As a reaction to the then Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik in 1957, the Internet was born in about 1958 when the US Department of Defense, and with about 10,000 primitive computers, began something called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Dr. J.C.R. Licklider was chosen to head this effort, and his vision for "interconnected communities" found the word "net" added to DARPA to then become DARPANET --- which later became the Internet.
The phrase World Wide Web (WWW) was really a popularization of the idea of a "web" of actual lines connecting one Internet user to another. It evolved from the creation of the first web browser by Tim Berners-Lee in 1980. Visited daily on the Internet, there are now many millions of "websites."
In 1970, there were a mere 1,000 Jews living in Boca Raton. By 1984, there were 33,700, and by 1999, there were 69,000. New demographic results to be published this week show 1 in 5 Palm Beach County residents are in fact Jewish.
Boca Raton and Delray Beach boasts the oldest Jewish population in the nation: 69 percent are age 65 and over; and Boca Raton itself has about 5,000 Jewish teenagers.
So it’s ironic that an anti-Semitic website, Jewwatch.com, would find a host in Boca Raton. But it did.
It’s further ironic that Palm Beach County is also the home of well-known white supremacist, racist, and anti-Semite Don Black in West Palm Beach. Based on Black’s website Stormfront.org, he’s a staunch supporter of Jewwatch.com.
An additional irony (and a separate part of this story) is that if you type the word "Jew" into Google, the world’s best known search engine, the just noted Jewwatch.com shows up at the very top of the search results.
Google’s official response to this?
"A site's ranking in Google's search results is automatically determined by computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page's relevance to a given query. Sometimes subtleties of language cause anomalies to appear that cannot be predicted. A search for "Jew" brings up one such unexpected result."
Google uses so-called "algorithms" in determining end search results. (A further irony is that the word "algorithm" is derived from the name of the 13th century Islamic mathematician Algorismi.)
The word "algorithm" is defined as "a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps." In explanation (not defense) of Google’s process, nationally known Consulting Programmer Seth Finklestein told The Boca News: "Google ranks popularity, not authority. It cannot distinguish between fame and infame. And popularity is a measure that is vulnerable to many games. Any system of evaluation is subject to manipulation."
Finklestein said Jewwatch.com showing up at the top of the Google search results from so-called "Google bombing."
The Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia defines a Google bomb as "a certain attempt to influence the ranking of a given page in results returned by the Google search engine."
This is accomplished through insuring that many sites have the same links, and then having those links refer back to one web page.
A Google bomb is thus created, and Google’s algorithms (based on popularity) then push the site further to the top of the list – ultimately resulting in Jewwatch.com being number one currently on Google’s search results when you type the word "Jew" into its search query box.
Finklestein said the practical reality is that such internet manipulation (euphemistically called "Search Engine Optimization" ) is more and more being "applied to extremist politics rather than commerce."
Examples of some of the most famous Google bombs are also expressions of political opinion (e.g. "liar" leading to British Prime Minister Tony Blair or "failure" leading to President George W. Bush.)
Google said last September: "We don't condone the practice of Google bombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results, but we're also reluctant to alter our results by hand in order to prevent such items from showing up. Pranks like this may be distracting to some, but they don't affect the overall quality of our search service, whose objectivity, as always, remains the core of our mission."
Google has "a history of near-stonewalling, and a well-known culture of secrecy," Finklestein said. "So I write about this from a technology and policy perspectives, trying to analyze the algorithmic reasons involved, and examine the implications. I don't do political lobbying of Google myself, but rather try to make the political lobbying more informed on all sides.
And like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in its defense of Nazis, Finklestein said, "my views are roughly that it's unreasonable to demand Google remove sites for being offensive, even extremely so -- that would be a bottomless tar pit."
He added, however: "But their algorithms have some very deep issues that are worth examining, and documenting these problems is part of that process."
On the home page of Jewwatch.com, it claims to be an educational archive. It goes on to say, however, that it’s "keeping a close watch on Jewish communities, organizations, monopoly, banking, and media control worldwide"
The home page contains categories such as "Jewish-Zionist-Soviet Anti-American Spies", "Jewish Communist Rulers & Killers", "Jewish Terrorists", and more.
"It is unarguably a site devoted to anti-Semitic "hate speech," Finklestein said. "However, such material, though repulsive, is completely protected under the United States Constitution First Amendment, though other countries may consider it illegal."
The problem, Finklestein said, is that "this objectionable site was the first result in a Google search for the word "Jew" – caused by the constant Google bombing.
What does Boca based host of this site, Hostgator.com, say about Jewwatch.com?
Hostgator.com began in Boca Raton in 2002, and now has more 200,000 clients; it uses a Dallas based firm, The Planet, as its server and connectivity provider.
