap

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Search site Google has been drawn into a controversy during the week of Passover over a search listing that directs viewers to an anti-Semitic site when they enter the keyword "Jew."

The dispute began several weeks ago, when Steven Weinstock, a New York real estate investor and former yeshiva student, did a Google search on "Jew." The first site returned was Jew Watch, a site filled with short articles focusing on alleged Jewish conspiracies and other anti-Semitic topics, with headings such as "Jewish Controlled Press" and "Jewish Mind Control Mechanisms." The administrator of Jew Watch did not respond to an e-mail message requesting comment.

Weinstock has launched an online petition, asking Google to remove the site from its index. He said if Google receives 50,000 requests to remove the site, it will comply. As of late Tuesday, the petition had about 2,800 signatures.

"Google is the No. 1 search site, and the fact that the first search result would yield an anti-Semitic site is all too common in a growing era of increased anti-Semitism," he wrote in his introduction to the petition.

The petition site appeared to have been hacked on Wednesday, however. Clicking on links to view or sign the petition brought up pages with pornographic images, plus the message, "This guestbook is for The most LAMEST petition ever."

Google spokesman David Krane said the company's search results are determined by a complex set of algorithms that measure factors such as how many sites link to a given page. The company can't and won't change the ranking for Jew Watch, regardless of how many signatures the petition attracts, he said.

"Google's search results are solely determined by computer algorithms that essentially reflect the popular opinion of the Web," he said. "Our search results are not manipulated by hand. We're not able to make any manual changes to the results."

Krane said the ranking for Jew Watch is largely based on changing vocabulary patterns. "Jew" has been used less and less in mainstream society since Word War II, replaced by less culturally loaded terms such as "Jewish person." Google searches for "Jewish," "Jewish person" and "Jewish people" are all topped by pro-Jewish sites, including a number of Jewish dating services.

That's still not good enough for another online organization, however, which has launched its own effort to push Jew Watch off Google via "Google bombing," a technique that exploits Google's search methodology of basing rankings on how many sites link to a given page. Daniel Sieradski, through his influential Web log Jewschool, is urging visitors to pepper any sites they control with links to the entry on "Jew" in online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Numerous other Google-bombing campaigns, ranging from pranks to a serious attempt to raise awareness of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, have emerged, since Google began dominating the search market.

Krane said he wasn't familiar with the Jewschool campaign but that Google typically discourages such tactics to manipulate search results.


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Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Censorship only hurts.
Although it doesnt apply here because Google is a private company and not the government, its important to remember that the First Amendment was created to protect unpopular speech. If it were popular, it wouldnt need protection.

Just because you dont approve of their point of view doesnt automatically remove their right to express it. Google does not exist to please you, nor does it exist solely to spread only good information.

Although I do not necessarily agree with their views I certainly would find it disturbing if it were removed. Suppose I want to research something like this, but I cant because a tiny minority of the Internet didnt like it. Trust me when I say, that is not a road you want to go down.

If you get Google to remove a page you dont like, you have given the people who made that page the very same right to complain about things you may like, and have your favored content removed as well.

This all boils down to people who think they are doing good by trying to repress things they dont like, and it doesnt work.

The Internet is a wild place, you roll the dice when you click that mouse and thats the price you pay for having a nearly infinite supply of information.

Information is not good or evil, only what you do with it.
Posted by (28 comments )
Link Flag
And Next?
Shouldn't the pro-semetic be removed as well?
Posted by wouter werner (5 comments )
Link Flag
some algorithms more "complex" than others!?
On the one hand I find censorship troubling--though as long as academic search engines exist which make it possible to find extremist or countercultural sites, I could tolerate commercial engines such as Google blocking some things. But the idea that Google's "algorithms" are capable of launching sponsored sites to the top but not re-positioning others is preposterous; if not a lie, then an bad excuse. Google should either declare that it won't do this as a matter of policy or say honestly that it's studying the question, but please don't insult us with lies about what your software can do!
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
algorithm excuse is bogus
Google is cloaking itself in opaque language in the hope that we won't recognize the real motivation for the top ranking of the "Jew-watch" web site. Just check other search engines, say, Yahoo's, or Ask Jeeves, and you won't find "Jew-watch" anywhere near the top. No the reason this hate mongering site is nestled comfortably at Google's #1 spot is due to good old-fashioned capitalism. Someone, somewhere, is paying mighty big bucks for that enviable ranking.
Complex algorithms, indeed. Just how dumb do they think we are?
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
google /jews
read your article and followed some links. Imagine my suprice ; Stalin wasn't a paranoid sick little murdering thug he was part of a jewish conspiricy. These people can't even lie in a convincing manner. Personnally I don't think google has done anything wrong. Computers algorithims will spit out crap on occastions but this one has some great possiblities. Imagine if this page had some of the real (lol) parts of zionism
1.hemmeroirds were invented by moses
2.the canadian government is made of jews who were just to stupid to pass the test
3.dinosaurs where murdered by the jews
4. the large black hole at the center of our galaxy is really part of the isreali armed forces
5. the best wines in the world are being kept from us by the jews ( this is apperently true but then again the baron rothchild did grow,bottle and store the vintage for over a hundred years.

