Adventures As A Pro-Israel Wikipedia Contributor

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UPDATE (06/12/2016 @9pm Israel Time) The heavily biased antizionist editors at Wikipedia decided to delete my article despite an overwhelming amount of people arguing to keep it. The reason the admin who deleted it cited was that there were no compelling policy-based arguments to keep. Click here and see for yourself if you agree.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. We Jews need to wake up and realize that the world is against us. Most people who have an opinion at all hate us. Most people with any drive whatsoever seek to uproot the status quo as it takes much more energy to uproot than keep and we have gotten complacent. We can no longer afford to be complacent.

I’ve heard a lot about the anti-Israel bent that Wikipedia has taken lately. About Israel-related articles being edited to reflect an anti-Israel stance, of articles rejected and deleted due to showing Israel in a positive light, and the “vandalism” of pro-Israel articles by anti-Israel Wikipedia editors, including many who are “high up.”



I saw it for myself for the first time this week.

I’ve been a silent Wikipedia contributor for a while, never really doing much except for the occasional correction and addendum. I didn’t really feel the need to do much until I was doing research for my thesis and saw the article for Bahad 4, the training base at which the subject of my thesis got injured. I noticed there was an allusion to the name of my friend, Avi Dorfman, but no article describing his very newsworthy injury and recovery.

Avi was the only one of 68 injured who was critically hit, deemed “mortally wounded” by his doctors. But somehow, it didn’t even mention that anyone was critically wounded in the article – it only said that a handful had “moderate” injuries which to me was downplaying it. The Ynet article that it cited also downplayed the severity of the attack.

I decided to modify it and add Avi’s recovery into it around 8pm EST. I realized that putting his name there without an article about him was odd, so I decided to write one. Since he is the subject of my thesis, I would be hitting two birds with one stone as I would need to summarize his case for my abstract anyway. I felt he was noteworthy because:

  • His recovery was considered the #1 medical miracle in IDF history by Bamahane magazine. It literally flooded the entire Israeli news cycle for about six months following his injury.
  • He is credited for saving lives of his fellow squad mates and got injured because he stayed behind to help instead of run for cover, a true tzadik.
  • He is a prolific and well-known pro-Israel activist.
  • He is widely known for the infamous UCLA case, where he publicly accused SJP as being Hamas, and accused UCLA Hillel and J-Street of allowing spies to threaten and interrogate him due to what he feels was an alliance with SJP in the name of “peace,” and how he was driven to drop out due to that and the severe bullying and ostracism he experienced from so-called “progressive” Jews. It was his testimony that eventually led many pro-Israel activists to uncover hidden anti-Israel activity within various Hillel chapters on key campuses across America.

Before I begin, I need to say that I suspect most of the Wikipedia editors I will discuss are located in the Middle East or Europe, because all contributions to the Wikipedia “talk” page take place when most people use the computer for leisure in Europe, meaning after work, between 5pm and 10pm UTC (so 3pm and 11pm European/Middle East/North Africa time), and NEVER occur between 4pm EST and when I go to bed, which seems very odd.

I made Avi’s page between around 8pm and 11pm EST, last Wednesday. It was a colossal mess, with error messages up the wazoo until I finally figured out how to code, cite, and the like. It’s like the HTML I learned in my high school programming class, but not. It was frustrating. Nobody made any comments about it at all until the next morning when I woke up to the following message:

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My first thought was, of course those anti-Israel bastards in Qatar and Pakistan jumped on this bandwagon. I wondered what on earth was so “promotional” about it, as I made sure to back up every single comment I said, even if it was laudatory, with an objective Israeli news source. So, as per advice I was given from a friend and fellow contributor, I removed anything that complimented Avi, such as a quote from the article on him in Ma’ariv where his friends called him a brilliant kindhearted, gregarious individual. Never mind that every single Israeli news outlet that reported on him (I would say at least a dozen) referred to him as “The Genius” or “The Computer Genius” in their headlines. He was known as not Avi Dorfman, but “HaGaon.” So when I said he was referred to by the nickname “The Genius” by his friends, that was considered “too promotional.”

Fine, cherry pick all you want. I deleted the references. But the next morning, I woke up to this unpleasant surprise:

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Think of the most angry emoji in the entire selection and I was probably angrier. Why does it have to be this freaking hard to publish a pro-Israel article about a relatively well-known individual?

So of course, wanting to cry, I went to the deletion page, and saw the following comment:

Delete – Highly promotional tone (“computer genius”… “A precocious child”… “good-looking, gregarious, kind-hearted and humble, always eager to help people where he was needed…”) is one issue I noticed. Furthermore, besides some brief info on a lawsuit he filed, I see little coverage of him beyond his business dealings, and even this hardly discusses him as a person. As impressive his survival was, I would say we are probably in BLP1E territory. GABgab 17:54, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Are these people just cherry picking at reasons to make Wikipedia less pro-Israel? This kind of annoyed me but the tone wasn’t so bad so I felt, okay, I can just make changes to suit the guidelines. I still felt it was cherry picking. I doubted this kind of thing would happen for any other article.

