Mainstream media covers website attacking pro-Palestine activists but downplays threat to free speech

US Politics
on 6 Comments

The Canary Mission is a covert group of Israel supporters whose mission is to release the private information of supporters of Palestinian human rights, international law, and the peaceful Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in an explicit effort to prevent them from getting jobs. In short, the Canary Mission exists solely to attack human rights activists and make their lives miserable.

It is not known who is behind the organization and where it gets its funding. Although it publishes details about the personal lives of activists, the Canary Mission has released no information whatsoever about its own staff. While the site claims to be a non-profit organization—although no such organization is registered as a 501(c)(3).

Many commentators have accused the Canary Mission of “McCarthyist tactics” and “open racism” and have described the furtive group as “neo-McCarthyist.”

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) activist Max Geller told Israeli publication Haaretz that the organization is “creepy and I think it’s McCarthyist.” He also revealed that some of what it wrote about him on its website is actually false.

Filmmaker and journalist Rebecca Pierce, who was targeted by the hate group and whose personal information has been shared on its website, without her permission, says the “website is filled with racist stereotypes about our activism, and intentionally tries to tie a diverse non-violent student movement to antisemitism and terror.”

“I do worry about future employers potentially seeing this and getting the wrong idea,” she added, “but I stand behind my activism and won’t allow racist extremists to intimidate me.”

“They even went out of their way to mention my African American and Jewish heritage in my profile,” Pierce told The Guardian. “This is clearly a website driven by deep hatred and prejudice, masquerading as some sort of ‘Canary in the Coalmine’ on antisemitism. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Yet some media networks in the United States have downplayed the effects of the site. California’s ABC 7 published a piece on May 29 titled “Website Canary Mission targeting politically active college students infringes on free speech,” admitting that the group’s tactics violate the free speech and privacy of supporters of Palestinian human rights. The news network however later changed the headline to a much more innocuous “Website publicizes actions of politically active college students.”

The original headline of the ABC article before it was changed.

The original headline of the ABC article before it was changed.

ABC 7 contacted the organization, requesting more information. The Canary Mission replied “Due to the somewhat clandestine nature of our mission, it is difficult to be as available to comment as we’d like.” Other media networks have done the same, and received similar responses.

As of June 1, the cached version of the article in Google showed the ABC article’s previous headline.

 

About Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer based in New York City. His work has been featured in a variety of publications. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton. His website is BenNorton.com.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

6 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    June 1, 2015, 4:25 pm

    actually i thought that was a fairly decent article by abc7 news. in the article and accompanying video they even interviewed UC student regent Sadia Saifuddin (who is stunning, i wrote about her here http://mondoweiss.net/2013/07/muslim-student-who-likened-occupation-to-apartheid-is-voted-to-u-of-california-post-as-sen-feinsteins-husband-abstains ). i was amazed to read Saifuddin was on the list.

    and i recommend the comments in the article. one guy outlandishly claims many people on the list support “fatwas issued to murder people”. phew! i wonder if abc7 was pressured to change the title of the article or if that action was in house.

    thanks ben.

  2. Stephen Shenfield
    June 1, 2015, 4:33 pm

    Just had a look at the Canary Mission site and read the section on Mondoweiss. I noticed that they had just pasted whole paragraphs from anti-Mondoweiss articles that have already appeared elsewhere.

    I tried to create an account so that I could post comments there but my attempt was blocked. Then I tried again using a pseudonym and succeeded!

  3. David Green
    June 1, 2015, 6:26 pm

    http://mondoweiss.net/2014/12/dissecting-predictable-necessary

    The narrator and some of the visuals replicate that of “The Jewish Voices” about which I wrote at the above link. The name associated with this on Youtube is Aaron Goldenberg. The female narrator is the same. The Horowitz clip is the same. So if this has anything at all to do with the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, these people should be in hot water on campuses around the country for intimidation of fellow students. Haters always claim they are the hated; nothing new.

  4. amigo
    June 2, 2015, 10:27 am

    Try this for self delusion.

    “By imposing the ban, Ya’alon, who once threatened to address the “Palestinian cancer” with “chemotherapy” – lines up with MK Moti Yogev, a settler himself, who recently said, “riding these buses is unreasonable. They are full of Arabs.” A settler group in Ariel also recently released a video and staged a protest demanding the racial segregation of buses. The video depicts a lone Jewish woman exiting a bus filled with Palestinian workers, and is captioned, “it’s not about racism, it’s about a simple question – would you be willing to go on a bus [packed with Arabs]?”Haaretz

    I tried to post the above in response a commenter on canary web site who claimed segregation is not racist.My post did not appear —surprise , surprise.

  5. Jenin Younes
    June 3, 2015, 5:23 pm

    I know some of the people named on the site have been concerned about possible damage to their careers, but I took a look at the website and it’s laughably bad. They pretty much just cite people’s membership in groups they deem objectionable, and use, for instance, a professor’s reading list for one of his classes to show that he is “anti-semitic.” The blog is absolutely ridiculous, the writing extraordinarily poor, filled with melodrama and explanation points and pictures of hellfire etc. I don’t know what potential employer would take this seriously, and I hope no one worth working for would.

  6. just
    June 3, 2015, 6:03 pm

    Whoops! I missed this report entirely~ just goes to show what happens when you are away from MW!

    Thanks, Ben.

Leave a Reply