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Wikipedia defends its decision to recognize the Anti-Defamation League as an unreliable source of information about Israel and Palestine

LONDON: Wikipedia has defended its decision to classify the Anti-Defamation League as an unreliable source of information on Israel’s war with the Palestinians.

Controversy erupted earlier this month when the editors of Wikipedia, one of the most visited websites in the world, deemed the ADL “generally unreliable with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The ADL criticized the decision, accusing Wikipedia of “depriving the Jewish community of the right to defend itself against the hatred that is directed against our community.”

“As leading civil society organizations, we express our concern and outrage at Wikipedia’s attack on the ADL’s credibility on anti-Semitism and other issues of concern to the Jewish community,” the ADL said.

The letter was signed by more than 40 Jewish organizations, including American Friends of Likud, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the American Zionist Movement.

In a letter to Wikipedia’s parent company, the Wikimedia Foundation, the ADL called for an immediate investigation “into this decision and its motivations,” arguing that Wikipedia’s decision could be used “as a cover to perpetuate anti-Semitism,” putting “the entire community at risk.”

The Wikimedia Foundation issued a statement Wednesday, however, supporting the decision of its editors and the volunteer-led processes that “ensure everyone has access to neutral and trustworthy information.”

“This independent relationship is crucial to ensuring that Wikipedia remains neutral and free from institutional bias. The Foundation has not and does not interfere in decisions made by the community regarding source classification,” the statement reads.

It explained that the decision to classify ADL as “generally unreliable” was made after a two-month open discussion with 120 volunteers. The discussion and results that led to the decision remain publicly available.

The Wikimedia Foundation also stressed that “contrary to what several media outlets have incorrectly suggested,” the ADL “remains a generally credible source on Wikipedia. However, it extended beyond the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” and the text can be cited in other areas, such as the definition of anti-Semitism, albeit “with some caveats.”

Since the beginning of Israel’s last war, the ADL has faced intense criticism for its rigid definition of anti-Semitism, which led to criticism of the organization’s decision to label demonstrations that involved chanting “anti-ionist chants and slogans” as anti-Semitic.

The 100-year-old organization’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, has been accused of promoting conspiracy theories and falsely comparing American college protest movements with Iranian proxies.

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