New World in This Generation
for the Next 7 Generations
The Planetization Structure, Blueprint and Plan Provides
the New Coordinates and Scaffold to Change the World
group's plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia
The Electronic Intifada – 21 April 2008
A pro-Israel pressure group is orchestrating a secret, long-term
campaign to infiltrate the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia to
rewrite Palestinian history, pass off crude propaganda as fact, and take
over Wikipedia administrative structures to ensure these changes go
either undetected or unchallenged.
A series of emails by members and associates of the pro-Israel group
CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America),
provided to The Electronic Intifada (EI), indicate the group is engaged
in what one activist termed a "war" on Wikipedia.
A 13 March action alert signed by Gilead Ini, a "Senior Research
Analyst" at CAMERA, calls for "volunteers who can work as 'editors' to
ensure" that Israel-related articles on Wikipedia are "free of bias and
error, and include necessary facts and context." However, subsequent
communications indicate that the group not only wanted to keep the
effort secret from the media, the public, and Wikipedia administrators,
but that the material they intended to introduce included discredited
claims that could smear Palestinians and Muslims and conceal Israel's
With over two million articles in English on every topic imaginable,
Wikipedia has become a primary reference source for Internet users
around the world and a model for collaboratively produced projects.
Openness and good faith are among Wikipedia's core principles. Any
person in the world can write or edit articles, but Wikipedia has strict
guidelines and procedures for accountability intended to ensure quality
control and prevent vandalism, plagiarism or distortion. It is because
of these safeguards that articles on key elements of the
Palestine-Israel conflict have generally remained well-referenced,
useful and objective. The CAMERA plan detailed in the e-mails obtained
by EI appears intended to circumvent these controls.
In the past, CAMERA has gained notoriety for its tactic of accusing
virtually anyone who does not toe a right-wing pro-Israel line of bias.
The group has even accused editors and reporters of the Israeli daily
Haaretz of being "extreme" and participating in "radical anti-Israel
activity." Jeffrey Dvorkin, the former ombudsman of National Public
Radio (NPR), frequently criticized by CAMERA for an alleged
pro-Palestinian bias, wrote on the web publication Salon in February
2008 that "as a consequence of its campaign against NPR, CAMERA acted as
the enabler for some seriously disturbed people," citing persistent
telephone threats he received in the wake of CAMERA campaigns.
Need for stealth and secrecy
Throughout the documents EI obtained, CAMERA operatives stress the need
for stealth and secrecy. In his initial action alert, Ini requests that
recipients "not forward it to members of the news media." In a 17 March
follow-up email sent to volunteers, Ini explains that he wants to make
the orchestrated effort appear to be the work of unaffiliated
individuals. Thus he advises that "There is no need to advertise the
fact that we have these group discussions."
Anticipating possible objections to CAMERA's scheme, Ini conjectures
that "Anti-Israel editors will seize on anything to try to discredit
people who attempt to challenge their problematic assertions, and will
be all too happy to pretend, and announce, that a 'Zionist' cabal (the
same one that controls the banks and Hollywood?) is trying to hijack
But stealth and misrepresentation are presented as the keys to success.
Ini suggests that after volunteers sign up as editors for Wikipedia they
should "avoid editing Israel-related articles for a short period of
time." This strategy is intended to "avoid the appearance of being
one-topic editors," thus attracting unwanted attention.
Ini counsels that volunteers "might also want to avoid, for obvious
reasons, picking a user name that marks you as pro-Israel, or that lets
people know your real name." To further conceal the identity of
CAMERA-organized editors, Ini warns, "don't forget to always log in
before making [edits]. If you make changes while not logged in,
Wikipedia will record your computer's IP address" -- a number that
allows identification of the location of a computer connected to the
A veteran Wikipedia editor, known as "Zeq," who according to the emails
is colluding with CAMERA, also provided advice to CAMERA volunteers on
how they could disguise their agenda. In a 20 March email often in
misspelled English, Zeq writes, "You don't want to be precived [sic] as
a 'CAMERA' defender' on wikipedia [sic] that is for sure." One strategy
to avoid that is to "edit articles at random, make friends not enemies
-- we will need them later on. This is a marathon not a sprint."
Zeq also identifies, in a 25 March email, another Wikipedia editor, "Jayjg,"
whom he views as an effective and independent pro-Israel advocate. Zeq
instructs CAMERA operatives to work with and learn from Jayjg, but not
to reveal the existence of their group even to him fearing "it would
place him in a bind" since "[h]e is very loyal to the wikipedia [sic]
system" and might object to CAMERA's underhanded tactics.
The emphasis on secrecy is apparently not only to aid the undetected
editing of articles, but also to facilitate CAMERA's takeover of key
administrator positions in Wikipedia.
For Zeq a key goal is to have CAMERA operatives elected as
administrators -- senior editors who can override the decisions of
others when controversies arise. When disputes arise about hotly
contested topics, such as Israel and Palestine, often only an
"uninvolved administrator" -- one who is considered neutral because he
or she has not edited or written articles on the topic -- can
Hence, Zeq advises in a 21 March email that "One or more of you who want
to take this route should stay away from any Israel realted [sic]
articles for one month until they [sic] interact in a positive way with
100 wikipedia [sic] editors who would be used later to vote you as an
Once these CAMERA operatives have successfully infiltrated as "neutral"
editors, they could then exercise their privileges to assert their own
In addition, Zeq suggests making deliberately provocative edits to
Palestine-related articles. He hopes that editors he assumes are
Palestinian will delete these changes, and then CAMERA operatives could
report them to administrators so they could be sanctioned and have their
editing privileges suspended.
