Talk:Phyllis Chesler

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Editing conflicts[edit]

There seems to be a conflict regarding the content of this article involving the editors CJCurrie and ZaraF. The conflict has led to an unstable article that is worse than it was to start with. Both editors are acting unconstructively in my opinion.

CJCurrie: Please do not just delete the work of other editors wholesale unless it is an obvious WP:BLP violation. If someone has added substantial content, please discuss the problems on the talk page rather than just deleting it.

ZaraF: In biographies of living people, Wikipedia has a policy that articles must use references. Please do not delete inline references or the references section at the end of the article. Also, please cite your sources when adding new material to the article. Otherwise the material may be deleted. Also please do not write in a promotional style or in a way that does not reflect a neutral point of view.

This article will get a lot further if you both work together rather than reverting each other. Feel free to continue discussion below. Kaldari (talk) 17:55, 8 July 2011 (UTC)


I have removed the following passage from this article:

Wikipedia Readers Beware! Someone keeps erasing the more accurate and comprehensive information about Dr. Phyllis Chesler. There is no guarantee that what you are reading is up to date, true, or balanced. As quickly as we post the more accurate version, someone quickly and systematically erases it and replaces it with a false, minimal, highly biased version. We will try to do the same on behalf of the truth. If the more accurate and comprehensive version is erased often enough, legal and other action will be considered.

There are a number of things that you should consider before replacing this:

  • Wikipedia has a policy against the making of legal threats please read WP:LEGAL;
  • the assertion that you would be in a position to take legal action suggests that you may have a conflict of interest, accordingly, please read WP:COI;
  • the fact that you use the phrase "we post", suggests that a group of individuals are working together to ensure that this article represents one view of the subject, while your comment may not actually represent the situation please see WP:MEAT;
  • comment on articles rather than content should be posted to the article's talk page rather than the article; and
  • it appears that you are actually removing a significant number of references from the article, while accusing others of reducing the article to being a minimal and biased version.

If you feel that one or more individuals are actually vandalising the page please use the user warning machanism see WP:UW, or request administrator intervention rather then getting into an edit war. You should also be very careful about the 3 revert rule please see WP:3RR FrankFlanagan (talk) 18:20, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

I certainly withdraw all legal threats. I simply could not understand why factual material was being deleted. The original entry was short and barely covered the scope of Dr. Chesler’s work. I tried to update it and bring it up to date, and I tried to include important accomplishments from the past that are objectivity verifiable. For example, I do not believe Dr. Chesler is not the daughter of Jewish immigrants. I have read interviews that she has given and her many works, and I intended to footnote everything and to provide living links if that is desired.

I was surprised that only the negative reviews of her book on anti-Semitism were shown, and even more surprised that there was no mention made of her work with Muslim dissidents and Muslim feminists. -ZaraF

- — Preceding unsigned comment added by ZaraF (talkcontribs) 22:36, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Ok, I know Wikipedia is difficult to understand at first but:
  • If you think an article reflects a biased point of view you can put a {{POV}} on the top of the article or at the section that you think is biased.
  • Wikipedia articles should remain neutral, so if one editor has included and cited negative reviews they should not be removed (assuming that they are real reviews), rather you should seek to introduce material to balance the article.
  • If you want to add material to a biography of a living person you need to cite references to support this material. Take a look at {{cite web}} and {{cite news}}. It may be somewhat frustrating but you can not simply write an essay even if you know that every word of it is factually correct. The two citations that I added, to support two of your positive reviews are not great citations, being to an Amazon page about the book, but as a stopgap they provide some support.
  • Material that is not supported by citations will tend to be removed almost on sight.
  • Finally, ask for help rather then getting into an edit war. An edit war and especially breaking the WP:3RR is likely to get you blocked from editing.
Please try not to get too frustrated, it takes time to get used to how Wikipedia works and nobody has a personal vendetta against you.

FrankFlanagan (talk) 23:12, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Statement(s) from CJCurrie

(i) Many aspects of this article, in its current form, are not consistent with Wikipedia's standards. I do not believe that User:ZaraF consciously set out to disrupt or undermine Wikipedia, and I recognize that most of the problems with the current edit are the result of this editor's inexperience. All the same, the content needs to be changed.

