Google discriminates against Arab news sites

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Screen shot of Google News placement of stories Ray Hanania has written, showing how articles written by pro-Israel sources are given higher and longer placement on Google News searches while the original articles written by Arabs and Palestinians are played down in search results. This is the top portion of the page.
Screen shot of Google News placement of stories Ray Hanania has written, showing how articles written by pro-Israel sources are given higher and longer placement on Google News searches while the original articles written by Arabs and Palestinians are played down in search results. This is the top portion of the page.

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Google discriminates against Arab news sites

Google is one of the most important online news and information sites so when it discriminates against pro-Arab writing and promotes pro-Israel writings, there is something wrong. It’s racist, actually, and the Arab World should be aware of Google’s biases. Google needs to change. It’s about fairness, objectivity and non-discrimination

By Ray Hanania

Google is one of the most important online news and information sites so when it discriminates against pro-Arab writing and promotes pro-Israel writings, there is something wrong.

Having your website indexed by Google is important, specially if you are an online news organization like this online news and opinion website. There are so few news sites that present news, information and opinions on Arab American related issues.

So it is disturbing when Google uses its computer mathematical Algorithms to increase the presence of pro-Israel news and push down the presence of pro-Arab news, even pushing down objective pro-Arab news and anything that has to do with Arabs.

On November 30, 2017, I conducted an interview with the producers of the movie “Holy Air.” They included Palestinian Israeli Shady Srour and Jewish Israeli Ilan Moskovitch, both Israeli citizens. Srour and Moskovitch complained about how their new humor film was being shunned by the Arab World, but also facing challenges in Israel.

Screen shot of Google News placement of stories Ray Hanania has written, showing how articles written by pro-Israel sources are given higher and longer placement on Google News searches while the original articles written by Arabs and Palestinians are played down in search results. This is the top portion of the page.
Screen shot of Google News placement of stories Ray Hanania has written, showing how articles written by pro-Israel sources are given higher and longer placement on Google News searches while the original articles written by Arabs and Palestinians are played down in search results. This is the top portion of the page.

Why did I write it? I didn’t conduct the radio interview and write the story because I wanted to make Israel look bad. I didn’t conduct the radio interview and write the story because I wanted to make the Palestinians look bad. I wrote it to portray the reality of how Israelis and Palestinians live as citizens inside Israel. Palestinians do face discrimination in Israel and they face discrimination in the Arab World.

Yet Google News chose to suppress the reporting I did on the topic. The Google algorithm intentionally suppresses any news and opinion columns generated by writers who appear to be “pro-Arab” and from any online news site that appears to be “pro-Arab.”

The interview was originally broadcast on Yalla! Fight Back Arab Radio live in Detroit (on WNZK AM 690 radio) on November 13, 2107 and I immediately podcast the interview on my podcasting site (Click here). I also wrote a column about the interview for the Arab News Newspaper in the Gulf, (Click here), and a story for The Arab Daily News, (Click here), which included some criticism of how the Arabs resist promoting or defending Christian Arabs who live inside Israel who are not anti-Israel.

The column also detailed how Israel discriminates against Christians and Muslims inside Israel and inside the Israeli occupied territories.

Screen shot of Google News placement of stories Ray Hanania has written, showing how articles written by pro-Israel sources are given higher and longer placement on Google News searches while the original articles written by Arabs and Palestinians are played down in search results. This is the bottom portion of the page.
Screen shot of Google News placement of stories Ray Hanania has written, showing how articles written by pro-Israel sources are given higher and longer placement on Google News searches while the original articles written by Arabs and Palestinians are played down in search results. This is the bottom portion of the page.

The column received only scant attention from Google News and it was played down. You had to SEARCH FOR IT using certain keywords to find it. Google News DID NOT Include the news and opinion stories I wrote about it on their front page. They didn’t showcase it because the stories were critical of Israel even though they were ALSO critical of the Arab World.

The column was published on The Arab Daily News online website which has recently been the target of Google News suppression because the news website carries an open and freewheeling discussion about Israel, Palestine and the Arab World including criticism of Israel’s racist government. (I am NOT anti-Israel. I criticize Israel’s government policies the SAME WAY that I criticize American government policies and I criticize Arab World government polices like the tyranny and brutality of the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, a modernday Saddam Hussein.)

So Google News played it all down.

But guess what? When two pro-Israel news sites, the JNS Jewish News Service and often anti-Arab Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) republished the column with a new headline — “Palestinian-American columnist: Christian Arabs receive more support from Israel than from Muslim Arabs” — Google News gave it TOP PLACEMENT on its Google News algorithm. (The actual Arab news column headline was “Christian Arabs hardly receive any support from the Arab world.”) But in fairness to MEMRI and the JNS, the ran the column without one edit of its content, including criticism of Israel, something you don’t find in many of the too often biased Arab media.

Google barely gave the column any play when it appeared in the Arab News, and even less attention to the story that included the actual podcast and summary of the column and the experiences of Srour and Moskowitz.

Why?

Because Google plays politics with news. It’s not always objective and it gives pro-Israel writings far more “weight” in its search results than it give to pro-Arab writings. Google plays down anything that is pro-Palestinian, regardless of the quality of the writing or the quality of the author writing the stories.

I have won numerous professional journalism awards for writings that have spanned 45 years of covering Chicago City Hall politics, American politics and Middle East politics, which was the focus of my university studies at Northern Illinois University and later at the University of Illinois. Yet, my writings get kicked to the sidelines by Google.

Why? Because I am Arab. Because I am Palestinian. And even though I am Christian, they treat with the same disdain that the throw at Muslims.

Google is a part of the mainstream American news media which is rabidly racist against Arab and Palestinian rights. They pander to generic “Muslim” rights because most Muslims in America (78 percent) are non-Arab. The news media plays the same game of bias, only hiring Arabs who put their Arab pride in a locked suitcase and keep it buried. If you ever try to assert your pride, the way other ethnic and religious groups do all the time, you are harassed and fired from your jobs.

It’s a fact of the mainstream American news media.

The journalism industry is led by racist organizations like the National Association of Black Journalists which for years fought against including Arab journalists into UNITY: Journalists of Color. Only because of support from the Asian American Journalists have Arabs been included in UNITY, which supposedly was created to unify journalists across ethnic and racial lines and promote diversity. The other racist leadership is at the Society of Professional Journalists, which has some great chapters around the country but a national leadership that is driven by anti-Arab racism. The SPJ history of censoring its Arab members is documented, driven by pro-Israel activists and journalists intent on quelling the voices of Arab and Palestinian Americans.

Google is a part of this media bias.

The Google algorithm is driven by the same racist, discriminatory factors. The Arab World should recognize this and stop pandering to Google and other racist American computer technology companies that pander to Arab World wealth while libeling Arab and Muslim rights. Failing to act is a reflection of the corruption of the morality of the Arab World leadership and power elites. If they can’t stand up to Google, no wonder they can’t stand up to the war crimes and atrocities committed by Israel’s government against Palestinian civilians.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall reporter. His website is www.Hanania.com. You can email him at rghanania@gmail.com.)