Argentinian Jewish group gets Google to nix hate ads

Search engine's "suggest" options had been directing people to anti-Semitic websites which violated incitement to violence laws.

May 18, 2011 18:29
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An Argentinean judge on Tuesday ordered Internet giant Google to remove “suggested” results for anti-Semitic websites which appeared on its popular search engine.

The injunction was issued in response to a petition made by Argentina’s Jewish umbrella organization DAIA, which claimed promoting anti-Semitic content violated the country’s laws against incitement of violence.

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“We discovered there was a lot of anti-Semitic material online, and that it was accessible via Google,” said Cladudio Epelman of the Latin American Jewish Congress on Wednesday. “Their ‘suggest’ option directed people to anti-Semitic sites, so we petitioned a judge who agreed with us and asked them to remove such content.”

For instance, one of the most popular searches listed by Google’s Argentinean search engine listed “Jews” and “soap” – a reference to the alleged practice by the Nazis of using Jewish corpses to manufacture soap.

Another complaint made by the DAIA was that Google profited from placing ads on anti-Semitic websites.

“Google makes money from anti-Semitic websites and allows them to make money,” Epelman said. “It may not be intentional, but it’s a fact.”

In his ruling the judge urged Google to cease such commercial activities.

Asked if the injunction did not infringe on people’s freedom of expression, Epelman responded by saying he believed it protected the country’s citizens.

“We certainly support such rights, but this is a crime according to the law – and the law marks the limit of one’s freedom of speech,” he said.

According to Epelman, Google has three days to respond if it wishes to overturn the injunction.

The court action was made possible by the work of the Observatorio WEB, a joint operation by DAIA, the Latin American Jewish Congress (the World Jewish Congress’ regional affiliate), and AMIA.

DAIA announced that it would continue to denounce any form of discrimination, in particular anti-Semitism.

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