A new website seeks to intimidate and deter pro-Palestinian activism by publicizing the identities of those organizing against the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories.
“College campuses are filled with anti-Semitic and anti-American radicals,” explains a promo-video for the site Canary Mission. “It is your duty to ensure that today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees.”
The website's specific focus is to 'expose' pro-Palestinian activism on U.S. college campuses by publishing the names, photos, occupations and resumes of students and university professors. Most of those made public on the site have ties to Students for Justice in Palestine and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, which made major victories in recent years. In California the movements succeeded in passing student-backed resolutions to divest from Israel at UC Irvine and UC San Diego. The university colleges however have so far refused to comply to students' demands.
Palestinian justice campaigners see the website as another repressive mechanism to “punish and deter people from standing up for what they believe,” Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah told The Forward.
While Canary Mission assumes to tackle “groups that are anti-Freedom, anti-American and anti-Semitic” so as to “protect democratic values,” activists say the site is deeply racist.
“The website is filled with racist stereotypes about our activism, and intentionally tries to tie a diverse non-violent student movement to anti-semitism and terror,” filmmaker and journalist Rebecca Pierce told the Guardian.
Despite the fear-mongering intentions of the site, Pierce said she would still “stand behind my activism and won’t allow racist extremists to intimidate me.”
So far it is not known who is behind the Canary Mission website. The David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Middle East Forum, notorious pro-Israel groups, have denied any relationship with the site, The Forward reported in its own investigation.
The Americans for Peace and Tolerance, which claims to fight 'extremism' on U.S. campuses had no comment over possible ties.