Posted on June 28, 2024

Wikipedia Now Labels the Top Jewish Civil Rights Group as an Unreliable Source

David Goldman, CNN, June 20, 2024

Wikipedia’s editors declared that the Anti-Defamation League cannot be trusted to give reliable information on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and they overwhelmingly said the ADL is an unreliable source on antisemitism. It’s a stunning rebuke to one of the world’s preeminent authorities on anti-Jewish hate and a significant advocate for the rights and causes of American Jews.

The editors, a group of volunteer moderators for one of the world’s most popular information websites, voted last week to label the ADL as a “generally unreliable” source on the Israel-Palestine conflict. That means that the ADL should usually not be cited in Wikipedia articles on that topic except for extraordinary circumstances. Other generally unreliable sources, according to Wikipedia editors, include Russian state media, Fox News’ political coverage and Amazon reviews.

The ADL also faces a vote from Wikipedia editors to potentially label the organization as unreliable on the topic of antisemitism. The editors overwhelmingly support that label but continue to debate the decision, which could ultimately deal a blow to the credibility of the leading source of research and information on antisemitism. JTA was first to report the vote.

The Wikipedia editors said in an online forum that the ADL’s dual role as an advocacy and research organization prevented it from providing unbiased accounts on Israel or antisemitism.


After the events of October 7 and the ongoing war that followed, the ADL produced numerous reports about rising antisemitic hate speech and incidents, particularly on college campuses. It produced two report cards on universities’ actions to protect Jewish students, giving failing grades to more than a dozen colleges.

But the ADL faced some criticism for doubling down on what some detractors believed was an overly broad definition of antisemitism that included anti-Zionism and some anti-Israel speech and actions.


That didn’t sit well with Wikipedia’s editors. For example, one editor, with the username Sameboat, claimed the ADL leader’s advocacy “demonstrates its skewed views and manipulative presentation on the IP (Israel-Palestine) topic and thus (is) highly unreliable.”


But Wikipedia’s decision may reflect a changing landscape that the ADL needs to reckon with. The war in Gaza has deeply divided people of all backgrounds, including Jews. The war has added significant ambiguity and complications to the world’s view of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

If Wikipedia’s editors are distancing themselves from the ADL, that could suggest media, academic and partnering advocacy organizations will think twice about how they approach ADL data in their own efforts to inform their audiences on antisemitism.