I have already removed one particularly problematic line: "Much of Dr. Chesler's recent work has focused on Islamic gender and religious apartheid." There is no agreement that "Islamic gender and religious apartheid" is a legitimate phrase; I believe it to be completely unacceptable in accordance with the principles of WP:NPOV. I will soon remove other problematic lines, and I will explain my logic on this page. CJCurrie (talk) 01:25, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

How is Islamic gender and religious apartheid not a legitimate phrase? Chesler has written hundreds of articles and an entire book on this topic. I am not analyzing Islamic gender and religious apartheid, but simply stating that this is a topic that Chesler writes about extensively. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ZaraF (talkcontribs) 17:29, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Response from NMBloom

"Islamic gender apartheid" may be harsh and politically incorrect, but it is a very concise and accurate way of describing what goes on in many Muslim-majority countries. You can find many examples at Wikipedia's "Gender Segregation and Islam" page. I could refer instead to "systematic discrimination against women in Muslim countries that is justified by Muslim clerics in the name of Islam" to describe the same phenomenon, but why waste Wikipedia real estate? Nmbloom (talk) 18:16, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

UPDATE: I've now added a new section titled "Islamic Gender Apartheid," and I think I've managed to do it in a way that's faithful to Wikipedia's style. My hope is that this will satisfy all sides.Nmbloom (talk) 20:47, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

(ii) I've removed the following lines:

Her current work covers diverse topics, including academic freedom, women’s rights, human rights, and civil rights, the failure of multicultural relativism, the dangers of terrorism, the nature of jihad, and the rise of anti-Semitism in the last decade.
Since 9/11, her work has been concerned both with the lingering vestiges of racism in general and with the potential dangers of misogynistic Islamist parallel societies in the West. Based on her research and experience living in the Muslim world, she came to espouse "the necessity of applying a single standard of human rights, not one tailored to each culture."

Phrases such as "the failure of multicultural relativism" and "misogynistic Islamist parallel societies" are clearly inconsistent with WP:NPOV. For that matter, "the nature of jihad" and "the rise of anti-Semitism in the last decade" are probably inconsistent with WP:NPOV as well.

I would be prepared to accept a modified version of this text, streamlined and made consistent with NPOV, although I think it would be redundant to return the text in any form. CJCurrie (talk) 01:30, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

(iii) I have changed this:

"The authorities forced her to surrender her U.S. passport. Because of local custom, she ended up a virtual prisoner in her in-laws' house, treated as chattel by her husband."

To this:

"The authorities forced her to surrender her U.S. passport, and she ended up a virtual prisoner in her in-laws' house, treated as chattel by her husband."

My rationale: "Because of local custom" is an ambiguous phrase and could be read as indicting an entire culture. It is not suitable for Wikipedia. CJCurrie (talk) 01:37, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

(iv) I have changed this:

"Chesler has recently become known for her campaign against the "new anti-Semitism". She wrote about the rise of genocidal racism in the Muslim world and among leftists and progressives in the West in her book The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It (2003)."

To this:

"Chesler has recently become known for her campaign against what she and others regard as a "new anti-Semitism," a subject that she addressed in her book The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It (2003)."

My rationale: a phrase like "genocidal racism in the Muslim world and among leftists and progressives in the West" is completely antithetical to the spirit of WP:NPOV. Beyond this, "new anti-Semitism" is more of a concept/subject than an undisputed phenomenon. CJCurrie (talk) 01:51, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

(v) I have removed this:

"They have abandoned a universal vision of human rights and women’s rights and have been cautious about speaking out about Islamic gender apartheid because they are afraid they will be called racists or “Islamophobes.” In her view, this is the new McCarthyism. Western intellectuals are afraid to condemn Islam’s long history of imperialism, colonialism, genocide, sexual slavery and sexual trafficking for the same reason. This work has also garnered praise from the leading Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents."

My rationale: There was a quotation error in this paragraph, and I'm not certain if the first sentence was intended to be a direct quote. Until the matter is clarified, I'll have to assume it was not. As I've already mentioned, the phrase "Islamic gender apartheid" is not consistent with NPOV; so to is "Islam’s long history of imperialism, colonialism, genocide, sexual slavery and sexual trafficking." Also, "Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents" is no more an acceptable phrase than "Jewish and ex-Jewish dissidents" or "Christian and ex-Christian dissidents" (etc.) would be. CJCurrie (talk) 01:58, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

(vi) I have changed this:

"She is not opposed to the headscarf (hijab) because it does not obscure a woman’s facial identity and allows her to engage in normal social interactions."

To this:

"She is not opposed to the headscarf (hijab) because it does not obscure a woman’s facial identity."

My rationale: There is no universal definition of "normal social interactions," and the term is not consistent with NPOV. CJCurrie (talk) 02:01, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

(vii) I have changed this:

"In 2009 and 2010, Dr. Chesler published two major academic studies about honor killings in both the West and Muslim-majority countries."

To this:

"In 2009 and 2010, Chesler published two studies about honor killings."

My rationale: A source would be required for the claim that these studies were "major academic" documents. The phrase "in both the West and Muslim-majority countries" is not so much objectionable as unnecessary. We don't refer to people by their titles in the article text. CJCurrie (talk) 02:04, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

(viii) I have changed this:

"As an activist for Muslim women’s rights, she has submitted affidavits on behalf of girls and women in flight from being honor killed who sought asylum and citizenship in the United States."

