A Mysterious Website Is Creating An Online Blacklist Of Pro-Palestinian Students
A new website called Canary Mission is seeking to create a “blacklist” of pro-Palestinian students and academics with the goal of hindering their ability to get jobs.
“The Canary Mission database was created to expose individuals and groups that are anti-Freedom, anti-American and anti-Semitic in order to protect the public and our democratic values,” the site’s homepage says. Specifically, the site seeks to hurt the economic prospects of the groups and people it profiles.
“It is your duty to ensure that today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees,” a narrator says on a video the site posted to its YouTube account.
There are currently 56 people listed on the website as worthy of being blacklisted. A typical entry is that for Sid Patel, a student at Stanford University. Besides listing his school and organizational affiliations, Patel’s page includes “infamous quotes” such as his statement at socialistworker.org that “we should not dismiss the value of even ineffective armed resistance.” The site also includes links to his social media accounts and a photo gallery (with Pinterest support, for those so inclined).
The site says on its “about page” that it is concerned with the rise of “anti-Semitic hate crimes” on college campuses, as well as the growth of the “Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions” (BDS) movement that is seeking to economically isolate Israel.
The director of one pro-Palestinian group accused Canary Mission of trying to silence those with differing views.
“The focus on young people and students is an effort to try to tell people that there will be a price for you taking a political position,” Ali Abunimah, founder of The Electronic Intifada (a group profiled on the site), told Haaretz. “It’s an effort to punish and deter people from standing up for what they believe.”
While working to publicize the identities of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activists, Canary Mission’s own origins are currently shrouded in mystery. The site’s website lists no staff members, no contact information (besides a means to submit profiles and donations), no donors, and no allied organizations, though it claims to be operated by “students and concerned citizens.” Several pro-Israel organizations, such as Middle East Forum, StandWithUS, and the David Horowitz Freedom Center have all denied any affiliation with Canary Mission.
The site itself has hit back at its critics with a post on its blog, accusing them of hypocritically bashing those who use the same tactics as anti-Israel activists.
“Canary Mission has simply aggregated data that is already in the public domain and made it more easily accessible,” the post says. “Ironically, the BDS movement, whose entire raison d’etre is to boycott companies and individuals who support Israel, are complaining that our call to ‘boycott’ these radical individuals is undemocratic! The same people who make ‘unfair allegations,’ spread lies, anti-Semitic stereotypes and even use physical intimidation are accusing Canary Mission of McCarthyism! It’s laughable!”
The site has also defended its lack of openness about who runs and funds the site by citing the danger of Islamic radicalism.
“[F]rom ISIS, to Hamas to domestic American radicals, there is a true physical danger,” the post says.
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