CAMERA’s war on Wikipedia and Palestinian history

From Electronic Intifada:

A pro-Israel pressure group is orchestrating a secret, long-term campaign to infiltrate the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia to rewrite Palestinian history, pass off crude propaganda as fact, and take over Wikipedia administrative structures to ensure these changes go either undetected or unchallenged.

A series of emails by members and associates of the pro-Israel group CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), provided to The Electronic Intifada (EI), indicate the group is engaged in what one activist termed a “war” on Wikipedia.

A 13 March action alert signed by Gilead Ini, a “Senior Research Analyst” at CAMERA, calls for “volunteers who can work as ‘editors’ to ensure” that Israel-related articles on Wikipedia are “free of bias and error, and include necessary facts and context.” However, subsequent communications indicate that the group not only wanted to keep the effort secret from the media, the public, and Wikipedia administrators, but that the material they intended to introduce included discredited claims that could smear Palestinians and Muslims and conceal Israel’s true history.

A veteran Wikipedia editor, known as “Zeq,” who according to the emails is colluding with CAMERA, also provided advice to CAMERA volunteers on how they could disguise their agenda. In a 20 March email often in misspelled English, Zeq writes, “You don’t want to be precived [sic] as a ‘CAMERA’ defender’ on wikipedia [sic] that is for sure.” One strategy to avoid that is to “edit articles at random, make friends not enemies — we will need them later on. This is a marathon not a sprint.”

Zeq also identifies, in a 25 March email, another Wikipedia editor, “Jayjg,” whom he views as an effective and independent pro-Israel advocate. Zeq instructs CAMERA operatives to work with and learn from Jayjg, but not to reveal the existence of their group even to him fearing “it would place him in a bind” since “[h]e is very loyal to the wikipedia [sic] system” and might object to CAMERA’s underhanded tactics

0 thoughts on “CAMERA’s war on Wikipedia and Palestinian history”

  1. I only skimmed the article on EI, but I read all the source emails. Frankly, reading the emails without the spin, nothing suspicious comes about.

    The first email is addressed to the Camera “email team” — I don’t know if that’s their regular distribution list or not, but no partisan website email list can be considered “secret”. Telling folks not to contact the media is NOT suspicious, and they explain their own reasons for saying so — such reasoning will be understandable to anyone, no matter which ‘side’ you’re on:

    “There is no reason to advertise the fact that we have these group discussions. Anti-Israel editors will seize on anything to try to discredit people who attempt to challenge their problematic assertions, and will be all too happy to pretend, and announce, that a ‘Zionist’ cabal (the same one that controls the banks and Hollywood?) is trying to hijack Wikipedia.”

    Also, as you can see from a later email, these people at least feel the Wikipedia process has *already* been politicized:

    “…admins can “close” a vote and declare a result. (Not as stright
    forward as it seems. I know alefty admin who wait until his bodies
    vote and close the vote soon after )”

    If you read the EI article, you should read the source too. To me, at least, it all read innocuous except for the comments about “war” and such — but those also all came from one guy, who was speaking for himself. And guess what, all activists in this sphere are horrible, they’re all like this guy. As far as I’ve seen, be they pro-Israel or -Arab, they’re all horrible. On the right they are idiot neo-cons derivatives and on the left they are idiot Chomsky and Said derivatives.

  2. dan, to be blunt, you’re naive. This CAMERA-affiliated group planned to game Wikipedia’s system by targeting people who they believed to be “pro-Palestinian” editors, target specific articles to get their own Point of View represented and the opposing one squashed, and to setup “sleeper administrators” that would appear outwardly to be uninvolved but could if need be intervene in Israeli-Palestine articles under the guise of beinfg a “neutral” admin.

  3. So what now? what do we do?

    I already checked and appearently there is not even one single reference of the 1948 Nakba in the main Palestine article…

    And i could of swor e i’ve read about it a few weeks ago… On that very same page…. Nothing no history of how they destroyed entire cities not a word about the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians… Nothing….

    So tell me what can we do i don’t even know how to use wikipedia… And is this a losing battle?

  4. One of America’s most widely-admired politicians,“ rel=”nofollow”>Daniel Patrick Moynihan, had a saying, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.” It must be very frustrating to be a Palestinian Arab under the thumb of the PLO or Hamas: one cannot dispute any of “Palestine’s history” without being labelled a “collaborator” and subsequently executed, usually without trial.

    When that situation changes Arabs will be in a position to discuss what history is correct and what history is factually untrue. Not before.

  5. Yes it sure is nice to be a Jew interested in disuputing the dominant Zionist narrative of history and not get labeled “self-hating” or be spit upon.

  6. As your comment implicitly acknowledges, EH, academic debate does exist among the Jews; but it is a red herring here. It does not challenge anything I have written in my previous comment, but together our comments point out a sharp contrast: Arabs killed by other Arabs for their opinions, versus Jews called names by other Jews for theirs.

    The Jews survive to argue another day, while the Arabs die at the hands of their own. Are they men or are they apes? I am too mature to subscribe to the notion that every group is equally good or equally bad.

  7. the best response is to make our groups of interested volunteers and to participate in editing and correcting as much as possible of wikipedia articles. it is not that difficult task. anyone can edit it, and you will face alot of argument from zionists, but gradually it works, especially if you can collect a lot of volunteers to help u.

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