To this:

"She has submitted affidavits on behalf of women in danger being honor killed who have sought asylum and citizenship in the United States."

My rationale: There is emphatically no agreement that Chesler is an activist for Muslim women's rights. The phrase "in flight" less encyclopedic than "in danger." CJCurrie (talk) 02:08, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

(ix) I have changed this:

"With the new release of Mothers on Trial, Chesler is now turning her attention to divorce and custody battles. The book has been reviewed by Library Journal (“Heavily documenting her book with legal precedent, expert input, and studies, Chesler makes her case with all of her zeal intact. Fresh, timely content.”) It has also been reviewed by Kirkus (“An unblinking look at gender bias in child-custody battles. Chesler storms the gates with a compelling and well-researched update of her 1986 landmark title…The author outlines the decline in legal justice many mothers have experienced since 1986…Chesler weaves heart-rending (and enraging) stories of the ‘good enough’ mother, a sole caregiver often slandered as morally questionable.”)"

To this:

"Chesler's Mothers on Trial is focused on divorce and custody battles. It was received favourable reviews from the Library Journal and Kirkus."

My rationale: quoting blurbs verbatim doesn't strike me as on par with Wikipedia's standards.

Comments welcome. CJCurrie (talk) 02:12, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for working to integrate the new material into the article. I think it seems more balanced now. What's your opinion ZaraF? Kaldari (talk) 20:29, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

(x) I've now removed these:

Ibn Warraq writes, "Chesler's book is a welcome critique of the Feminist Left's willful and shameful neglect of their sisters' plight in the Islamic World....Chesler paints a truthful picture of the world that women under Islam have to live in. One hopes Chesler's book will bring about not only a change in attitudes but some sort of political and social action on behalf of women suffering because of the totalitarian and misogynistic tenets of Islam."
Amir Taheri writes, “Feminism is dead; long live new feminism. This is the message of Phyllis Chesler’s fascinating study of Islamic gender apartheid that, transcending the traditional frontiers of Islam, is spreading to the West, including the United States. Anyone interested in understanding Islamism, this latest enemy of open societies, should read this book.”
Feminist leader, Kate Milllet praised the book and writes, “Chesler knows whereof she speaks…and in telling her story she is sounding a warning to the west that it ignores to its peril.”
About Mothers On Trial, The 2011 Library Journal Review writes, “Heavily documenting her book with legal precedent, expert input, and studies, Chesler makes her case with all of her zeal intact. Fresh, timely content… “Library Journal, July, 2011
Kirkus Reviews writes, "An unblinking look at gender bias in child-custody battles…Chesler weaves heart-rending (and enraging) stories of the “good enough” mother, a sole caregiver often slandered as morally questionable."Kirkus Reviews, July 2011

My rationale is fairly simple: Wikipedia doesn't exist to be a repository of favourable press notices. If Chesler wishes to include these references in her press kit, she's welcome to do so; this is not the place for it.

You could, perhaps, summarize the above content by writing, "Chesler's title received favourable notices from such-and-such and so-and-so," and I wouldn't even be averse to having a short quote thrown into the bargain. In doing so, however, we also should clarify the nature of these notices (which to my mind read suspiciously like jacket blurbs).

We should also include proper references, which generally require a bit more detail than, for instance, "Library Journal, July, 2011". CJCurrie (talk) 06:19, 11 July 2011 (UTC)


I have removed this:

"Her current work covers ... the nature of Jihad."

My rationale: "the nature of Jihad" is a slanted phrase, even if it wasn't intended as such. CJCurrie (talk) 06:26, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Comments by ZaraF "Ibn Warraq writes.....Amir Taheri writes..." My rationale: On your removal of positive reviews of the Death of Feminism: The reviewers of The Death of Feminism are respected scholars These scholars also write about religious and gender apartheid. I am not able to find negative reviews, but if they exist, you or anyone else may post excerpts from them. CJCurrie did not seek out a single positive endorsement or review of any of Chesler’s works, and this struck me as far from neutral and in need of correction. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

"Chesler writes about...the nature of Jihad..."

My rationale: Jihad is has been widely used to describe the military aggression that is essentially religious as well imperialistic in nature that Muslim and Islamists leaders have undertaken in the past and today. There is an alternate description of jihad as an inner spiritual struggle. Both forms of Jihad exist, and we cannot write about one without writing about the other. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:33, 11 July 2011 By ZaraF

On my removal of "Chesler is a daughter of Jewish immigrants." My rationale: Chesler is not the daughter of immigrants. I recently conducted a personal interview to verify this information. I should also be able to cite this fact from other sources shortly. by ZaraF

Comments by Frank Flanagan

Zara F,

while it is apparent that is you, now that you have created a user name please log in to edit. It makes things easier for all involved to see what is happening and avoids the potential for allegations of sock puppetry or attempts to circumvent the WP:3RR.

