Anti-Defamation League to be banned as source by Wikipedia over 'unreliability' on Gaza, antisemitism

Anti-Defamation League to be banned as source by Wikipedia over 'unreliability' on Gaza, antisemitism
The ADL will be banned as a source by Wikipedia editors for conflating criticism of Israel and support of Palestinians with antisemitism.
3 min read
19 June, 2024
The ADL often tries to suppress criticism of Israel by labelling it 'antisemitic' [Getty/file photo]

Wikipedia editors have concluded that the pro-Israeli Anti-Defamation League (ADL) advocacy group is a "generally unreliable" source of information on Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip, and are moving to list the group among banned or partially banned sources.

Editors who voted in favour of the ban focused on the ADL's behaviour during Israel's war in Gaza, which has killed 37,396 Palestinians since 7 October. They also took into account the ADL's conduct during a wave of pro-Palestinian student protests which have swept US college campuses this year as the war on Gaza continued. 

Following a vote, the online encyclopedia's editors also agreed by an overwhelming majority that the organisation should not be treated as a trusted source on antisemitism, following the ADL’s track record of labelling legitimate criticism of Israel as antisemitic.

A formal declaration regarding this is expected to occur next week, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported on Tuesday.

"The ADL no longer appears to adhere to a serious, mainstream and intellectually cogent definition of antisemitism, but has instead given into the shameless politicisation of the very subject that it was originally esteemed for being reliable on," wrote an editor known as Iskandar323, as cited by Israeli media.

Wikipedia’s decision comes months after editors have debated the ADL’s legitimacy as a trustworthy source.

Editors took into account incidents such the ADL's CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, comparing Palestinian keffiyehs to swastikas, labelling pro-Palestinian students as "Iran proxies" and comparing anti-Zionism to white supremacy.

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Greenblatt has a history of attacking any criticism of Israel and Zionism, often labelling this "antisemitic".

The group has slammed the decision, calling it a campaign to "delegitimise the ADL". In a statement, the ADL said: "This is a sad development for research and education, but ADL will not be daunted in our age-old fight against antisemitism and all forms of hate."

Wikipedia editors also considered the ADL's usage of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which has been described as problematic by some campaigners and experts who say it conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism.

The ADL's other controversies include calling on law enforcement agencies to probe pro-Palestinian student activist groups, and backing anti-Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) laws in the US. 

The New York-based group has also helped organise police training trips to Israel, enabling US police officers to learn techniques from the country's law enforcement, who often brutally suppress Palestinians.

Speaking in January on condition of anonymity to the UK’s The Guardian website, one ADL employee said the group "has a pro-Israel bias and an agenda to suppress pro-Palestinian activism".

The Wikipedia editors’ decision now groups the ADL with right-wing outlets such as The National Enquiry and Newsmax, as a a source of misinformation.