by Thomas Badham
Wales has been identified as the source of the highest number of anti-Semitic Google searches in the UK, according to a new report from the Community Security Trust (CST).
The CST collected data from Google searches since 2004. Alarmingly, Wales is the area with the highest rate of anti-semitic Google searches by a significant margin, at 7.9% above the national average. This is followed by England at 1.9% above average, whilst figures for Northern Ireland and Scotland were both found to be below average.
This report comes weeks after research published on Holocaust Memorial Day found one in twenty Brits deny the existence of the Holocaust. The CST’s study found that antisemitic searches peak on this day, with a 30% rise in searches for information on the Holocaust being a hoax each year.
One fifth of the searches were for negative stereotypes of Jewish people, whilst 10% of searches contained either violent language or portrayed violent intentions.
The most common antisemitic searches were for jokes, which accounted for almost half of all enquiries. Those searching for jokes were also found to be one hundred times more likely to search for racist jokes using racist language.
Though the study’s author, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, acknowledges that “it is impossible to know for sure” if searches are made by a people with antisemitic attitudes, it is apparent that Wales is disproportionately exhibiting these prejudices privately online.
However, the presence of the far right has manifested itself in Wales offline. Last March the right-wing extremist group System Resistance Network claimed Cardiff as a ‘Nazi zone’ in graffiti featuring swastikas, leading to calls from Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty for the group to be banned.
Referrals to the anti-extremism group Prevent have risen by over a third in the last two years, but how effective these interventive measures prove remains to be seen.