‘Petty, miserly’? Following outrage, Google corrects antisemitic definition of ‘Jew’

A search for the definition of ‘Jew’ on Google showed shockingly antisemitic results on Tuesday.

By World Israel News Staff

Until about 1 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Tuesday, Google defined ‘Jew’ in offensive terms such as ‘petty’ and ‘miserly,’ Fox News reported. Such descriptions are based on centuries-old antisemitic tropes.

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 report said.

It was only farther down where Jew was described as “a member of the people and cultural community whose traditional religion is Judaism and who trace their origins through the Hebrew people of Israel to Abraham.”

Indeed, ‘Jew’ is a noun, according to the second – and correct – definition.

Fox News Digital reached out to Google for a statement on the matter.

“Dictionary boxes show definitions from third-party expert sources and might include related images, pronunciations, translations, and other information,” a page on Google’s support website says, Fox noted.

In a section on the site regarding the source for Google’s definitions, the company says it “doesn’t create, write, or modify definitions” and that “Dictionary results don’t reflect the opinions of Google.”

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“We license definitions, which include examples, similar and opposite words, and origins, from third-party experts who compile dictionaries…

“Our partners label these terms as vulgar, derogatory, or otherwise offensive to provide proper context about them. We only display an offensive definition by default when it’s the main meaning of the term.”

The reactions came immediately. Some examples:

“Really @Google? This is your go-to definition for ‘Jew?’ Jew hatred has gone completely mainstream. Disgusting,” tweeted Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project and a founder of the End Jew Hatred movement.

“When one enters ‘jew’ into the Google search engine, a grotesque antisemitic trope comes up. This is unacceptable @Google,” Americans Against Antisemitism tweeted, demanding an immediate explanation.

Israeli diplomat Elad Strohmayer weighed in, saying,“I couldn’t believe it so I googled it myself… hey @Google, what’s antisemitism? This is shocking.”

Aviva Klompas, associate vice president, Israel and Global Jewish Citizenship at Combined Jewish Philanthropies, demanded a correction and an apology.

“If you @Google “Jew” the dictionary definition that comes up can be seen below. This demands immediate attention @Google – an apology, a correction, and a commitment that it never happens again,” she wrote.

By early afternoon, the leading definition provided by the search engine was the noun.