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Zionist lobby group labelled 'propaganda' and 'misinformation' source by Wikipedia 

June 20, 2024 at 11:44 am

Wikipedia logo displayed on a phone screen on January 19, 2023 [Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

One of the leading Zionist lobby groups in the US has been labelled as a source of “propaganda” and “misinformation” by Wikipedia. Editors of the online encyclopaedia also said that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which has long campaigned for a controversial definition of anti-Semitism to be adopted, should not be cited for factual information on anti-Jewish racism because it acts primarily as a pro-Israel organisation and labels legitimate criticism of the occupation state as “anti-Semitic”.

The decision by Wikipedia is a significant blow to the ADL, a highly controversial group which has earned a reputation for advocating for civil rights, despite being funded by a nexus of Zionist organisations. For more than a century, it has been considered to be a trusted source for research on hate and extremism even though it promotes unquestioned support for the apartheid state of Israel.

Known for its work in combating anti-Semitism and targeting far-right groups, the ADL has faced criticism over its actions in recent decades. From the 1980s onward, the organisation has been accused of infiltrating and spying on left-wing and civil rights groups, particularly those critical of Israel and the apartheid regime in South Africa. In July 2010, the ADL faced sharp condemnation for aligning itself with a right-wing campaign against the construction of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” in Manhattan, demonstrating further its shift from its original mission of combatting racism.

In recent months, the ADL has led the lobbying in Washington to have the highly controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism inserted into the statute book. Last month, as opposition to the US-funded Israeli genocide in Gaza grew, American lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bill to shut down protests, using the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as their reference point.

The editors of Wikipedia concluded that the ADL no longer adheres to a serious, mainstream and intellectually cogent definition of anti-Semitism, but has instead succumbed to what they describe as the shameless politicisation of the very subject for which it was originally held in high regard for being reliable about.

Wikipedia pointed to several factors behind the decision, focused mainly on how the ADL deals with the concept of Zionism, the ideology that calls for the creation of a Jewish supremacist state in historic Palestine. The editors argued that ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt often acts more as a partisan actor in the Israel-Palestine conversation than a neutral source of information. Greenblatt led the push to drive Harvard’s first black female president, Claudine Gray, out of office due to a row over alleged anti-Semitism. The attack on Gray was described in January by the former Executive Director of Harvard Hillel, Bernie Steinberg, as, “The cynical weaponisation of anti-Semitism by powerful forces who seek to intimidate and ultimately silence legitimate criticism of Israel and of American policy on Israel.”

Since 7 October, the ADL has regarded demonstrations featuring “anti-Zionist chants and slogans” as “anti-Semitic”, even though these protests are often led or attended by progressive Jews who are critical of Israel. The rule change echoes Greenblatt’s position that “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, full stop,” as he said in 2022.

The Wikipedia editors also highlighted the ADL’s use of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as problematic. While widely used, the definition cites seven examples of anti-Jewish racism (out of eleven) which conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

Furthermore, the editors noted that Greenblatt has called US anti-Zionist student protesters Iranian “proxies”; compared the Palestinian keffiyeh scarf to a swastika; and is said to have praised Elon Musk just days after the owner of X reportedly endorsed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory as the “actual truth” in November 2022.

The ADL has been lobbying for Israel and campaigning against student protesters, particularly since 7 October. The organisation’s methodology for measuring the threat of anti-Semitism within the US has come under increasing scrutiny due to its categorisation of anti-Zionism as being the same as anti-Semitism.

In response to the Wikipedia decision, the ADL stated that it was part of a “campaign to delegitimise” the organisation. It insisted that it would not be deterred in its fight against anti-Semitism.

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