Passing propaganda as fact
Gilead Ini's 17 March email provides specific advice on how to pass off
pro-Israel propaganda or opinion as fact meeting Wikipedia's strict
"So, for example, imagine that you get rid of or modify a problematic
sentence in an article alleging that 'Palestinian [sic] become suicide
bombers to respond to Israel's oppressive policies.' You should, in
parallel leave a comment on that article's discussion page (either after
or before making the change). Avoid defending the edit by arguing that
'Israel's policies aren't 'oppression,' they are defensive. And anyway
Palestinians obviously become suicide bombers for other reasons for
example hate education!' Instead, describe how this sentence violates
Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. One of the core principles is that
assertions should adhere to a Neutral Point of View, usually abbreviated
NPOV. (The opposite of NPOV is POV, or Point of View, which is basically
another way of saying subjective statement, or opinion.) So it would be
best to note on the discussion page that 'This sentence violates
Wikipedia's NPOV policy, since the description of Israel's policies as
'oppressive' is an opinion. In addition, it is often noted by Middle
East experts that one of the reasons Palestinians decide to become
suicide bombers is hate education and glorification of martyrdom in
Palestinian society ...'"
In fact, there have been numerous studies debunking claims about
Palestinian "hate education," or "glorification of martyrdom" causing
suicide bombings (such as Dying to Win by University of Chicago
political scientist Robert Pape) though this claim remains a favorite
canard of pro-Israel activists seeking to distract attention from the
effects of Israel's occupation and other well-documented and systematic
human rights abuses in fueling violence.
Zeq specifically names articles targeted for this kind of treatment
including those on the 1948 Palestinian Exodus, Causes of the 1948
Palestinian exodus, Hamas, Hizballah, Arab citizens of Israel,
anti-Zionism, al-Nakba, the Palestinian people, and the Palestinian
right of return.
Interestingly the CAMERA editors also target the article on the early
Islamic period concept of Dhimmi, a protected status for non-Muslims
which historically allowed Jews to thrive in Muslim-ruled lands while
other Jews were being persecuted in Christian Europe. Pro-Israel
activists have often tried to portray the concept of Dhimmi as akin to
the Nuremberg laws in order to denigrate Muslim culture and justify
ahistorical Zionist claims that Jews could never live safely in majority
Also among the emails is a discussion about how to alter the article on
the massacre of Palestinian civilians in the village of Deir Yassin by
Zionist militiamen on 9 April 1948. Unable to debunk the facts of the
massacre outright, the CAMERA activists hunt for quotes from "reputable
historians" who can cast doubt on it. Their strategy is not dissimilar
from those who attempt to present evolution, or global climate change as
"controversial" regardless of the weight of the scientific evidence,
simply because the facts do not accord with their belief system.
Zeq has already made extensive edits to the Wikipedia article on Rachel
Corrie, the American peace activist murdered by an Israeli soldier in
the occupied Gaza Strip on 16 March 2003. As a result of these and other
edits Zeq has himself been a controversial figure among Wikipedia
editors, suggesting his own stealth tactics may not be working.
"We will go to war"
Zeq, however, counsels CAMERA operatives to be patient and lie low until
they build up their strength. "We will go to war after we have build our
army, equiped it trained [sic]," he wrote on 9 April. "So please if you
want to win this war help us build ou[r] army. let's not just rush in
and achieve nothing, or abit more than nothing [sic]."
Update 22 April 2008
A plan by the pro-Israel pressure group CAMERA to skew the online
encyclopedia Wikipedia in a pro-Israel direction appears to have
collapsed after it was exposed by EI.
On 21 April, EI published emails and action alerts posted by CAMERA
staff and collaborators on a closed listserv instructing would-be
editors how to game the Wikipedia system so they could impose their
hard-line pro-Israel agenda undetected.
Following EI's report, Gilead Ini a CAMERA staffer and Wikipedia editor
informed members of the group that, "Because member of this group [sic]
affiliated with the anti-Israel propaganda cite [sic] Electronic
Intifada decided to share the content of our discussions, I will be
temporarily or permanently closing access to the group, in hopes that
members' personal contact information will not be made public."
Meanwhile, Wikipedia administrators issued a ban on Zeq, the editor who
was helping CAMERA to groom new editors to subvert Wikipedia's quality
control process. Zeq has been prohibited from editing Israel-Palestine
related articles and administrators were debating further action. Based
on the evidence in the emails released by EI, Wikipedia administrators
accused Zeq of violating fundamental Wikipedia principles and
guidelines. In response, Zeq alleged that the accusations were merely
the result of a "conspiracy" which he termed "The (e-mail) protocols of
the elder of CAMERA [sic]." Zeq even alleged that The EI itself "may
have created the story or created the group or spoofed e-mails."
Today EI publishes additional emails that further expose the CAMERA
plan. These emails also reveal that while Zeq is willing to accuse
others of prejudice he may hold some himself. In one email he commends
an editor whom he considers to be "anti-Islamic." And, in an echo of the
kind of anti-Semitic thinking that CAMERA sees everywhere, Zeq alleges
that "the other side" -- an apparent reference to Palestinians and
Muslims -- "is orgenized well, they control wikipedia [sic]."
Information obtained by EI indicates that while Gilead Ini claimed that
more than 50 volunteers had come forward to participate in CAMERA's
plan, and the group had set its sights on creating dozens of new editors
and administrators over a long period of time, fewer than a dozen were
active at the time EI exposed the scheme. Because the effort was
apparently in its early stages, only a handful had become active as
Download CAMERA’s emails
[PDF - 2.7MB]
Download additional CAMERA emails
[PDF - 1MB]