You might also sign entries on talk pages by using ~~~~

I am sorry that you have had something of a rough introduction to Wikipedia but I believe that this article is converging, if perhaps asymptotically, towards a measure of agreement. You might let us have your views.

I have reinserted female serial killer in the sentence about Aileen Wuornos, I assume that this deletion was accidental and you are not seeking to promulgate a new version of the book of Genesis or equivalent.

I have reverted this sentence to argues: "Chesler argues multicultural relativism to have failed." The use of the word "understands" in this sentence appears to be POV.

I have reverted your reference to a personal interview with Ms. Chesler to 'citation needed'. The content of articles, and especially biographies, needs verifiable sources.

I have replaced the reference attached to writings attributed to Ibn Warraq with 'Citation needed' as the reference was to Ms. Chesler. If the reference is to a quote provided for the cover please feel reference it as Ibn Warraq quoted on the cover of...

Amir Taheri ditto.

I leave Jihad entirely to others. (talk) 22:34, 11 July 2011 (UTC) Preceding comment saved by me, by accident without being logged in, apologies. FrankFlanagan (talk) 05:50, 12 July 2011 (UTC)


I think this article is approaching some form of equlibrium. Subject to the views of all of involved, and no substantial edits in the next couple of days I believe the POV tag on the article might be deleted. FrankFlanagan (talk) 21:10, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

CJcurrie, a more balanced perspective was suggested and I am right now trying to present just that by presenting critical views of Chesler's work in serveral areas. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:45, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

More comments by CJCurrie[edit]

I've made several adjustments to this article over the last hour or so. I'm not going to justify every change that I've made, but I'll cover the main points here:

  • (i) "Islamic gender apartheid"

There is absolutely no justification for including this phrase as though it were an agreed-upon concept. We would not, and should not, allow a Wikipedia article to use the term "Israeli apartheid" in this fashion; neither should we allow "Islamic gender apartheid."

  • (ii) Favourable literary notices

There are actually two issues here:

(a) Excessive quoting from favourable reviews is a form of undue weight. I have no problem with some such quoting, but there's a point beyond which it detracts from the article's value. As I wrote above, Wikipedia doesn't exist as a repository of favourable (or unfavourable) press notices.

(b) Blurbing is not the same as reviewing, and some of the favourable "reviews" referenced in this article appear, on further examination, to be blurbs. If we're going to cover the critical reaction to any of Chesler's works, we should probably look a bit further than the writing on the inside jacket cover.

  • (iii) The introduction

Introductions are meant to summarize the subject of an article. In its previous form, the introduction was overloaded with unnecessary details about Chesler's recent publications (not to mention an out-of-place reference to an unpublished manuscript). I've taken the liberty of making the text more succinct.

CJCurrie (talk) 06:04, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

ZARAF: I disagree. I don't think that the details, particularly about Chesler's recent publications, are unnecessary. There are many other similar BLPs that have longer introductions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ZaraF (talkcontribs) 19:15, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Please see WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. I imagine there are many similar BLPs that *shouldn't* have longer introductions. CJCurrie (talk) 23:33, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Response to CJCurrie[edit]

  • (i) Islamic gender apartheid

Even though I think the term "Israeli apartheid" is wildly inaccurate, I would have no problem with it appearing on a Wikipedia page so long as the page is about a scholar whose work makes heavy use of the term. It is impossible to give Wikipedia's readers an understanding of Chesler's recent work without emphasizing the term "Islamic gender apartheid".

If your argument represents Wikipedia policy, then why does a search for "Islamic gender apartheid" direct me automatically to an existing Wikipedia page?

Moreover, I think that your choice of "Views on Muslim Culture" as a header for the section in Islamic gender apartheid is unfair because it wrongly suggests that Chesler opposes Muslim culture per se and believes that it is inherently segregationist and anti-Western. As one of the sentences you deleted makes clear, Chesler has worked with and for Muslim dissidents in the past and is certainly not anti-Islam.

As for the quote from the Jewish Press, I object to it because it is so unrepresentative of Chesler's recent work. I can't see why you would bring it in now, devoid of context, except to make Chesler look bad.

