<CPOV> Fwd: Guardian article on Wikipedia and Israel

Dror Kamir dqamir at bezeqint.net
Mon Aug 30 10:14:37 CEST 2010

  Oh, that story has been long debated here among Israeli Wikipedians. I 
have even been contacted by a reporter of BBC Arabic about it. It's not 
as big a story as it seems on the media. For the time being it looks 
like a balloon filled with hot air. There is, however a 
pro-Palestinian/pro-Arab group that has been working to push 
Arab/Palestinian agenda on the English Wikipedia. They are active for 
about a year and a half or two years now, and they receive significant 
cooperation from admins. They have never declared themselves as an 
organization, but it is easy to trace their goals and cooperation by 
looking at the history of their contributions.

Dror K

בתאריך 30/08/10 11:04, ציטוט Maja van der Velden:
> Hi,
> I send this message a while ago, but it was never posted because I had 
> sent it from the from email address. Maybe most of you have seen it by 
> now. But since it was not posted on the CPOV list, some who are 
> interested in Wikipedia editing politics may want to read it.
> Greetings,
> Maja
> Forwarded message:
> To see this story with its related links on the guardian.co.uk site, 
> go to 
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/18/wikipedia-editing-zionist-groups
> Wikipedia editing courses launched by Zionist groups
> Two Israeli groups set up training courses in Wikipedia editing with 
> aims to 'show the other side' over borders and culture
> Rachel Shabi in Jerusalem and Jemima Kiss
> Thursday August 19, 2010
> The Guardian
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/18/wikipedia-editing-zionist-groups 
> Since the earliest days of the worldwide web, the conflict between 
> Israelis and Palestinians has seen its rhetorical counterpart fought 
> out on the talkboards and chatrooms of the internet.
> Now two Israeli groups seeking to gain the upper hand in the online 
> debate have launched a course in "Zionist editing" for Wikipedia, the 
> online reference site.
> Yesha Council, representing the Jewish settler movement, and the 
> rightwing Israel Sheli (My Israel) movement, ran their first workshop 
> this week in Jerusalem, teaching participants how to rewrite and 
> revise some of the most hotly disputed pages of the online reference 
> site.
> "We don't want to change Wikipedia or turn it into a propaganda arm," 
> says Naftali Bennett, director of the Yesha Council. "We just want to 
> show the other side. People think that Israelis are mean, evil people 
> who only want to hurt Arabs all day."
> Wikipedia is one of the world's most popular websites, and its 16m 
> entries are open for anyone to edit, rewrite or even erase. The 
> problem, according to Ayelet Shaked of Israel Sheli, is that online, 
> pro-Israeli activists are vastly outnumbered by pro-Palestinian 
> voices. "We don't want to give this arena to the other side," she 
> said. "But we are so few and they are so many. People in the US and 
> Europe never hear about Israel's side, with all the correct arguments 
> and explanations."
> Like others involved with this project, Shaked thinks that her 
> government is "not doing a very good job" of explaining Israel to the 
> world.
> And on Wikipedia, they believe that there is much work to do.
> Take the page on Israel, for a start: "The map of Israel is portrayed 
> without the Golan heights or Judea and Samaria," said Bennett, 
> referring to the annexed Syrian territory and the West Bank area 
> occupied by Israel in 1967.
> Another point of contention is the reference to Jerusalem as the 
> capital of Israel - a status that is constantly altered on Wikipedia.
> Other pages subject to constant re-editing include one titled Goods 
> allowed/banned for import into Gaza - which is now being considered 
> for deletion ? and a page on the Palestinian territories.
> Then there is the problem of what to call certain neighbourhoods. "Is 
> Ariel a city or a settlement?" asks Shaked of the area currently 
> described by Wikipedia as "an Israeli settlement and a city in the 
> central West Bank." That question is the subject of several thousand 
> words of heated debate on a Wikipedia discussion thread.
> The idea, says Shaked and her colleauges, is not to storm in, cause 
> havoc and get booted out - the Wikipedia editing community is 
> sensitive, consensus-based and it takes time to build trust.
> "We learned what not to do: don't jump into deep waters immediately, 
> don't be argumentative, realise that there is a semi-democratic 
> community out there, realise how not to get yourself banned," says 
> Yisrael Medad, one of the course participants, from Shiloh.
> Is that Shiloh in the occupied West Bank? "No," he sighs, patiently. 
> "That's Shiloh in the Binyamin region across the Green Line, or in 
> territories described as disputed."
> One Jerusalem-based Wikipedia editor, who doesn't want to be named, 
> said that publicising the initiative might not be such a good idea. 
> "Going public in the past has had a bad effect," she says. "There is a 
> war going on and unfortunately the way to fight it has to be 
> underground."
> In 2008, members of the hawkish pro-Israel watchdog Camera who 
> secretly planned to edit Wikipedia were banned from the site by 
> administrators.
> Meanwhile, Yesha is building an information taskforce to engage with 
> new media, by posting to sites such as Facebook and YouTube, and 
> claims to have 12,000 active members, with up to 100 more signing up 
> each month. "It turns out there is quite a thirst for this activity," 
> says Bennett. "The Israeli public is frustrated with the way it is 
> portrayed abroad."
> The organisiers of the Wikipedia courses, are already planning a 
> competition to find the "Best Zionist editor", with a prize of a 
> hot-air balloon trip over Israel.
> Wikipedia wars
> There are frequent flare-ups between competing volunteer editors and 
> obsessives who run Wikipedia.  As well as conflicts over editing bias 
> and "astroturfing" PR attempts, articles are occasionally edited to 
> catch out journalists; the Independent recently erroneously published 
> that the Big Chill had started life as the Wanky Balls festival. In 
> 2005 the founding editorial director of USA Today, John Seigenthaler, 
> discovered his Wikipedia entry included the claim that he was involved 
> in the assassination of JFK.
> Editors can remain anonymous when changing content, but conflicts are 
> passed to Wikipedia's arbitration committee. Scientology was a regular 
> source of conflict until the committee blocked editing by the movement.
> Critics cite the editing problems as proof of a flawed site that can 
> be edited by almost anybody, but its defenders claim the issues are 
> tiny compared with its scale. Wikipedia now has versions in 271 
> languages and 379 million users a month.
> _______________________________________________
> Cpov mailing list
> Cpov at listcultures.org
> http://listcultures.org/mailman/listinfo/cpov_listcultures.org

More information about the cpov mailing list