A pro-Israel organization has exposed the identities of top Wikipedia editors who use the online encyclopedia to promote anti-Israel bias and causes, a first-of-its-kind effort that is unmasking a global online network of Israel critics.
The Israel Group, a nonprofit organization that combats anti-Israel bias, is set to launch next year a database that will expose the true identities of many leading Wikipedia editors who harbor anti-Israel bias and have implanted this viewpoint across the website through more than 325,000 edits during the past 10 years. It has already listed the identities of several of these editors.
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The new effort, dubbed Wiki-Israel, seeks to provide accountability for the numerous and often anonymous editors who control all of the content that exists on Wikipedia. Leaders of the Israel Group accuse these individuals of acting as "a cabal of virulently anti-Israel anonymous editors" who are "responsible for decimating virtually the entire pro-Israel editing community." Leaders of the Israel Group view Wikipedia, with its global reach and wide readership, as a central battleground in the fight to combat the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
"Trying to teach anyone the truth and facts about Israel is a futile effort as long as Wikipedia, the number one online educational resource globally, substantiates the lies and propaganda promulgated by the BDS movement," Jack Saltzberg, founder and president of the Israel Group told the Washington Free Beacon. "Stopping Wikipedia's anti-Israel bias should be the most important battle against BDS. There is no close second."
Wikipedia editors routinely promote falsehoods about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and portray Israel in a negative light, according to the Israel Group.
"For more than a decade, Wikipedia—the number one online educational resource globally—has allowed anonymous anti-Israel editors to falsely and negatively alter Israel's factual history in Wikipedia articles pertaining to the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts," Israel Group said in a statement promoting the new endeavor, which will officially launch in January 2020.
"Volunteer ‘administrators' (with lifetime positions), responsible for overseeing the editing process of Wikipedia, have not only allowed anti-Israel editors freedom to take over Wikipedia, they have participated by blocking and banning predominantly Jewish and pro-Israel editors," the group said. "For anyone concerned about the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel, Wikipedia is now the number one global source that actively substantiates the lies and false propaganda being disseminated about Israel."
The organization has been working for years to find the editors responsible for anti-Israel content and unearth details about their identities.
"The Israel Group has been working for many years, under the radar, on a confidential initiative, Wiki-Israel, that combats Wikipedia's antisemitic bias against Israel," the group said. "The initiative includes a dedicated website that, among many other things, shows how anti-Israel editors smear Israel—both subtly and overtly—across hundreds of articles, and how the pro-Israel community can stop it."
Already, the Israel Group has listed the details of the top five editors it deems leaders of the anti-Israel effort.
The number one anti-Israel leader, according to the Israel Group, is an Australian computer scientist named Brendan McKay.
"Brendan McKay, who goes by the Wikipedia username ‘Zero0000,' is the Godfather, the unofficial leader of the entire cabal of anti-Israel Wikipedia editors," the Israel Group wrote in a post about McKay. "Although he is not the most prolific or skilled editor among them, one thing separates him from the others: he's a Wikipedia administrator. This means that he has vast powers that regular editors don't have, such as the ability to block and ban regular editors and to delete edits and articles from the historical record. Moreover, administrators are greatly respected, so when they accuse general editors of editing with a pro-Israel point of view—as McKay repeatedly does—other administrators side with him, often blocking or banning pro-Israel editors."
The Israel Group goes on to list as its second leading anti-Israel editor another Australian named Peter Nicholas Dale.
Dale "is undoubtedly the most prolific and proficient of the bunch," according to the Israel Group. "He is an erudite, skilled blowhard who employs his expert Wikipedia editing proficiency to derail and obfuscate discussions."
He has performed more than 60,000 Wikipedia edits and has "never once benefited Israel," the group claims.
When the initiative launches in 2020, the Israel Group will begin posting a more complete list of the editors it claims are responsible for Wikipedia's anti-Israel bias.