  • (ii) Understood.
  • (iii) Agreed, in particular about the reference to the unpublished manuscript.Nmbloom (talk) 16:26, 14 July 2011 (UTC)


(i) "Islamic gender apartheid" is a functioning redirect for the same reason that "Israeli apartheid" is a functioning redirect -- enough people have used the term to justify linking to a page that covers the broader debate. This doesn't mean that we should present the term as it were an accepted concept.
It would not be appropriate to write "So-and-so has been fighting Israeli apartheid for x number of year" on a Wikipedia article, even if the article in question is a biography page about a scholar whose work addresses the subject.
(ii) Further to the above, "Muslim dissidents" is also a term that we should avoid using as though it were an accepted concept (just as we should avoid using terms like "Jewish dissidents," "Jainist dissidents," etc.).
(iii) "Views on Muslim culture" strikes me as an accurate subject heading, though I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to some modification.
(iv) The Jewish Press quote is in-context within the framework of the article. If you think it's unrepresentative of Chesler's work generally, free feel to add something else (properly sourced, of course) in the space after it. CJCurrie (talk) 23:44, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

NMBloom Responses

(i) OK.
(ii) This I don't understand. "Jewish dissidents" is totally accepted, e.g. "Jewish dissidents in the USSR". On what grounds is "Muslim dissidents" not accepted? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nmbloom (talkcontribs) 16:00, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
The "Jewish dissidents in the USSR" weren't dissidents within the framework of Judaism, so that's not really a comparable term. CJCurrie (talk) 04:22, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand what you mean. Human Rights Watch has an article with "Muslim dissidents" in the headline. In other words, it's not just a "right-wing" term.Nmbloom (talk) 15:56, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
The "Muslim dissidents in Uzbekistan" referenced in that article are political dissidents. I'm sure that Googling "Muslim dissidents" will yield other more-or-less neutral uses of the term (e.g., in China or perhaps Chechyna), but these examples aren't reflective of the way Chesler uses the term. CJCurrie (talk) 00:18, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
cj - you are not the editor-in-chief, so please, watch your tone and your comments. muslim dissidents exist. chesler describes them. renaming them is just another attempt at watering down a perfectly good term. enough already, ok? Soosim (talk) 06:08, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

"Islamic gender apartheid"[edit]

way too many topics above to functionally be able to deal with them in an orderly fashion. so, i will start with this one: "Islamic gender apartheid" - it is a real term, used by chesler. perhaps it is not the most appropriate politically correct term, but having it in quotes should allay those worries. let's keep it for now and see if anyone else wants to comment on it. perhaps an alternative would be to use Gender Apartheid in Iran and the Muslim World. (this is her focus, and not the broader concept of 'views on muslim culture'. Soosim (talk) 05:57, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Actually, Soosim, my preferred version of this article *does* use the term "Islamic gender apartheid," in quotes (i.e., wording to the effect of, "Chesler believes there is such a thing as ...") -- I just don't use it as a subject header, where it's completely inappropriate. The fact that it's politically incorrect isn't the issue; the fact that it's a POV phrase most certainly is. CJCurrie (talk) 04:21, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
it is not POV. sorry. it is a descriptive term. no different than many others used out there (and yes, i know that 'other stuff exists', but i am referring to this one). Soosim (talk) 18:12, 16 July 2011 (UTC)


As of 3 August 2011, much of this article is written in promotional terms, in the manner of an advertisement. There is an undue reliance of promotional blurbs for literary reviews, a questionable use of other sources to bolster Chesler's credentials, and an undue emphasis on some of Chesler's media appearances. What's worse, much of the commentary about Chesler is written in accordance with her own POV (e.g., describing CNN as "liberal media").

I've tried to deal with this article in a piecemeal fashion, but there are so many problems with the current draft that an "advertisement" tag seems impossible to avoid. This article needs to be fixed, and soon. CJCurrie (talk) 23:48, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Removing the advertisement tag[edit]

If this page looks like an advertisement, it is only because Chesler has so many accomplishments and because so many other scholars and writers have praised her work. I took the liberty of looking at a comparable page, that of Tony Judt. Even though Tony Judt's work was highly controversial, the page includes no criticism of his work at all--yet that page has not been tagged as an "advertisement," nor has its neutrality been disputed. Could it be because Tony Judt was a left-liberal and a known anti-Zionist? Can CJCurrie have a political bias that is clouding her judgment?

I also recommend that you look at the pages of Judith Butler, Edward Said, and Norman Finkelstein, all scholars who have gotten away with clear NPOV violations because, unlike Chesler, they are anti-Israel. Said’s article is 85% praise, is written from Said’s own POV, and allows only 15% of the article to cover criticism. Judith Butler’s entry also has 86% praise and only 14% covers criticism of her views—but not criticism of her views on Israel. Norman Finkelstein’s entry has only 8% criticism and 92% praise. Even though his combat with those who have challenged his views is covered here and elsewhere on Wikipedia, Finkelstein is presented as a victim and the POV of the presentation of those who challenge him is Finkelstein’s POV, not neutral. ZaraF (talk) 16:52, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

To expand on this point, I recommend taking a look at Daniel Pipes's Wikipedia page. According to my estimates, 40% of the article is either directly or indirectly critical of his work. This is because he is pro-Israel and opposed to--you guessed it--Islamic gender apartheid. ZaraF (talk) 19:28, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

