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Three of the site's pseudonymous editors have decided the Anti-Defamation League can't be trusted; meanwhile, Al Jazeera is uncritically cited.
“On the page for the October 7 attacks,” writes Julia Steinberg, “Wikipedia absolves Hamas of its antisemitism.” (Illustration by The Free Press, screenshots via Wikimedia)

Who Does Wikipedia Consider a ‘Reliable Source’ on Israel-Palestine?

Three of the site's pseudonymous editors have decided the Anti-Defamation League can't be trusted; meanwhile, Al Jazeera is uncritically cited.

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Wikipedia recently decided that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is not a “reliable source” on the Israel-Palestine conflict. The decision was made by three Wikipedia editors, known only by the following pseudonyms: The Wordsmith, theleekycauldron, and Tamzin (pronouns: “they/xe”). 

These three editors—yes, these are the people deciding what we can and cannot see when we’re scrolling Wikipedia late at night—said they made their decision on the grounds that the ADL is both a research and advocacy organization. While they say that the ADL “is a generally reliable source,” they insisted that the organization should not be cited on topics relating to the Israel-Hamas war. On Tuesday, more than forty Jewish groups signed a letter sent to the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, saying that the decision “is stripping the Jewish community of the right to defend itself from the hatred that targets our community.” As a rule, the foundation does not intervene in the site’s editorial process, so a reversal of the decision is unlikely.

So who does Wikipedia consider reliable on this subject?

One example is a man named Salman Abu Sitta, a Palestinian activist who wrote that “Nothing can hide the determination and courage of those young people who returned to their land on October 7.” (He was the first cited source on the Wiki page 1948 Palestinian expulsion and flight.) Wikipedia also considers Al Jazeera—a Qatari-sponsored news organization that has described the October 7 pogrom as “heroic”—a “reliable source”: on its page Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Al Jazeera is cited without skepticism seven times. On the page for the October 7 attacks, Wikipedia absolves Hamas of its antisemitism, describing how in 2017 the terrorist group “adopted a new charter, removing antisemitic language and shifting focus from Jews to Zionists.” We could go on like this all day.

Julia Steinberg is an intern at The Free Press. Read her piece on the college dropout who unlocked the secrets of ancient Rome using AI. And follow her on X @Juliaonatroika.

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