what can you say these people are a brick short. Maybe we should give them heroin so the have a real problem to work on or maybe we should just send them to antartica (I understand the contentent doesn't really care for jews either (it has something to do with jews being part of the human race as I understand it). Have a good day and remember their e-mail address "idiots@reallydumb.org"
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
remove what
censorship never works. if civilization can't handle the rantings of a few (in trms of the earths pop.) madmen then we have no hope anyway and jim jones and his poisoned kool-aid may be the only answer. You should check out the page it contains links to some of the stupest claims you'll ever read, I'd still be laughing except for my migrane and the fact that these are sick little puppies who need a major course in toilet training
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Really stupid.
Google is not promoting or demoting anything. Its just a search engine! People do have different opinions and express them on websites. Its stupid that people are askin google to remove information from the database just because they do not like to see it. If google heeds to all these requests from everyone, one day it will be left with nothing at all.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Google changed results before
see Google-Church of Scientology story.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://directory.google.com/Top/Society/Issues/Intellectual_Property/Copyrights/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act/Google_Erasure_of_Anti-Scientology_Links/" target="_newWindow">http://directory.google.com/Top/Society/Issues/Intellectual_Property/Copyrights/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act/Google_Erasure_of_Anti-Scientology_Links/</a>

the Church sued Google on sites against the church and Google removed the offending sites. Google is part of the media.. more people (37% of internet users) use google then read a single newspaper! Google should be responsible for its acts. I dont think they should remove the site... but if they lowered its ranking to #15 it will be fine by me.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Google executives always lie.
Every Google executive is a PR person, still trying to get us all to believe that their search results are pure and sacred. It has been proven that they in their vanted Algo's favor websites that run Adsense Ads. They offer to lead you to more results from pages that run Adsense in the SERP's, rather than those who do not run Adsense. Anyone who believes anything that Google executives say about their pure search results, must have gotten the first Google Brain Implants installed.
Posted by anthonycea (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Very sad situation
I find it so sad that there are still people who hate other groups because they have different beliefs.

People who pedal such garbage in the name of education are truly hypocrites. They educate others like themselves in bigotry, segregation, distortion, and worst of all narrow mindedness.

Educating the world about sites like this will put an end to them.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
What happen to free speech. Doesn't it apply to the Jewish people. We have several Jewish people in our group that are ashamed that this is causing Google a hassle. I say forget the stupidness of the whole thing. Get real folks.
Posted by Richie7 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The way I was taught, right or wrong
My step-father(who raised me from 2 years till his death) was Jewish by birth but not really a religious man. However one thing he believed in was the U.S.A. freedom of speech and expression, even if he disagreed, was any citizens given right.
As much as I dispise racism of any kind I still believe the IDIOT RACISTS have the right to express thier opinions.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google surgests using Jewish or Judaism as search keywords instead to avoid the rambling of rabid, rogues. A message saying disturbed by these results so are we and then offers the advice described previously. You might think that isn't enough I agree but what else to do is a tought call, especially with Google 1st amendment cultural base and the bad Publicity concern the Chinese deal.
Posted by GentleinaJsoc (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Oh right so if google bows down to Mr Weinstock, can all gentiles fly the flag in the fight against Jewitude of our search engines and in doing so make hundreds of hateful blogs/youtube channels, facebook accounts and leave thousands of negative messages on News websites etc at this outrage?

Because I know a certain blog that are a lot more popular than Jewwatch and a lot more hateful too but all legally of course and a lot more Jew friendly? What do you say Jews, pot, kettle and black?
Posted by Adam141435 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

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