ZaraF, I have no interest in judging the overall merits of the Judt, Butler, Said, Finkelstein, and Pipes pages in the context of this discussion. I will simply remark that none of those pages is overloaded with hyperbolic praise, as Chesler's article currently is. (I have no idea where you're getting those percentage figures from, btw -- I'd have a hard time believing that Finkelstein's page is "92% praise.")
You have written, "If this page looks like an advertisement, it is only because Chesler has so many accomplishments and because so many other scholars and writers have praised her work." I realize that Chesler is a prolific author, and I don't have any objection to noting her literary accompishments or indicating the critical praise her work has received. I do object to including voluminous clippings of favourable reviews, particularly when some of these are taken from jacket blurbs. I also object to the fact that much of the article's prose is written in a way that bolster's Chesler's POV. Unless these matters are corrected, the page will remain an advertisement.
I would also encourage you to stick to the discussion at hand, rather than suggesting (on the basis of five biographical articles) that there is an anti-Israel bias on the project. CJCurrie (talk) 01:05, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

CJCurrie has demanded a more critical approach to the issues raised by Chesler’s work and I have begun to drop in precisely such criticism and challenges. I do not understand why CJCurrie keeps disappearing the very criticism for which she has called. by ZaraF

 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:00, 5 August 2011 (UTC) 
I don't know what ZaraF is referring to here. In any event, I've made a number of adjustments to the article, removing some extremely biased paragraphs (some of which used Chesler's books to represent the views of her opponents, an open door to strawman arguments if ever there was one) and adding some content that summarizes Chesler's views in a clear, NPOV way. I've also removed a reference to various countries that Chesler has written about, as this fact is not of encyclopedic significance. (This is something I should have done a while ago.)
I would strongly encourage all contributing editors to familiarize themselves with the principles of WP:NPOV and to refrain from padding this article with promotional text ("Chesler and others have pointed out that the face veil is not religiously mandated," "Chesler has shown that honor killings are not the same as Western domestic violence and has explained that if we fail to understand this specific kind of violence (etc.)".) We have an obligation to fairly represent Chesler's views, not to promote them.
This page still has serious problems; let's not compound them. CJCurrie (talk) 05:30, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

The author's reaction to her Wikipedia page[edit]

This entry has now been called to my attention. I find it misleading and strange to cite how my work has been reviewed mainly and only in Canada, specifically in Toronto, and in the 1970s. I see that someone must have deleted some of this Toronto-specific material, but for the record please allow me to note that my work has been reviewed and I have been interviewed around the world in Asia, the Middle East, South America, Australia and New Zealand, more than ten countries in Europe, in at least 30-40 American states, and from coast to coast in Canada. I must assume that CJCurrie mainly has access to the Toronto media, but Wikipedia readers are entitled to a more accurate and global approach. By choosing articles that may present me personally as "strident" or in some way too radical, CJCurrie sidesteps the vital issues that my work deals with. Phyllischesler (talk) 17:03, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Thank you. Your critique is well taken.
Sources are generally needed, especially sources that are third-party and secondary. One result is that an editor may know something to be true but often finding a source for that information can be time-consuming even for the knowledgeable. Since editors have many reasons for editing and Wikipedia mostly does not assign editing to anyone, the wish to add a fact is often held up by the need to find a supporting source, especially when the fact is likelier to be challenged, and that's especially likely when the general subject of an article is often controverted. Self-published statements and primary sources can sometimes be used but only within tighter limits.
Articles have a length limit of about 100 KiB (roughly 14,000 words of common English, not counting formatting, linking, and whatnot) and within that there should be a balance of what's important. Articles can link to other articles, including subarticles on separately notable subjects.
Neutrality is required of an article (not of sources or editors), so some criticisms, if published elsewhere, typically belong, albeit usually not as a dominant share of an article and with a balance of what's important.
You're welcome to edit, with caveats that an article may not be owned (in the sense of 'controlled') by any editor or group and edits by an editor with a conflict of interest (COI) are generally allowed but subject to closer scrutiny (an editor with a COI can post a proposed edit on an article's talk page for another editor's consideration). The same caveats apply if an aide or associate of yours edits. A COI should be declared on the talk page of any relevant article (such as here) because transparency helps credibility. As an editor, you can also create a user page for yourself and state qualifications you'd like Wikipedians to know, but you don't have to, and many editors prefer privacy (to start a user page, click on your username at the end of your post above). A user talk page is useful for temporary messages and two-way communication, you can start one by clicking "talk" next to your username above, and, depending on your preferences, if someone posts to your talk page Wikimedia can email you that someone did so, which may be convenient (a user is not given your email address unless you reply to that user).
What I said of ownership in the sense of 'control' differs from ownership of copyright; each editor's edits presumptively remain under copyright and are licensed upon posting by the respective editor as provided in Wikipedia, regardless of one's relationship to the subject of an article. The licensing is named and linked at the bottoms of articles; generally, among other provisions, other people can copy and modify what's posted.
I'm assuming you're the subject of the article. If you're not and you're someone who chose a username that happens to be similar to the subject's, and it isn't coincidentally your real name as well as hers, you may need to change your username, and that probably includes if you're her aide. If you're personally the article's subject, welcome aboard and thanks again.
Nick Levinson (talk) 17:47, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
This paragraph explains how subjects of articles may edit. Usually it's confined to correcting errors, taking out objectionable material under WP:BLP policy. If you want more information added, usually it's best to just list it here with WP:Reliable sources references and allow others to do it, to avoid conflict of interest issues and debates which can be more trouble than they are worth. CarolMooreDC (talk) 18:44, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. Nick Levinson (talk) 20:25, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Recent reversions[edit]

