Wikipedia, the encyclopedia created by volunteers, has quickly become a modern institution. It is one of the cornerstones of the Internet information revolution. It is fast becoming the number one source of information or disinformation on the Web for many topics. Whatever you search for that is related to reference materials, you will probably find that the Wikipedia article is probably listed at or near the top of the pages retrieved by the search engine. Wikipedia articles visited by myriads of young people. This is a huge and impressionable audience that needs to see the truth.
Wikipedia articles have authority, even though they may be created by anonymous amateurs of dubious ability and objectivity. Wikipedia is respected as "objective" because of the widely publicized editorial criteria, but the criteria are not always enforced. Wikipedia articles about subjects related to Israel and the Middle East are sometimes biased and ignore many of Wikipedia's own criteria for accuracy, objectivity and scholarship. In addition to studied omissions and dubious assertions, articles may include external links that are "link spam" for anti-Zionist Web sites and hate sites. Link spam is harmful because it promotes the search engine ranking of the linked Web sites, bringing them more visitors. Wikipedia pages are given a great deal of weight by search engines. Listings in Wikipedia are a big help to relatively unknown Web sites.
The problems are not necessarily the fault of Wikipedia's volunteer editorial staff. The task of documenting just about everything and everyone in the world and ensuring the information is correct is never ending.
Wikipedia is under constant assault by an army of spammers and wreckers of various persuasions. The partisans of the Palestinian cause have targeted all the articles about Israel and related topics.
An alert reader pointed out:
the site wikiscanner.
virgil.gr allows one to see who is editing Wikipedia and where they are from. If you type in Jerusalem, you get interesting results. For example:
An edit from Amman, Jordan, as well as a separate edit from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia changed the line "Jerusalem is the capital of Israel" to "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.".
Several edits from Amman removed the Hebrew translation from the infobox on the city, while leaving the Arabic...
An edit from Damascus, Syria changed the line "Jerusalem is Israel's capital" to "Jerusalem is historically Palestine's capital, but is Israel's capital now"
An edit from Abu Dhabi changed the lines "Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. All the branches of its government are located in Jerusalem." to "Jerusalem is occupied by a cancer called Israel. All branches of this disease government are located in Jerusalem."
An edit from Kuwait City changed "... Jerusalem is Israel's largest city" to "...Jerusalem is Occupied Palestine's largest city (temporarily that is, until it is returned to the Palestinians once the State of Israel ceases to exist."
Most of these obvious propaganda efforts are removed by editors in their unending battle with vandals. However, there is nonetheless a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle bias in various articles, waiting for editing. This is more damaging than blatant propaganda, because the bias is subtle and harder to recognize. It is harder to see what it is not there and should be, or to detect shadings and imbalance.
Here are a few examples of questionable materials. Please note that Wikipedia articles change all the time as people edit them - these examples are true as of February 1, 2008. They were not due to momentary changes, and Wikipedia has a complete record of revisions:
Continued here: Wikipedia, Israel and the Middle East
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