Jewish advocacy groups, critics react after Google’s definition for the word ‘Jew’ showed offensive terms
Jewish advocacy organizations and social media users are speaking out Tuesday after it emerged that Google’s leading definition for the word ‘Jew’ showed offensive terms.
Until around 1 p.m. ET this afternoon, a search for the word “Jew” on Google had the engine telling users that the word is an offensive verb.
The top definition that appeared in search results described the word Jew as to “bargain with someone in a miserly or petty way,” with the origin being “in reference to old stereotypes associating Jewish people with trading and moneylending.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, in a statement to Fox News Digital, said “This does not appear to be an error but a manipulation to present anti-Semitic definition as main use of word.”
What the Google search engine was temporarily displaying as the top definition for the word “jew.”
“Google owes explanation of who did this and why,” it added.
When asked by Fox News Digital about the matter, Google flagged a tweet by Danny Sullivan, its public liaison for Search, giving its explanation of what happened.
“Our apologies. Google licenses definitions from third-party dictionary experts,” the tweet said. “We only display offensive definitions by default if they are the main meaning of a term. As this is not the case here, we have blocked this & passed along feedback to the partner for further review.”
The website, around 1 p.m. ET, changed the leading definition again to the noun form.
The ordering of the definitions also has been drawing criticism on Twitter.
“Deeply troubling that @Google artificial intelligence fails to recognize obvious antisemitic hate speech in featured search results for the term ‘Jew,’” the World Jewish Congress tweeted.
“When one enters ‘jew’ into the Google search engine, a grotesque antisemitic trope comes up. This is in unacceptable @Google,” wrote StopAntisemitism, which describes itself as a “Leading non-partisan American based organization fighting antisemitism.”
“I couldn’t believe it so I googled it myself… hey @Google, what’s antisemitism?” added Elad Strohmayer, a spokesman for the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.
Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.