Hello everyone,

I've made a few adjustments to the page; my reasons for doing so follow.

(i) I've removed this line: "Daughter-killing by one’s family of origin is unique to honor killing as is capital punishment for perceived “westernization” or for alleged sexual or marital impropriety." This is presented as a statement of fact, rather than as a position held by Chesler. This seems questionable (I rather doubt that murders resulting from alleged sexual or marital impropriety are unique to "honor killing," for instance). One way or the other, it would require a source.

(ii) I've changed "Chesler has acknowledged that "many honorable feminists disagree with [her] on (her work in this area) and that "understandably, such feminists fear singling out one group for behavior that may be common to all groups" back to "She has acknowledged that "many honorable feminists disagree with [her] on this point" and that "understandably, such feminists fear singling out one group for behaviour that may be common to all groups." My reason is fairly straightforward: it's more consistent with the source.

(iii) I've removed this: "Islamist and Muslim groups have criticized Chesler for pursuing this line of research. They insist that honor killings do not exist or have nothing to do with Islam, that they are pre-Islamic tribal customs; and that domestic violence exists, Aug. 24, 2000, Musaji, “The Death of Aqsa Parvez Should Be an Interfaith Call to Action”ref"

My reason: "" is a self-proclaimed "Islamic Information and Products site." There is nothing to indicate that this site is notable in the modern intellectual discourse concerning Islam, let alone that it is representative of Muslim (or "Islamist and Muslim") opinion. Whether intended or not, presenting the site in this context comes off as a straw man argument -- it would be a rather unusual claim to suggest that Muslim groups generally "insist that honor killings do not exist," for instance.

I could add that a casual reference to "Islamist and Muslim groups" isn't particularly good form, as it seems to lump everyone in the same category.

(iv) I've also removed this: "Some Western feminists have challenged Chesler in terms of focusing overly much on honor killings.ref“Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?”; A Civilized Dialogue about Islam and Honor Killing; When Feminist Heroes Disagree,” Chesler Chronicles, Mar. 2, 2009/ref Such feminists are uncomfortable singling out one group of perpetrators, especially an immigrant or Muslim group. In addition, they fear that the smaller number of sensational cases will serve to disappear the larger number of non-honor killing incidents of domestic violence in the West."

Reasons: (i) this point is already covered above, in more neutral language; (ii) "Chesler Chronicles" is a Phyllis Chesler project, and allowing her represent the views of her opponents seems an unusual privilege. I could add that "uncomfortable" is slanted language -- one could just as easily, and more neutrally, write that "Such feminists object to singling out one group of perpetrators."

(v) I've removed this: "Increasingly, Chesler notes, as Daniel Pipes has, that common thieves and terrorists have also used the burqa for criminal purposes."ref Pipes, Daniel. "Ban the Burqa-and the Niqab Too." Jerusalem Post (2007)./ref

Reason: Pipes's article has nothing to do with Chesler. The only purpose I can imagine for including this line would be to bolster her argument, and that's not proper encyclopedic form.

(vi) I've removed the section entitled "Sexual Violence in Muslim Countries." Reason: the paragraph depicted Chesler's claims as though they were accepted facts. This too is not consistent with encyclopedic practice. It might be possible to return some of this paragraph, but only if it's written much more carefully.

I hope that people will take these changes seriously and will refrain from blanket-reverting the page with no effort to engage in this discussion. The page is still very close to an advertisement at present; as before, we shouldn't make matters worse.

