French newspaper Le Monde issued a report using search query data to argue that the French are pre-occupied with whether their leaders (and would-be leaders) are Jewish. According to AFP, data from Google’s search suggest/auto-complete function indicates that French people are routinely searching on politicians’ names followed by the world “juif,” which means “Jewish” in French.
The article says:
Along with terms such as “IMF” and “2012″ — for those interested in [Dominique Strauss-Kahn's] global finance work or prospects in next year’s French presidential election — the fourth commonest search offered in French is “dominique strauss kahn juif” (Jewish) . . .
The Le Monde report’s author Stephane Foucart wrote that his findings reflected “a subtle and latent form of anti-Semitism, which seems only to manifest itself when face to face with a computer.”
An analysis of English-language searches apparently did not reveal the same prevalence of queries about Jewish identity. Not everyone, however, believes that French searchers are anti-Semitic:
Jean-Yves Camus, a Jewish political scientist specialising in anti-Semitism, interpreted the Autcomplete effect differently, seeing it as a natural “phenomenon of curiosity” in a country with by far the biggest Jewish community in Europe.
France, like most of the rest of Europe, has a long history of anti-Semitism. In the modern era (post WWII) governments have passed numerous laws and tried to be vigilant about outbreaks.
In he past decade, however, anti-Semitism has been on the increase in Europe. Search suggest reflects that despite long-standing French cultural norms against open expression of anti-Semitism it may have gone underground.