I and a number of other bloggers and journalists have written about the pro-Israel brigades who haunt Wikipedia, deleting articles deemed anti-Israel and writing articles which promote a pro-Israel narrative. Among others, Gerald Steinberg and his NGO, NGO Monitor have been accused of engaging in such prohibited behavior. He even had the chutzpah to write a “paper” published at a vanity “academic” publishing site boasting of the methods he used to game Wikipedia.
The obvious reason why this is so destructive is that Wikipedia is a resource which thrives on credibility, thoroughness and fairness. When editors game the system they destroy those important values.
For years, I’ve noted that any attempts other Wikipedia editors have made to write about this blog or link to anything published here have been met with a show of opposition from these pro-Israel editors. Scores of links to posts here have been deleted in an attempt to ensure that my reporting would not be treated as a credible Wikipedia source. Over a long period, the Tikun Olam article has been defaced by others. In another instance, a major story I broke here announcing that Avera Mengistu had been captured in Gaza and was being held by Hamas, was deleted after a similar campaign. Though the article was reinstated after being rewritten, there is no link to the original post I wrote breaking the story. Instead, there is a link to the Tikun Olam article, which mentions the Mengistu story. It too does not link to my original post.
Now I can pinpoint the blame for a substantial part of this campaign of harassment and stalking. The Wikipedia user, Kigelim, has been singled out for stalking me by a Wikipedia admin. He’s been prohibited from editing the Tikun Olam article. He’s been warned to stop the behavior (see below). But apparently, he can’t help himself.
On June 18th, I wrote a post here comparing the treatment of immigrant children by ICE here in the U.S. to the fraudulent portrayal of the Palestinian family singled out by the Israeli army for harrassment and persecution. In the introduction to the post, I credited Israel for pioneering a number of nasty counter-terror security procedures. One of them was racial profiling. In the comment thread, a commenter calling himself Ariel Levy (certainly a pseudonym) claimed that Israel did not pioneer racial profiling. I responded by linking to a Wikipedia article on Racial Profiling in Israel which noted that Israel did first use the practice in airport security screening after 1972.
Due to his repeated comment rule infractions, I had just banned “Levy.” But he posted one last comment that was quite instructive:
And you [sic] Israeli profiling article will be deleted soon. Can’t believe you bring Wikipedia as a source, especially a tiny little article that is clearly written by an anti Israeli.
I visited the racial profiling Wikipedia article and noted that a user named Kigelim had initiated a campaign to delete the article on June 20th. The date he published his comment here was June 21st. Putting two and two together, it would appear that Kigelim of Wikipedia and Levy of the comment threads are one and the same. That’s called sockpuppetry and when you do it at one site like Wikipedia, it will get you in a lot of trouble.
In fact, in another Wikipedia episode, he persuaded a Wikipedia admin that I was using sockpuppetry. I refuted the claim by noting that I posted from the U.S. and my alleged sockpuppet posted from Israel. So it would be impossible for me to be in two places at once. That was the end of that claim.
Then I did even more sleuthing and visited Kigelim’s talk page where I discovered that over the years he’s stalked and defaced this blog’s Wiki page. Eventually he was prohibited from editing it at all. Unfortunately, he was not prohibited from stalking me on Wikipedia, which his latest behavior proves he continues unabated.
Here are some salient comments from an admin in 2016 regarding Kigelim’s behavior:
This is your final warning. You have been told repeatedly that you are not permitted to edit articles related to the Arab-Israeli conflict because of WP:ARBPIA3#500/30. Nevertheless, you continue to edit such articles.
You have been warned that your obsession with and hatred of Richard Silverstein is interfering with your ability to edit the encyclopedia in accordance with our policies concerning WP:NPOV and WP:BLP. Nevertheless, you continue to edit Tikun Olam (blog) with wanton disregard for neutrality.
The next time I see you doing either of these, I will report you and you are likely to lose your editing privileges.
A second warning:
Kigelim, please read WP:ARBPIA3#500/30. It applies to “any page that could be reasonably construed as being related to the Arab-Israeli conflict”. Any page. As I wrote, If you don’t believe Tikun Olam (blog) is “related to the Arab-Israeli conflict”, please contact an administrator. She or he will set you straight. (Read the second sentence of the article, for god’s sake!) There is nothing to discuss—the rule is clear—you are not permitted to edit Tikun Olam (blog). Period.
This indicates the obsessive, almost pathological behavior pro-Israel advocates engage in and the lengths they’re willing to go to pursue their interests in suppressing speech on Wikipedia and elsewhere that is critical of Israel. Of course, one can’t tell at this point whether Kigelim is freelancing or part of an orchestrated official effort.