"Google cannot and will not censor the information which appears on its search engines. What is and isn't proper internet content is for governments and courts to decide, not for us," said Meir Brand, CEO of Google Israel Monday.
Brand spoke at a coference held by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in Herzliya, titled "Poisoning the Web – Hate on the Internet," which included a special panel on Google's refusal to censor anti-Semitic results that pop-up on its search engines.
"I'm a firm believer in the ADL's values, but we believe radicalism and racism can be curbed through open discussion, not censorship," added Brand.
"The world's governments are more preoccupied with pornography being available online than they are with racism and anti-Semitism," said ADL director of internet operations, attorney Christopher Wolf, who took part in the panel.
Wolf brought as an example a website called Jew Watch, which presented itself as an online library for Jewish history, but in fact held anti-Semitic content. The site was able to obtain the coveted first-on-the-list spot in Google's search engine, spiking its readership accordingly.
Once Jew Watch's true nature was exposed, tens of thousands of Google users signed a petition demanding the removal of the site from the search results. Google chose instead to add an annex to the site's link, explaining its nature.
The world, said the ADL is turning a blind eye to online racism, when alongside websites like Jew Watch, the world wide web is filled with so-called charity sites belonging to white-supremacy groups, Nazi memorabilia websites and online computer games which allow their users to kill the Jewish leader of their choice.
The internet, stressed Brand, can not be blamed for the existence of racism: "Google mirrors the real world, including some of its uglier images, like racism. I'm an Israeli Jew and my family survived the Holocaust. This isn't an easy topic for me, but removing results form our webpage will not solve the problem."