Dmoz.org, Open Directory Project, has strong anti-Israel bias

Dmoz.org is an open directory project owned by Netscape, and therefore by American Online (AOL). It defines itself as follows:

The Open Directory Project is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors.

It is basically a huge directory of websites with descriptions written by real people, who have volunteered for no charge. In theory that's great: what's better than to have real human beings going over the sites and describing what they see, instead of just getting a result from a random software algorithm?

The problem, or should I say "my problem", is that there's apparently only one guy, going by the alias of "shermain", who decides what the descriptions should be for ANY site related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This "shermain" turns out to be very pro-Palestinian and deliberately twists the descriptions of all pro-Israeli sites into something pejorative.

I was surprised to find out that "shermain" has described my site, FactsOfIsrael.com, as follows:

Commentary suggesting that any act or opinion not unqualifiedly in support of Israel reflects an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic mindset.

That's completely unfair.

I have spent months working on the FactsOfIsrael.com site, newsletter and screensaver - my whole idea was to list facts, not "commentary". Although the site by definition presents the Israeli perspective, I have also posted, in multiple occasions, articles critical of some of Israel's policies. The site's content is very far from only "suggesting that any act or opinion not unqualifiedly in support of Israel reflects an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic mindset."

"shermain" completely ignores the Maps, History, Stats, Palestine and Democracy pages. He couldn't care less about the pages on Victims, Palestinian Terrorism , Anti-Semitism, and Jewish History. The weekly newsletter or the screensaver I wrote and distribute for free don't get one line.

The worst thing is that the Google and Netscape search engines use the descriptions from Dmoz.org in their search results - thousands of potential surfers will certainly not even check FactsOfIsrael.com due to the decision of one person, "shermain", to describe the site in a negative light.

I have sent the Dmoz.org an email requesting an update to my description but I haven't heard yet from them.

This is pretty depressing and I'm thinking of shutting down FactsOfIsrael.com. I get hate messages and even death threats almost on a daily basis, and messages of support are extremely rare. Then comes along "shermain" who takes hundreds of hours of work and squashes it all into a derogatory and offensive one liner.

I feel like throwing up.

Update: After doing a search, I found that the guys at jewishinternetassociation.org have actually published a page on the Dmoz.org anti-Israel bias. It has a lot of good information: check it out here. Maybe there's some hope.

Update2: Little Green Footballs has also posted on the Dmoz.org anti-Israel bias. But the original posting is from July, leading me to think that nothing is going to change easily in the Open Hate Project.





Posted by David Melle
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