Google Anti-Israel Probe
Google has launched an enquiry into its interactive atlas program Google Earth after a TJ investigation revealed the online mapping and navigation service is replete with anti-Israel propaganda.
Google Earth, which claims to provide “local facts” and “critical tools for understanding a story” about the world, also contains factually incorrect data and biased images relating to Israel and the Middle East.
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And while Google claims that it defines its state borders according to UN regulations, the Gaza Strip is still listed as being under Israeli occupation. However, Israel pulled out of Gaza and handed it to the Palestinian Authority two years ago.
Meanwhile, a posting next to the town of Kiryat Arba says: “Note the well-tended lawns in a region deprived of water.” Clicking on a weblink in the posting brings the user to a site which says “the principal reason for the water shortage is an unfair distribution of water resources shared by Israel and the Palestinians.” It goes on to decry Israel’s policy as both illegal and racist.
Elsewhere, visitors to Google Earth who click on the settlement of Kibbutz Revivim are shown an image of a wrecked C-47 plane. And just outside Jerusalem, a computer generated image, believed to have been taken from a computer game, claims to depict an Israeli missile factory.
The negative image given of Israel clearly outweighs any positive or even balanced portrayal of the country, which consists of just a handful of pictures of hotels and scenery in Eilat.
Professor Eric Moonman, President of the Zionist Federation, said: “It’s outrageous that an information centre and device like Google should be infiltrated like this.
“What it does mean is that we are mixing up an information centre with prejudice and potentially the views of nutters.”
After TJ alerted Google to the blatantly biased postings, a spokesperson insisted the company was not getting involved in politics, She said the comments and pictures are posted by members of the public who are registered members of the site’s Google Earth community, and can be switched off if visitors don’t want to see them.
However, the spokesperson promised that the company would investigate the offending postings.
And referring to the Gaza Strip error, she said: “Borders and place names are not always updated straight away. Occasionally there are discrepancies, we are happy to receive feedback and will pass it on to the Google Earth team and take the necessary steps.”
Click here to find out more about how Google Earth has been exploited and how you can redress the balance
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