So I responded below:

I deleted the parts you advised. Even though they were based on actual quotes from the article I cited. I have also mentioned his accusations against Hillel. I don’t think the lawsuit was noteworthy, but the accusation made a big splash in the Jewish community and led to a huge can of worms opening about anti-Israel activity within Hillels, and is featured in the article I cited. — Preceding unsigned comment added by AlexandraMichelleMarkus (talkcontribs) 18:05, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Then, the barrage followed:

  • Delete as simply nothing convincing here aside from apparent sources for those vents but none of it suggests a solid article. SwisterTwister talk 19:09, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Delete. DGG is correct: this is a person noted only for one single event, no matter how much the author of the article tries to make him notable–in this article and in the references list. I’ve pruned two sources: one doesn’t substantially discuss the subject, the other is not in a reliable source. Both were used to make the subject appear more important. And despite assertions to the contrary, the article remains promotional in tone. Drmies (talk) 17:27, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Delete Wikipedia is not a news paper. We do not have articles on everyone who gets mentioned in news cycles.John Pack Lambert (talk) 22:27, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Delete. A clear case of someone whose only coverage in reliable sources is as the result of being caught up in one event. 86.17.222.157 (talk) 20:31, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

Now I knew it was cherry picking. After all, there were tons of articles about people who are known for one event, so that’s okay as long as it’s not pro-Israel. Got it.

I also learned a few lessons:

  • Any good thing about him is “unnecessary promotion” even if it is cited in several Israeli papers.
  • Any Jewish sources, such as the IDF military magazine Bamahane and the New York-based The Algemeiner Journal are “not reliable sources” and the Algemeiner, which is one of the only papers that covers most American on-campus Israel-related events, is also unreliable and biased. Never mind that he himself accused Hillel of wrongdoing and the comments themselves show what a balagan this whole episode was. No matter. Moving along.

I told a friend about what happened and he responded that this is totally unfair but not surprising as Wikipedia is dominated by the same type of people who dominate sites like Reddit, and have a very strong and relentless anti-Israel bias. Those who blindly accept the entire “progressive” package and believe they are morally superior as a result. He said he himself had plenty of issues on Wikipedia as an editor, with much more clout and experience than me. He said he will email some of his friends in the Wikipedia Israel project and ask them if it qualifies to be kept. Soon after, I saw a few “Keeps”, thank goodness. But the more “Keep” I saw, the more “Delete” appeared to me the next morning, almost as if it was a battle, a deliberate attempt to get the page off wikipedia. A war of numbers:

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I eventually gave up. With the numbers against us like that, what shot do we have? They care about all this stuff. We’re asleep at the wheel.

Over the next few days I experienced many attacks. Most notably, a user named Malik_Shabazz nominated one of the photos I used for deletion from the Wikimedia Commons database, a picture I took of a newspaper article about Avi. He claimed that it was a copyright violation because it was a newspaper article. Oh come on, give me a break, it wasn’t even the entire article, just a picture of a snippet. But of course they must attack me from every angle.

I rolled my eyes and moved on with my life, resigned to the fact that the entire site was against me and that I didn’t have a chance, even with my friend’s army that consisted of probably the only four pro-Israel wikipedia editors that exist. Until just a few hours ago when I received this ridiculous accusation:

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A sockpuppet is when one person uses two separate accounts in order to argue the same case, to create the illusion that his case is supported by more people than it is. Because more than one pro-Israel person on wikipedia is such a shock to their system, I am sure. It is simply unthinkable. Obviously someone must be faking. One evil Zionist Jew pulling the puppet streams, a multi-tentacled hydra. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the typical mindset of the antisemitic who have been raised on these tropes for centuries, if not millennia.

They accused me of being a sockpuppet for a guy I’ve never met in my life, who probably lives halfway across the world from me. When I saw his name, I realized it closely resembled a well-known pro-Israel activist from Mexico, so I assumed it was him. All I know for sure is that it wasn’t me. Don’t they have ways of figuring out which IP address was used? Why are they bothering me with this nonsense?

And thus ends my sojourn into the world of Wikipedia, where pro-Israel views are necessarily “unreliable” or “biased.” The site where lazy high school, college, and, yes, graduate students research their papers, the online, open-source encyclopedia that like everything else, started out as a noble endeavour but then got hijacked by the haters.

We need numbers. And we need to show them we are here to stay.

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