Shorts: Bay Area

Google rejects senator’s call to alter ‘Jew’ search

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called for online search engine Google to manually alter the search results for the word “Jew.”

Google, however, has refused to toy with its results.

Currently, the hate site is ranked first of 1.75 million Web pages in a search for “Jew.” The rankings are based on Google’s complex set of algorithms discerning a Web site’s “relevance” via the number of sites with a forwarding link to it in addition to the prominence of those sites.

An effort by the Web log to encourage links to the site placed the online encyclopedia’s definition of “Jew” at No. 1 at press time, and both and flip-flpped in and out of the top spot throughout Wednesday, April 14. had been the uncontested top site for several years, previously.

While acknowledging that Google has removed listings for sites that promoted illegal activities, David Krane, the site’s director of corporate communication, said Google does not tinker with the results of its search algorithm.

He noted that Google has received enough feedback about the search results for “Jew” that it posted an online explanation of how its system works at:

“If you use Google to search for ‘Judaism’, ‘Jewish’ or ‘Jewish people’, the results are informative and relevant. So why is a search for “Jew” different? One reason is that the word ‘Jew’ is often used in an anti-Semitic context,” postulates “The Google Team” on the Web page listed above.

“Our search results are generated completely objectively and are independent of the beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google. The only sites we omit are those we are legally compelled to remove or those maliciously attempting to manipulate our results.”

Holocaust denier’s campus visits irk Jews

Jonathan Bernstein doesn’t understand why San Jose State University can’t kick its Holocaust denier habit.

The regional director of the Anti-Defamation League chided SJSU for allowing denier Bradley Smith to appear on campus for the third time since 1998 on Tuesday, April 6, the first day of Passover.

Smith, a self-proclaimed revisionist, also spoke at U.C. Berkeley the next day as part of a campaign to “keep Holocaust revisionists out of prison.”

Eyewitnesses told j. about a dozen people showed up for Smith’s San Jose speech, with a number of hostile audience members present. J. was unable to discern how many attended the Berkeley speech.

Bernstein was also frustrated that both SJSU’s Daily Spartan and U.C. Berkeley’s Daily Californian student newspapers accepted Smith’s ads plugging the speaking engagements.

Victoria Monroe, the Spartan Daily’s advertising manager, said she never would have accepted one of Smith’s ideological broadsides, which he often directs at college papers. But, as he was appearing on campus, she felt the community had a right to know Smith would be speaking.

Three-part forum on anti-Semitism

Congregation Kol Shofar will present a forum titled “Anti-Semitism: New Perspectives on an Old Theme,” on three consecutive Wednesday evenings beginning April 21.

Speakers include Rabbi Lavey Derby, Rabbi Henry Shreibman and the Rev. Bruce Bramlett. Topics to be discussed include the origins of anti-Semitism and other issues that affect Jews and non-Jews alike.

The forums take place 7 to 9 p.m. April 21, April 28 and May 5 at Congregation Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon. Admission is free. For information, call (415) 388-1818 or online at

Stanford and U.C. presidents earn kudos from Koret

Stanford University President John Hennessy and University of California President Robert Dynes are being recognized for their outstanding contributions to education, and their institutions will each receive $1 million grants from the Koret Foundation.

The two will be honored Friday, May 7, at a luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, during which they will discuss the future of education and education policy. U.C. President Emeritus Richard Atkinson, who serves on Koret’s board of directors, will facilitate.