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Creepy Google Search Trends: Is Geithner Jewish?

I don’t know whether Tim Giethner, President Obama’s Treasury Secretary, is Jewish, and I certainly don’t care. (Update: He’s not). Which is why I was surprised, and pretty creeped out, to see that the search query “geithner jewish” is one of Google’s top phrases surrounding his name. Here’s a screenshot from Google Insights for Search, which uses Google’s search data to show trends:

Data like this are triggering a ‘spidey sense’ among Jews about rising anti-semitism.  (One blog doesn’t even seem to think it’s outrageous to ask: “Are we seeing the collapse of the Jewish Empires that control much of the Financial resources on Wall Street?“)  Last year at Rosh Hashanah service, my rabbi actually came right out and discussed openly the prominence of Jewish names in the financial world – many contributors to our financial debacle in fall of 2008.   And there was much debate and discussion in the Jewish community regarding Bernie Madoff: was it appropriate that he was often identified as being Jewish in the press? Considering that his victims included Yeshiva University and many Jewish charities,  we must acknowledge that his Jewishness is relevant to the story.

Back to Tim Geithner.  The prominence of “jewish” searches relating to his name might reveal a paranoia or anti-semitism, or (and I hope this is true!), it might just be other Jewish people wondering if he’s one of the tribe.  The irony here is that the Jew-haters and many Jews alike will claim that a disproportionate number of prominent, successful people are Jewish.  It’s one thing, I suppose, on which they can both agree.


  1. Sarah wrote:

    I don’t know how others came to run “geithner jewish” but I typed in “geithner” and then saw “geithner jewish” in the list of Google supplied searches. I wondered why people where searching for that so I clicked on the search. I am guessing that it didn’t become a popular search from Jewish people trying to see if he is Jewish. I am guessing it is the conspiracy theorists…

    Monday, March 16, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Permalink
  2. Andrew wrote:

    Why is it either paranoia or anti-semitism when a non-Jew wonders if he is Jewish, but merely curiosity when a Jew wonders the same? Can’t a non-Jew wonder without prejudice if he is “one of the tribe”?

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Of course, anyone can be innocently curious about this. Additionally, some people probably become intrigued by Google’s own search suggestions, as the previous commenter notes.

    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Permalink
  3. Julia wrote:

    I did the same thing — typed in Geithner and was wondering why in the world “Geithner Jewish” was suggested. Thanks for writing something about this.

    Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Permalink
  4. Meghan Milliken wrote:

    Someone can have Jewish ancestry without being an active member of the religion.
    The name Geithner is German-Jewish, but from his bio online, it looks like he & his wife and family are Christian converts or non-sectarian.

    Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Permalink
  5. Rocky wrote:

    After every Federal election, our local Jewish newspaper prints the number of Jewish senators (around 13) and congressmen (around 25) just elected. It is a matter of ethnic pride. A few weeks ago, Geithner showed up as Jewish on wikipedia. Now his religion is not posted. One web site recently declared that he was Episcopalian.

    Friday, May 22, 2009 at 9:50 pm | Permalink
  6. Anon. wrote:

    All three of Obama’s top non-cabinet position advisors are Jewish: Emanuel, Summers and Axelrod.

    Friday, June 5, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  7. I’m a Jew, albeit a pretty flimsy excuse for one, so I’m certainly not interested in the Illuminati, reptilian shape-changers,and whether the pyramid on paper money is a secret cabal of sinister Masons. But what you’re writing slap-dash about is, in truth, an extremely serious matter. And you seem like a bright, moderate guy so, hopefully, we can open-up normal e-mail lines of communication.

    You and I both know perfectly well that this “Jewish, Wall Street, Banking New World Order” fandango is simply Jew-Bait-Speak for the Rothschilds and their junior partners. Are they God, in the sense of G-D, whose name must never be spoken, except as regards their paintings, titles and silverware? Are they, as rota-wisdom would have it, just a super-rich family which lost its power-dominance post WWI?

    Up until perhaps eight months or so, if you clicked on their own official website, you got Shell, all day, every day, complete with their coat-of-arms and all the bells and whistles. Since you probably had no reason to click on it, perhaps you’ll be willing to trust me on that one point. But, I defy you now to bring Shell and Rothschild’s name up together anywhere on any credible or in-house Website, although you’ll get some dumb stuff about Indonesia. Nor are they powerful bankers anymore. They’re “financial advisors”. They’re in the “service sector”.

    In the early 80′s, as credit cards had just started rolling, I got a Shell card simply because the Shell station was most convenient to my house. On the bottom of the Shell card was printed, “Morgan-Chase (bank? Don’t remember). Now, the guy pumping the gas didn’t order those cards printed. A sinister secret order of New Rochelle dentists didn’t do it. No hired corporate executive had the authority to link a taken-over Rockefeller Chase Manhatten with a Rothschild-dominated J.P. Morgan and roll them into a ball with the Rothschild’s oil company. So, anti-Semitic dorks didn’t claim they controlled all that stuff. They bragged-it on themselves.

    Now, if they can disappear their most public holdings from Internet consciousness with a few clicks of a mouse, consider how much else they can disappear, especially with generations to refine the hat trick. And the PROBLEM is, that if only Jew-baiters will call them by name, include them and the other Usual Jewish Suspects as the founders of the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve Bank and so forth…how can we ever find out what they control and if they substantially control US?

    I’d be shamlessly lying to you if I cried Holocaust. I never even heard of the Holocaust until, as a child, I saw Abbey Mann’s television version of Judgement at Nuremburg, the pictures in which really traumatized me for most of my life. But I feel this must be said: this was an unspeakable tragedy and atrocity. Iconic, really, in the world’s perception of evil. And IF the key members of this particular Jewish family really still constitute immense power over world affairs, do you want to allow them to hide in plain sight behind that agonizing circumstance? Just because some dumb schmuck anti-Semites are going to go flapping around?

    Isn’t it the socially concerned people of honest agenda and genuine good-will who should be holding the spotlight? And if there’s nothing meaningful there then, good. There’s nothing meaningful there and they should go in peace.

    I honestly would enjoy a dialogue with you. These posted mini-lectures seem stilted and un-natural. You have my e-mail, and Facebook and Twitter seem almost as artificial. So, if you’d care to exchange thoughts at length and with more complexity, it would be my privilege.


    Ellie Norton

    Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Permalink
  8. JKnowley wrote:

    Nice. So the DC sniper being Muslim was newsworthy. The VA-tech killer, who wasnt even Muslim, being Muslim was newsworthy.

    But Geithner, being one of eight jews implicated in 80% of the recent financial shenanigans, being Jewish should be hidden. Nice.

    [editor's note: I get a lot of comments of this flavor. -gc ]

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink
  9. informative wrote:

    Its really quite simple, there are a LOT of jews in our government, way more than should be, in fact. And we give lots of leeway to jews in Finance and in Israel. So that is why people want to know if another jew is control of this country.

    We now have 3 jews on the supreme court. only 1% of this society is jewish and yet there are 3 jews on the highest court in the land. Those are facts, so dont get mad at me for stating facts.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink
  10. So is Geithner Jewish or not?

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Blogads Weblog: Google search prompt: “Geithner jewish” on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 6:08 am

    [...] Looking at the results for the “Geithner jewish” search, the fifth is to another blogger’s previous observations on the same disturbing trend. [...]

  2. [...] little back, I wrote a post noticing that there are a lot of Google searches for “is Geithner Jewish?” and similar q….  Far be it from me to understand the workings of the Googlecosm, but I surmised that some of the [...]

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