Time to 'Fork Wikipedia'? Jimmy Wales Calls out Jeremy Corbyn On Gaza Strikes

Published August 12th, 2018 - 01:44 GMT
Jimmy Wales, 52, co-founder of Wikipedia had sparked outrage over his latest pro-Israel tweet. (AFP/File Photo)
Jimmy Wales, 52, co-founder of Wikipedia had sparked outrage over his latest pro-Israel tweet. (AFP/File Photo)

By Randa Darwish

Many Wikipedia contributors and donors were shocked last week by a tweet posted by the website’s co-founder, Jimmy Wales, which referenced '150' rockets fired at Israel by Hamas' yet failed to mention the dead and dying inside Gaza.  

Jimmy Wales tweeted that there were "150 rockets fired toward Israel by Hamas" on Wednesday, and accused the British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn of anti-Semitism for staying silent over this “crime”.

What outraged social media and Wikipedia users is Wales' ignorance and failure to point out the fact that Israel responded to the Gazan airstrikes and killed at least three people, including a pregnant woman with her one-year-old child while. The rockets fired toward Israel had lightly injured six people.

Responding to several tweets accusing him of zionism and bias toward inhuman Israeli acts carried out against Palestinians, Wales went to say that he is not "a politician" to “condemn every atrocity in the world." 

Wales accusations of Corbyn and his anti-Semitism, came as part of a mass backlash in media against Corbyn in the UK. It all started after his party’s announcement to adopt a definition of anti-Semitism that is different from the one approved by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Read More: Does Criticism of Israel Mix with Anti-Semitism? Global Answers From Jews

Wales’ tweet went viral and saw more than 1K comments, with most comments condemning the remarks, demanding him to be objective and convey the whole context without siding with one side over the other.

Several comments expressed their shock and disappointment that the founder of the largest online encyclopedia expresses his biased points of views, with some users cancelling monthly donations to the website.

One of the replies to Wales tweet was a thread by Ofer Neiman, who identified himself as an Israeli citizen. However, he disagreed with Wales accusing him of being silent over all the Israeli apartheid system and crimes against Palestinians saying: “How can you be so oblivious to the underlying reality of occupation and siege?”

Others called to “fork” Wikipedia as it turned out to be biased toward Israel.

Wales was known for being associated with Israel, particularly after he defended it and accepted a $1 million prize from Israel, which put Wikipedia’s editors in a difficult situation on the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

Update: Jimmy Wales contacted Al Bawaba News on 13th August 2018, in reference to the sentence "he sided with Israel in the latest Israeli airstrikes that hit Gaza." Wales added that "a call for political leaders to condemn the violence of the Hamas terror group' does not signal "an endorsement of something someone else does." 

This sentence has been amended for accuracy.

While Wales' criticism of Hamas is valid and there is no specific declaration of support for Israeli airstrikes, the omission of a reference to dead and wounded in Gaza is concerning. Al Bawaba has reached out to Wales for a discussion on the wider issues involved in the Peace Process.

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