Israeli propagandists taking over Wikipedia?

The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects, has signed an agreement that will allow Israeli propagandists to promote apartheid Israel and its racist, Zionist policies through the pages of Wikipedia, the world’s largest and most popular free encyclopedia.

The agreement was signed by Rabbi Shai Piron, the Israeli education minister, Jan-Bart de Vreede, the chairman of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, Itzik Edri, the chairman of the Wikimedia Israel Board, and Michal Lester, the executive director of Wikimedia Israel.

In an article published on the Wikimedia blog, Edri said:

Through the planned cooperation, history, geography and science teachers will receive special professional training to instruct students on how to contribute to new or incomplete Wikipedia articles for which information is lacking or inadequate.

The Education Ministry will also examine the possibility of integrating Wikipedia writing assignments in the teaching of research and community involvement. They will also consider having students who speak additional languages (primarily English and Russian) write Wikipedia articles about Israel in those particular languages.

The article reminded us that Israelis are already making extensive use of Wikipedia to promote their views.

In the framework of cooperation that is already in place between Wikimedia Israel and the Ministry of Education, several pilot projects are being conducted. The projects involve teacher training in good Wikipedia usage, article composition, Wikipedia article writing by gifted high school students and the teaching of proper Wikipedia usage to elementary schoolchildren. It is worth mentioning that through cooperation with academics in a variety of universities and colleges throughout Israel, hundreds of articles are written each year by students in courses. Thus students write Wikipedia articles as part of their degrees, sometimes even in lieu of exams or final papers…

Last August we reported that Israel was in the process of hiring university students to post pro-Israel messages on social media networks – without needing to identify themselves as government-linked pimps. We cited an Associated Press news agency report, which quoted an Israeli official as saying that a budget of 778,000 US dollars had been earmarked for the propaganda project, and that the national Israeli student association would select participants from a pool of applicants.

Back in 2009 the journalist Jonathan Cook reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry was creating “a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel”.

“Internet-savvy Israeli youngsters, mainly recent graduates and demobilized soldiers with language skills, are being recruited to pose as ordinary surfers while they provide the government’s line on the Middle East conflict,” he said.

At the time Cook cited Ilan Shturman, the head of the internet propaganda unit, as saying that high on the unit’s list of target sites for Israeli propaganda will be the BBC News website and Arabic-language sites.

Now it would seem that Wikipedia has been added to the list, under the guise of “education”.

If that’s the case, and it sure seems to be, then all we can say is RIP Wikipedia! Your credibility will now stoop to that of Mark Regev (real name Mark Freiberg), Israel’s Australian-born Joseph Goebbels.

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