Canary Mission: Ensuring That Today's Radicals Are Not Tomorrow's Employees

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From the Canary website. Front photo of Joe McCarthy in 1954 from AP files.

Whoah: Zionism + McCarthyism = Slime. Citing their mission to expose those who are "anti-Freedom, anti-American and anti-Semitic in order to protect the public and our democratic values," a nebulous new website has launched with profiles of dozens of pro-Palestinian "radicals" - from known BDS leaders to students who may have attended a social justice rally - to intimidate and/or discourage future employers from hiring them. Oddly, while the Canary Mission - borrowing the metaphor of a canary in the coalmine, in this case warning against anti-Semitism - touts their goal of "clearing up the ambiguity" around conspirators in the name of "the universal values of freedom and democracy," the group's members, donors, allies and legal status remain unknown.


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Citing their concern about "the rise of anti-Semitic hate crimes on college campuses and the dangerous Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to demonize and destroy Israel," Canary Mission launched in mid-May by posting profiles of about a dozen groups and 54 individuals, including their names, photos, occupations and links to social media. Many are students and professors, often at California universities where the BDS movement has been particularly successful. Their targets range from well-known activists like Omar Barghouti, founder of BDS,
to members of groups like Jewish Voice For Peace or Students for Justice in Palestine or anyone who might have signed a petition against an Islamophobic speaker. Canary also helpfully offers a "Radical of the Day" feature, with mug shot.

The net Canary casts is wide, wildly inaccurate and often egregiously racist, with pretty much every group, no matter how mainstream or innocuous, at some point labeled terrorist-affiliated. That goes for The Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil liberties advocacy organization - terrorist - the BDS movement - "directly connected to the Muslim Brotherhood and the terrorist organization Hamas," so, duh, terrorist - and Palestinian news site The Electronic Intifada, which "uses apartheid rhetoric and accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing," and whose renowned editor Ali Abunimah shockingly claims that Palestinian violence is caused by Israel's “routine human-rights abuses” that have “made life under a seemingly endless occupation so intolerable,” so, yeah, no-brainer, uber-terrorist. Without irony, Canary also charges EI with less-than-transparent funding sources; Canary itself has declined to name any staff, sponsors, supporters or volunteers, and claims a non-profit status whose domain nonetheless remains unregistered as such.

Canary calls these people and groups "hate-fomenting" and expresses the hope that "by shining a bright light on (their) activities, the public can clarify for themselves the nature of such affiliations." And not just the public; their video explicitly warns, "It is your duty to ensure that today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees.” Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, defends such tactics as a legitimate "factual documenting who one's adversaries are. Even better, "It signals that attacking Israel is serious business...and that their actions can damage both Israel and their future careers.” Others targeted by the group, though, call it McCarthy-ite harassment, intimidation, racism and fear-mongering  "driven by deep hatred." Filmmaker and former student Rebecca Pierce, who earned a spot as Radical of the Day, charges the site "intentionally tries to tie a diverse non-violent student movement to antisemitism and terror..It’s an effort to punish and deter people from standing up for what they believe.” Evidently, it's not working.

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