<CPOV> Wikipedia's handling of the Middle East conflict reaches the press - caution, a very Israeli POV

Dror Kamir dqamir at bezeqint.net
Sun May 16 19:06:26 CEST 2010


You might be interested in this article, published on the Israeli 
English-language daily "The Jerusalem Post". 
I know who the "veteran Wikipedia editor from the center of the country" 
is, but I'll let you guess. A similar but more balanced report, on the 
same subject, was published on Friday in the Israeli Hebrew-language 
daily "Maariv", and was part of a serious of polemic articles about the 
Nakba Day, commemorated by Palestinians annually on May 15.

Naturally, Israeli reporters see pro-Palestinian editing as a problem. 
Naturally, it is not necessarily so, it depends on the reliability of 
the information and they way it is presented. In the Maariv report, it 
was much clearer that Wikipedia is not the villain, but rather a tool 
that can be used for better and for worse, depending on the people who 
use it and their intentions. This report is less clear about this point, 
and might seem like an Israeli onslaught on Wikipedia. I have some 
inside information, and it seems to me that this is more of the editor's 
approach than the reporter's. I was also told that this report was 
considered especially interesting by the editors and they placed it on 
the front page of the print edition (there is a low demand to 
English-language newspapers in my neighborhood, but I might go downtown 
later to buy a copy).

The Israeli Hebrew-language newspaper "Haaretz" also published a report 
about politics and Wikipedia on its weekend edition this Friday. 
Apparently there were legal threats on the Hebrew Wikipedia editors 
because they described the new "Im Tirtzu" political movement as "right 
wing". The movement insists it is non-aligned, although its most 
prominent actions so far are campaigns against Israeli left-wing 
organizations. Haaretz report say the movement has tried several times 
to upload its own version about itself to the Hebrew Wikipedia, but 
these versions were deleted because their were deemed too promotional. 
Currently, after the legal threats, the most veteran editor on he-wp 
decided to delete the article altogether. Haaretz asked for "Im Tirtzu" 
reaction, and received... errr... how to call it? A childish response. 
"We are waiting for Wikipedia to define the New Israel Fund (a left-wing 
organization that was at the center of "Im Tirtzu" recent campaign, DK) 
as an extremist leftist movement that undermines the existence of Israel 
as a Jewish state and engaged in bringing IDF officers before foreign 
courts as war criminals. We are sure that the Fund would protest against 
such definition, but they could present nothing to refute it".

Wikimedia Israel received the honor to host 2011 Wikimania in Haifa, so 
if you find all this political exchange of fists interesting, you could 
come next year for the live show :-) In the meantime, I'm adding a link 
to the Wikipedia-Academy Tel Aviv's schedule, just to give you an idea 
about the extent of academic interest in Wikipedia on the Mediterranean 
south-eastern shore: http://www.wikimedia.org.il/Wiki_Academy_2010

Take care all,

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