ADL Faces Wikipedia Ban Over Reliability Concerns On Israel, Antisemitism

By Haaretz

Photos: YouTube Screenshots

Wikipedia’s editors have voted to declare the Anti-Defamation League “generally unreliable” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding it to a list of banned and partially banned sources.

An overwhelming majority of editors involved in the debate about the ADL also voted to deem the organization unreliable on the topic of antisemitism, its core focus. A formal declaration on that count is expected next.

The decision about Israel-related citations, made last week, means that one of the most prominent and longstanding Jewish advocacy groups in the United States – and one historically seen as the leading U.S. authority on antisemitism – is now grouped together with the National Inquirer, Newsmax, and Occupy Democrats as a source of propaganda or misinformation in the eyes of the online encyclopedia.

Moreover, in a near consensus, dozens of Wikipedia editors involved in the discussion said they believe the ADL should not be cited for factual information on antisemitism as well because it acts primarily as a pro-Israel organization and tends to label legitimate criticism of Israel as antisemitism.

“ADL no longer appears to adhere to a serious, mainstream and intellectually cogent definition of antisemitism, but has instead given into the shameless politicization of the very subject that it was originally esteemed for being reliable on,” wrote an editor known as Iskandar323, whose request for a discussion about the ADL ultimately led to the ban.

In a written statement, the ADL said the decision by Wikipedia was the result of a “campaign to delegitimize the ADL” and that editors opposing the ban “provided point by point refutations, grounded in factual citations, to every claim made, but apparently facts no longer matter.”

“This is a sad development for research and education, but ADL will not be daunted in our age-old fight against antisemitism and all forms of hate,” the statement said.
The ADL’s ability to fulfill its mission is directly tied to its credibility, which has taken a significant hit with the decision by Wikipedia, said James Loeffler, a professor of Jewish history at Johns Hopkins University.

“The online arena is a major source of threats,” Loeffler said. “Losing this mark of trust will impair the ADL’s ability to reach digital audiences and counter online hatred. We desperately need solid, evidence-based data analysis of contemporary antisemitism. Without a trusted authority, we’re likely to see only more politicization and polarization to the detriment of all, especially vulnerable Jews.”

Wikipedia’s volunteer editors have debated the reliability of the ADL for years…READ MORE

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