After a rightist group opened the first-ever Zionist editing group aimed at defending Israel
on Wikipedia, a Palestinian organization plans to create its own Wikipedia editing program.
Palestinian Journalists Syndicate head Abdul Nasser An-Najar told the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency that his organization plans to set up editing groups to counter attempts to present Israel's view on Wikipedia. He urged the Palestinian Authority to take part in the initiative.
An-Najar warned that the next regional war would be a “media war,” adding that online information on the Israeli-Arab conflict shapes world opinion.
Last week the Yesha Council and the Yisrael Sheli (My Israel) organization opened a course to address the problem of what it referred to as pro-Arab bias on Wikipedia. In a one-day seminar, lecturers taught dozens of participants how to ensure that Israel's view is presented on the online encyclopedia.
"We don't want to change Wikipedia or turn it into a propaganda arm," Naftali Bennett, director of the Yesha Council, was quoted by the Guardian as saying. "We just want to show the other side. People think that Israelis are mean, evil people who only want to hurt Arabs all day."
Ayelet Shaked of Yisrael Sheli told the British newspaper the problem is that online, pro-Israeli activists are vastly outnumbered by pro-Palestinian voices. "We don't want to give this arena to the other side," she said. "But we are so few and they are so many. People in the US and Europe never hear about Israel's side, with all the correct arguments and explanations."
Shaked said the Israeli government is "not doing a very good job" of explaining Israel to the world.