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Google, Jews, Zionism and the problem

Google has a problem. The problem is exactly the same as that of elections in a lawless land. Google results are largely a popularity contest. Ok, thereís a bit more to it... how a page looks also has something to do with it. As does the pageís family and their influence. But at the end of the day, itís largely popularity that wins.

A family tale (of Zionism and Israel?)

Let me deconstruct that. How a page "looks" means how it appears to a search engine. It related to how often a target term is used in the page. This is known as word density. It also makes a difference what you put in headings. So something like...

Googling for Jews and Zionism

Will no doubt prove very popular to a web spider... thought it may look rather out of place to you and I. Think about it, what does any of this have to do with either Jews or Zionism? (oops, the spider is getting excited again!)

The pageís family, that is, the other pages hosted at the same site (or more correctly on the same server) also play a role. The more extensive your family the more influence you have. The more important individual members of your family are... the more help it is when they "drop your name". Then there is the extended family, websites owned by friends and political allies. As they are seen as independent, what they have to say about you is even more helpful. Specially (as before) if they are important friends.

But at the end of the day your friends and family are only so big. And lets face it, no one really believes your family when they praise you endlessly... itís always taken with a pinch of salt. So now popularity becomes important. It is important people talk about you. The more publicity the better. There is no such thing as bad publicity. In fact each time you are mentioned, you get a vote. Even if there person talking about is going on about how hopeless you are... the web spider doesnít speak English so it doesnít care. All it knows is that YOU were mentioned. And that makes you popular. And that makes you important.

Why is this a family tale of Jews and Zionism? Because Jews and Zionism were mentioned in the heading and THAT makes both Jews and Zionism (not to mention "Jews and Zionism") an important theme in this section... at least to a webcrawler!

It was because of this that a site "jewwatch.com" became the top site for a google search for Jews. An effort was made to make other sites popular, but as more and more people kept providing links to "that site" each time they mentioned it... it's popularity grew and grew. Not only that but the far right started a campaign to mention it as much as possible. You can read the full story at Seth Finkelstein's site on google Jewwatch and antisemitism . Some extracts and my comments on them are below.

Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism (or anti-semitism)

The Jewwatch "google optimization" was the first well publicised antisemitic use of google. In a few countries the response has been to BLACKLIST "that site" from regional google sites. This is because Google itself would be breaking local laws if it provided the link. In the USA on the other hand, the first amendment means the right to spread hate like this is protected... and with out the legal push google does not see the need the do anything about the problem.

"The factors that Google uses to rank pages have long been a target for financial ends (i.e., Google-spam). But parallel to that, and less deeply examined than it should be, is the potential targeting for political ends... Political campaigning is a process of manipulating information, and as search engines become more important as sources of information, we can expect more and varied creative attempts at manipulation." - Seth Finkelstein

In fact, a google search for Zionism will show that this campaign is well established. Search for Palestinian and you get a whole collection on things Palestinian. Search for Zionism and you get... a whole collection of things Palestinian (along with other antisemitic material). There is a quiet war going on and most of us haven't noticed.

The war targets specific terms likely to be searched for (particularly by students) and then feeds them propaganda. It takes established fact (like the holocaust) and refers to these as "so called 'holocaust'". More subtle are reference to a "Palestinian Holocaust" that never happened. The Palestinian propagandists are good. They even went so far as to produce an anti-Israel poster that used the image of the entrance to Auschwitz. In the UK as the "Stop the War" slogan became popular (as the left rose up in opposition to the war in Iraq) the Palestinian propagandists hijacked the slogan so it read "Stop the war! - Free Palestine!" What does the one have to do with the other? Why must anyone who is opposed to the war in Iraq automatically become a supporter of terror attacks against Israeli civilians? But it's that group from the left who define the politics and insist people must "understand" terrorism (though the Mayor of London qualifies that as saying only so long as it is in Israel). Even more amusing is the hijacking of the a-political campaign to "make poverty history". You guessed it! "Make Palestinian Poverty History - End Israeli Occupation". I wonder if they care at all for the millions who die each year of poverty? I'm guessing not. After all, the people we're talking about, those who are so good at manipulating google, are full time propagandists - the bleeding heart is only for show, and usually even the show they leave to others.

What's the solution? The only one for now is a defensive war. The only way to do this is to put up educational material and link to it so that this and not the propaganda is read by students when they do their home work. Otherwise, a decade from now the world will be a very dark place indeed.

Notice - This article is (c) Andre Oboler, 2005 for use at Zionism on the web. You may reprinted it provided a link back to this original copy is provided. A general link to Zionism and Israel on the Web (ZionismOnTheWeb.org) would be also greatly appreciated.

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Wikipedia article about Zionism - A comprehensive article including the history of Zionism  as well as links to specific topics and articles about anti-Zionism.

Zionism - Table of contents at the Jewish Virtual Library

Zionism article at Infoplease

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Labor Zionism - Early History and Critique - Contribution of Labor Zionism to the creation of the Jewish state, and problems of Labor Zionism in a changing reality.

The US Library of congress has a comprehensive and balanced set of articles about Zionism:

Zionist Precursors - US Library of Congress

Political Zionism - US Library of Congress

Cultural Zionism - US Library of Congress

Labor Zionism - US Library of Congress

Revisionist Zionism - US Library of Congress

Essential Texts of Zionism

Jewish Agency Zionism pages - Links to basic information about Zionism from the Jewish Agency

Ambassador Herzog explains Zionism in the UN


Active Zionism - A Zionist advocacy site with many useful links

Realistic Religious Zionism - moderate religious Zionist Web site

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