Urban Dictionary deletes offensive definitions of anti-Zionism, Zionism

The online dictionary does not generate definitions itself, but rather through volunteer edits and crowd-sourced users who post their own definitions.

Dictionary (photo credit: FLICKR)
(photo credit: FLICKR)
The open collaborative online dictionary Urban Dictionary has removed the antisemitic definitions of "anti-Zionism" and "Zionism" from its website after receiving backlash following its tweet defining anti-Zionism via its official Twitter account last Tuesday.
Urban Dictionary also deleted the controversial tweet.
The dictionary runs a service through its Twitter account where users can mention Urban Dictionary and list a word to be defined, and a bot will answer their tweet and give them the closest definition to the word listed in their database. For the tweet that sparked the row, the bot was asked to give the definition of "Zionism."
It should be noted that Urban Dictionary does not generate the definitions itself, but rather through volunteer edits and crowd-sourced users who define the words themselves.
The definition given by the Urban Dictionary bot for "anti-Zionism" was posted by Fon on March 30, 2005, and reads as follows:
"Anti-Zionism is in no way connected to antisemitism. To be anti-Zionist is to be anti-fascist. Zionism is based on the idea that millennia old literary myth is the basis for nationhood and that religion (which is a matter of choice) is genetically predetermined, both of which are clearly shite. Zionists believe that they can turn up in a country and kick out the indigenous population, as did Hitler." It uses the sentence: "Zionists are fascist."
Following the tweet, the Campaign Against Antisemitism pressured the website to remove the antisemitic definition of anti-Zionism, which they claim "has become all too common on Urban Dictionary." The CAA did so by targeting its advertisers – putting the burden on them to either withdraw from a website that promotes antisemitic definitions or be categorized as one who supports such behavior.
“Comparing Zionism to Nazism is textbook anti-Semitism, which has become all too common on Urban Dictionary. Those behind the website have been slow to act against racism on their platform, but in the past we have successfully pressured them to delete gratuitously anti-Semitic entries by going after their advertisers. We will not hesitate to do so again if Urban Dictionary does not remove this entry and prove that it is capable of administering a site that doesn’t incite hatred,” a CAA spokesperson said, according to the Jewish Press.
The new definition, provided by the user Equality for all, states that "there is no such thing as anti-zionism. There is zionism and there are zionists," noting that the definition contradicts itself: "Those that you label anti-zionist are anti-racist; they oppose racism in every country. Those that you label anti-zionist condemn antisemitism since it is a form of racism. Those that you label anti-zionist condemn the white-supremacy that exists in Israel, North America, UK and Aus," and continues along those lines.
Used in a sentence: "As you can see, there is no actual movement known as antizionism. What you think is anti-zionism is simply people from all walks of life with many different opinions that oppose, condemn or protest against the same unfair practices in every country, not just the unfair practices and discrimination that occur in Israel/Palestine and against Palestinians."
While as noted, the definition for "anti-Zionism" was crowd-sourced, Urban Dictionary as of August 12 did not have a definition for Zionism, which could be why the bot displayed anti-Zionism instead.
However, upon searching the website again in the following days, the CAA saw that a user created what would be deemed an offensive definition of "Zionism." This shows the ongoing problem that Urban Dictionary has of inadvertently promoting and monetizing hate speech, and that the website might not possess the means to properly police its definitions.
The definition read as follows: “The crazy belief that Palestinians deserve to have their land stolen from them and for them to be abused should they stay there. Right-wingers will whine about how anyone who opposes this belief is anti-Semitic in their eyes, when the right have [sic] the worst record when it comes to treatment of Jews. Zionism is the new Nazism.”
As of an August 19 search, the definition was change to an inoffensive one: "Zionism is the name of the movement for self-determination of the Jews in their homeland, where they had settled and lived for 1,500 years, from around 1,300 BCE to their exile by the Romans in 135 CE," etc.