Quantifying the rise in global antisemitism by evaluating the increase in antisemitic Google search queries since the events of October 7
There has been an 1800% increase in people searching on Google for the term “kill Jews”
Since October 2023, people searching for the term “Hitler was right” has increased 122%
The terms “intifada revolution,” “From the river to the sea,” and “Glory to our martyrs” have all skyrocketed in search frequency, jumping above 10,000%
Google searches drive more than 50% of web traffic, with estimates putting the number of searches per day at more than eight billion. The search terms people use on Google are a litmus test for what the public is looking to consume and a guide to their overall interests and sentiments.
For this reason, it’s instructive to understand how user behavior has changed on the search engine since the events in Israel of October 7, 2023. Specifically, are we seeing a marked increase in the number of people running anti-Semitic searches on Google? If so, what might this tell us about the state of antisemitism across the globe?
To find these answers, we pulled data from Semrush, the well-established digital marketing platform. Specifically, we looked at search volumes for particular keywords in September 2023 compared to October 2023.
In simple terms, the data we collected looked at the increase in how often specific search terms on Google were used immediately prior to and then following the Hamas attack on October 7.
The keywords analyzed were:
From the river to the sea
Glory to our martyrs
By all means necessary
Why did Hitler hate the Jews
Hitler was right
Are Jews bad
Why are Jews bad
Here are the results of our research.
Google Search Data Shows An Increase In Potential Violence Against Jews
One of the starkest, most striking data points was the dramatic increase in the propensity for people to search on Google for the term “Kill Jews.”
Between September 2023 and October 2023, the data indicated a striking 1800% rise in the number of Google searches for the troubling keyword.
This is particularly noteworthy since the intent behind the search term is virtually undeniable. There is no ambiguity behind which to hide.
In contrast, while the term “Are Jews bad” saw an increase of 182%, one could plausibly argue that these searches were, at least in part, exploratory. Perhaps, it could be argued, that as people watched the news unfold while also listening to the vocal protests, Google users were searching for the term without any malicious intent toward Jews.
Alternatively, one could understand the keywords’ intent as confirming the user’s initial sentiment about Jews. That is, the user may already see Jews in a negative light so that searching for “Are Jews bad” becomes just a means for some sort of verification.
The data appears to lend credence to the latter explanation. Aside from the drastic increase in the usage of the search term “Kill Jews,” the data points to a 460% hike in users searching for the (arguably related) term “Why are Jews bad.” On its face, that term already assumes that Jews are bad and is merely looking for the underlying casualty to support its clearly antisemitic premise.
When grouped together, this set of keywords clearly points to a sharp rise in antisemitism that goes beyond pure rhetoric. As such, the data points to an alarming trend that should raise serious concerns for the safety of the Jewish community worldwide.
Indeed, as of September 2023, there were practically 0 Google searches that registered for the term “Kill Jews” within the Semrush data set. A month later, after the attacks of October 7, the data set began to register the use of the search term in a real and significant manner. We went from not seeing the term register in the data set at all to seeing the search query accrue more than a substantial amount of monthly Google searches (approximately 500 in the US over 30 days).
Interestingly, a year earlier, during October 2022 there was a noticeable and significant increase in the frequency of searches for “Kill Jews.” At the time, the term hit a monthly search volume of 170, coinciding with Kanye West’s use of antisemitic language, in tandem with NBA star Kyrie Irving’s own antisemitic controversy. The rhetoric of both the singer and the NBA player raised grave concerns and resulted in the public spread of antisemitism.
However, the acceleration seen in 2022 pales in comparison to the spike seen just one year later where, again, as of September 2023 the number of instances recorded in the dataset was virtually 0.
This is why the current trend is of such grave concern.
Data Also Points To An Increase In Violence Associated With Antisemitic Rhetoric
The astronomical increase in searches for “Kill Jews” is made more significant by a broader pattern that shows antisemitic rhetoric has become significantly more “in vogue” since the October 7 attacks.
While the search volume for the term “Kill Jews” falls below 1,000 searches in the US (as of the end of October 2023), it is, nevertheless part of a concerning pattern.
Searches that touch on antisemitic tropes that signal violence against Jews are on the rise; these terms have, in fact, registered in the data set for some time.