On another matter, it seems that some people believe I'm overly dependent on Canadian sources for this article. I can only respond that I have access to many articles from multiple countries, and that I did not consciously set out to find Canadian sources to use here (I've found it ironic that so many have turned up, but there was no design involved). One way or the other, I don't believe "too many Canadian sources" is a valid cause for BLP-related concerns. CJCurrie (talk) 05:11, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Addendum: I've asked contributors to Wikiproject:Feminism to review this content dispute. This argument needs new voices. CJCurrie (talk) 05:17, 9 August 2011 (UTC)


It's a long time since I edited Wikipedia - so please forgive me if I can't remember all the symbols & protocols. I just wanted to say that it seems to me that CJCurrie is pushing a strong agenda in his/her criticism here. Just as a small example, a statement like 'I rather doubt that murders resulting from alleged sexual or marital impropriety are unique to "honor killing"' can be taken at face value. Unless of course we all put our heads in the sand and refuse to read the newspapers. Sure, every now and again someone kills their daughter for sexual misconduct and doesn't call it an honor killing - but the overwhelming number of such murders in the name of "honor killing" makes Cheslers' argument fact, not opinion.Hpaami (talk) 18:36, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

My point was that murders resulting from alleged sexual and marital improprietry are not unique to honor killing, a statement so banal that it hardly requires proof. CJCurrie (talk) 21:34, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
The bottom line is that it is Chesler's opinion and should be described as such. CarolMooreDC (talk) 21:40, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Beware WP:Coatrack[edit]

There definitely is a tendency I've found in a few feminist articles to use the topic of treatment of women in some Islamic countries not as a legitimate criticism but as a way of Muslim bashing for political purposes, including by using her quotes and also with highly visible sectioning. The "Views and writings on Muslim culture" section has just such questionable sectioning. On lead paragraph and one paragraph on each topic should be more than enough. Also, that she is a Zionist does need to be mentioned and ref'd other places she's quoted on this topic. And obviously to be included in this article. Probably more info could be included than what I just added, but what I added is relevant. CarolMooreDC (talk) 21:18, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

The reason that "Views and writings on Muslim culture" is a "highly visible" section is because her views and writings on Muslim culture are a "highly visible" part of her work, especially her recent work. No bias here.
Why does it need to be mentioned that Chesler is a Zionist? So are a majority of the world's 13 million or so Jews. It's not a big deal and doesn't merit mention in an encyclopedia. If you're going to mention that she is a Zionist, you should only do so in the context of the many articles that she's written on the subject and her years as a pro-Israel activist. The way the article looks now, with just a single sentence saying that she is a Zionist, makes it look like you are trying to smear her. Not that there's anything wrong with being a Zionist, i.e. someone who supports the Jewish people's right to self-determination in its ancestral homeland, but the word is sometimes used as invective (kind of like the word "liberal"). It's important to be careful with the Z-word. Nmbloom (talk) 20:50, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Obviously more can be written on the subject of her Zionism. Plus I know I've read criticism of her writing about Islam and women even from feminists. More research needed. CarolMooreDC (talk) 01:38, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
I see that Nmbloom reverted that paragraph (since properly reverted back) without replying to my comment about "more can be written on the subject of her Zionism." Do you want more on the subject? I'll be happy to provide it. CarolMooreDC 14:41, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
I see that User: Aa2643 who has all of two edits, both on this article, deleted the above writing: Deleted last sentence of the Introduction Biography: Phyllis' work on behalf of Israel and women are not necessarily tied. The statement was misleading and inappropriately placed. If User: Aa2643 would like to say where she thinks the additional info I'll put in should be placed "appropriately," fine. Is that "Women and Judaism" (and hopefully in any case we'll find some of her criticism of fundamentalist Jews who have various separatist practices) or "Statements and writings on Islam"? I'll put more info in where I decide it should be and then we can discuss if it needs to be in the lead or not in conjunction with other material there. CarolMooreDC 14:17, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

I-P conflict[edit]

I don't have enough knowledge on differences to have a strong view on which phrase should be used, but Wikipedia prefers Category:Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the article is Israeli–Palestinian conflict. CarolMooreDC (talk) 03:52, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Journalism section[edit]

ZScarpia inserted the following section, which I've moved to the talk page for discussion:

Op-ed articles by Chesler are published by the Israeli media network Arutz Sheva and and by The Jewish Press.[1][2] Articles by her also appear in FrontPage Magazine.[3]

It's pure WP:OR - an editor has taken it upon himself to look through some publications and decide which ones are publishing Chesler. But because I'm in the mood to call a spade a spade, I'll point out that it was added for the purpose of associating Chesler with right-wing Jewish publications, and in so-doing undermine her. That's why WP:BLP required its removal. Of course, if reliable secondary sources make these kinds of claims about Chesler, then it could be included citing those reliable secondary sources. Jayjg (talk) 05:35, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Here's one for starters, last line of page 147 of Islamic terror: conscious and unconscious motives by Avner Falk which explicitly mentions she is frequently published in the "neoconservative" Front page magazine.
Additionally her web page lists a bunch of articles and where published. Mentioning the top five to eight would seem to me to be an NPOV enough venture. CarolMooreDC 00:15, 7 November 2011 (UTC)