Hostgator’s initial response to a Dec. 30 letter of complaint about Jewwatch.com (and it quoted from Jewwatch itself) was that Jewwatch is a "not-for-profit library for private study, scholarship, or research. This is not a hate site. This is a scholarly research archive of articles."
"That’s about as from reality as one can get," Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Southern Area Director Art Teitelbaum told the Boca News.
"Jewwatch is a model of hate -- a megaphone for anti-Semitism, and is run by what the attorney general of Missouri considers among other things, a scam artist, who’s accused of having concocted post Katrina websites designed to attract and reportedly misdirect innocent contributions by persons attempting to help those who suffered from the storm."
"Hostgator wasn’t initially aware of Jewwatch," Teitelbaum said. He said Jewwatch is "designed to fool those who reach it by appearing to be another straightforward web directory. At first glace, it might be thought to be benign until one scratches the surface and finds that it is a platform for anti-Jewish rhetoric and conspiracy theories."
"Now Hostgator is aware," Teitelbaum added, "and it’s completely in their discretion to decide whether they want to be a party to advancing these hateful objectives."
When contacted by the Boca News, Hostgator President Brent Oxley said that, and with more than 200,000 clients, he was not personally aware of Jewwatch.com until recently.
"We operate an honorable business. As soon as we were legally able to do so, we advised the site owner to take his business elsewhere" he said.
In 1995, West Palm Beach resident Don Black, now 51, created what is believed to be the Internet’s first hate site, Stormfront.org. Black says "Stormfront is a resource for those courageous men and women fighting to preserve their White Western culture, ideals and freedom of speech and association, a forum for planning strategies and forming political and social groups to ensure victory."
"Since its creation, Stormfront has served as a veritable supermarket of online hate, stocking its shelves with many forms of anti-Semitism and racism," says the ADL.
And from a Stormfront,org forum, Atlanta, GA member named Kilay came a specific reference to Jewwatch.com in 2004:
"Please, this is an honorable thing to do, it takes a little effort, but with all the support of Stormfront and its friends, we can do this to help spread the truth. The Jews have the power of the media, so we need to take it back from them and defeat them. Out of 3.7 million pages that come up from typing the word "Jew" into Google. Jewwatch used to be number one. Let's take it back."
Apparently that’s happened because at press time, typing the single word "Jew" into the Google search box continues to result in Jewwatch.com being the number one search result.
Frank Weltner runs Jewwatch.com. Based in Herndon, VA, he says Jewwatch.com is a scholarly site.
His critics point to Weltner’s own words in contradiction of the "scholarly site" assertion. Weltner has said, according to Wikipedia:
"Tolerance is a medical term which describes how America has been systematically and purposely poisoned by its government forcing citizens into living side-by-side with hostile races, cultures, attitudes, and religions. These are people who constantly hate, argue, vote against, and otherwise pick on the majority and work against its interests. This is why majorities should remove all minorities from their midst, for in this way only comes peace and quiet for anyone."
Weltner received an MA in English in 1969 from the University of Missouri at Columbia. He also has 18+ hours in Library Science and is certified as a teacher for life by the Department of Education of the State of Missouri.
According to Wikipedia, Weltner is a "racial separatist who believes that all races should live in their own nations, free from all other races."
The ADL is also aware of Weltner. On its website, ADL says "Jew Watch organizes its anti-Semitic materials much in the same way a popular Web directory might group more benign information."
The ADL says Weltner presents accusations that Jews were "behind the terrors caused by Russia's Communist regime in website link to a page called: "Jews, Communism, and the Job of Killing off the USSR's Christians."
"Jewish Genocides Today and Yesterday" on the website, "describes an alleged Jewish plan to deport non-Jews from the US in 1946, the ADL said, adding that the site also contains Adolf Hitler's writings, transcripts of Father Charles Coughlin's anti-Semitic radio broadcasts in the early part of the 20th century, "and the text of Henry Ford Sr.'s bigoted ‘International Jew’ ."
"The larger issue," according to ADL’s Teitelbaum, "is the use that haters and bigots of all stripes have made of the Internet. They’ve taken a high-tech, low-cost valuable medium, and perverted it to advance the ideas of hate, divisiveness and a variety of bigotries.
"Weltner is clearly a callous, calculating neo-Nazi who combines old school hateful ideas with modern technology -- the Internet has been a boon for bigots," he said.
"And what do we learn from all of this," Teitelbaum asks?
"There is a constituency of hate in America -- a sub-culture," he said, "and one exploited by individuals like Weltner and Don Black whose ideologies reject the very notion of living harmoniously."
"They spit in the face of the founders of this great country, and all that makes America a great nation."