For example, the search term “Hitler was right” was run 720 times in September 2023 according to Semrush (US only). It jumped 120% to 1,600 monthly searches (US) after the events of October 7.
This, along with a 25% increase in the implementation of “By all means necessary,” qualifies the 80% increase in searches for “Why did Hitler hate the Jews.”
One could argue that such a term is informational. Couldn’t the user simply be looking to clarify some facts? However, the wider trends surrounding the keywords could very well imply that many users are looking to justify their own Jew-hatred.
Massive Increases In Searches For Antisemitic Slogans On Google
The patterns around keywords such as “Kill Jews,” “Hitler was right,” and “By all means necessary” perhaps help qualify search behavior around terms that aren’t obviously related and thus appear to be less glaringly offensive, keywords like “From the river to the sea” or “Intifada.”
Such terms have been widely used at pro-Palestine/anti-Israel demonstrations. While each term has come under heavy fire for their antisemitic history and implications, many argue they can also be used within a more neutral context.
Of the four keywords shown in the chart above, three have seen more than a 10,000% increase in search frequency on Google since September 2023.
The fourth term, “Intifada,” has a relatively consistent amount of Google searches over the same period. For example, as of September 2023, the term was searched on Google 4,400 times (US). Just a month later the usage frequency increased by 3,650% to a whopping 165,000 searches (US).
The keyword “From the river to the sea” has drastically increased by 15,000%, reaching close to 100,000 monthly searches in the US alone at the end of October 2023. Keep in mind this is a phrase that is both a part of Hamas’ official charter and also led to the US Congress censuring one of its own members for using it.
Both the terms “Intifada revolution” and “Glory to our martyrs” went from absolute obscurity, just a month prior, to being used 2,400 each month, according to the data set. This represents a nearly 12,000% increase in monthly Google searches for both terms.
Of additional interest, the increase in searches for the latter term, “Glory to our martyrs” is particularly alarming, as it is far more explicitly violent and antisemitic.
It substantiates the points that have been reinforced throughout this article: The wider trends provide context for some of the more “ambiguous” keywords, thereby clarifying user intentions for their implementation.
The Rise of Antisemitic Google Searches Internationally
Until now we’ve focused on antisemitic search term usage after the October 7 massacre in just the US. However, these increases are a global phenomenon.
To highlight this, data was pulled not only from the US but also from:
For brevity's sake let’s focus on just two keywords:
From the river to the sea
The increase in the implementation of the search term “Intifada” post-October 7 is relatively universal. The largest increase was found in the UK (4,500%), the smallest appeared in Turkey (2,400%). Keep in mind that discrepancies may also be due to the overall size of the data set in each region.
In terms of raw numbers, France was second to only the US with 60,500 searches for “Intifada” following the October 7 massacre.
Like the US, the term “From the river to the sea” saw substantially larger increases globally relative to the keyword “Intifada.” The outlier among this group was Germany, where usage “only” increased 3,800%. That’s compared to the UK and France, where the data points to 23,500% and 14,500% increases, respectively. (Anecdotally, the data in the UK seems to align with the massive number of anti-Israel protests seen in London).
Are Jews In Greater Danger Worldwide?
The overarching question pointed to by the data is: Are Jews in greater danger of being physically assaulted or even killed worldwide?
Our findings are of tremendous concern given the ties to violence the terms studied explicitly represent. Increases in people searching for “Kill Jews” or “By any means necessary” are unambiguous calls for violence. The data is of particular concern considering the antisemitic rhetoric on US college campuses.
Arguably though, the increase in these search terms could also be seen to contextualize terms that are seemingly more implicitly antisemitic such as “Why did Hitler hate the Jews” or “From the river to the sea.” It therefore becomes difficult to completely separate the increased number of searches for these terms from the wider patterns.
Nevertheless, it seems naive to believe people are searching for “Why did Hitler kill Jews” merely from a historical and informational perspective when terms such as “Why are Jews bad” and “Glory to our martyrs” are seeing concurrent and similar trends.
Mordy is the Head of SEO Brand at Wix and the former CMO of Rank Ranger. Concurrently, he also serves as a communications advisor for Semrush. As a renowned expert, Mordy frequently speaks at search marketing conferences around the world, hosts multiple SEO podcasts, and writes for major digital marketing publications.