'Grossly offensive' website attacked by Jewish leaders

A US-based website which lists thousands of Jewish names and aims to “progress” antisemitism has caused outrage among Jewish leaders.

The website, called Uncle Semite, states that its aims are to move the “rhetorical, knee-jerk antisemitism of the past towards a progressive, green ‘uncle-Semitism’, relevant in our time”.

In a section called S***ler’s List, the creators of the site have listed more than 220,000 names which were originally published as an online petition against another antisemitic website, JewWatch.com.

The original petition, entitled “Remove JewWatch.com from the Google search engine”, was set up in 2004 when it became clear that a search for the word “Jew” on Google returned Jew Watch as its first result.

The new site describes the list as a “catalogue of Jewish names” and claims its 19 volumes are a way for people to know if someone is Jewish, even if their name is not “obviously” Jewish-sounding.

Illustrator Natalie Ferstendik accidentally came across the site recently. “I realised I was on this list,” she said. “I felt quite sickened. I looked through and was horrified by what I saw.”

Other pages on the website include images of the Auschwitz death camp, anti-Israel anecdotes and a section called Wej Issue, which lists several high-ranking Jews in the Republican party.

A spokesman from the Community Security Trust (CST) said: “This is a grossly offensive website that typifies all the worst ways in which the internet is used to spread hatred and poison people’s minds.

“The CST works with numerous organisations that specifically research and lobby against web-based hatred. We will raise this website in our meetings and try to ensure that action is taken as swiftly as possible.”

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, warned people to be careful when signing online petitions.

He said: “People should take particular care when circulating or signing up to petitions or votes when they are not certain that the source is reputable. Sometimes the web address bears no relation to the organisation that is purporting to be behind the circular.”

    Last updated: 3:16pm, September 6 2011