In Defense of Canary Mission
The courageous group exposing the campus Israel/Jew-hating industry becomes a target.
Jews have had a long history of engaging in wars with enemies who fight by rules that Jews find abhorrent. Rather than fight by those rules, Jews have held themselves to more humane standards. While this is morally admirable, it’s not always martially effective.
On his way to establishing control over the Arabian Peninsula, Mohammed’s armies fought and conquered the Jewish tribes that had lived there for centuries. Jews of the Nadir tribe, living around Medina, wouldn’t fight on the Sabbath. Even during wartime, due to a biblical injunction, they refused to cut down their enemy’s fruit trees. Mohammed had no such qualms. He had his soldiers cut down the Nadir’s date palms on which they depended for food and for trade. And he did it on the Sabbath. The Nadir surrendered and were exiled.
Israel has been battling the terrorists of Hamas ever since abandoning Gaza in a futile attempt at peaceful coexistence. The IDF is the most moral army in the world and fights as hard at avoiding civilian casualties as they do at fighting against Hamas. Hamas works hard at creating civilian casualties, its favorites being Gazan children that their media allies can blame Israel for. And so this war drags on.
On university campuses throughout North America, Israel and Jewish students are vilified and harassed by BDS supporters including Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and their allies. Campus Jews think this is an ideological disagreement. Jewish students don’t understand that BDS and SJP are fighting a war, and so they continue the custom of fighting by different rules. Jewish students see BDS and SJP as organizations that they can debate in order to sway the larger student population. Meanwhile, BDS proponents, in this endless war against the Jews, use every anti-Semitic/anti-Israel lie they can muster. They use theater, public demonstrations, and displays designed to demonize Israel. They crush dissent by protesting and shouting down pro-Israel speakers. They demand free speech rights, but deny them to campus Israel supporters. They feel emboldened enough to tweet messages like, “Hitler should have killed the Jews when he had the chance that dog” and “What do you call a flyin Jew?..... Smoke.”
Jewish students, who because they are at college to get an education, are at a terrible disadvantage facing paid BDS activists, who are on campus to demonize Israel as part of a long-term strategy to bring down the Jewish state and return Jews to their Sharia approved roles as “dhimmis.” While Jewish students have formed grass-root organizations to fight BDS, BDS groups, including SJP, are the American arms of Hamas and are well trained and well funded by Hamas.
The main Hamas to SJP conduit has been American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a group founded by U of C Berkeley professor, Hatem Bazian. AMP’s board membership includes various anti-Israel activists, terror supporters, and former members of the Holy Land Foundation, an organization that was shut down in 2009 after a lengthy FBI terrorism investigation and federal trial.
In addition, Omar Barghouti, founder of the BDS movement, who was denied entry into the U.S. in April 2019, has extensive terrorist connections. A group he co-founded, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions National Committee (BNC) receives support from a who’s who of terrorist organizations that not only includes Hamas, but also: Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestine Liberation, Front, Palestinians Islamic Jihad, and many others.
Barghouti’s father, Marwan Barghouti, along with Yassir Arafat, was a founder of the PLO, which Omar Barghouti states, “was very much a part of our family . . .” The elder Barghouti also ran the terrorist Tanzim force and founded the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. One does not engage in reasoned debate with these people.
Recently, groups like Zionist Organization of America, StandWithUs, and the Lawfare Project, have begun steering more resources into training and supporting beleaguered Israel advocates. These adult organizations have gained experience over the years of struggle and have begun fighting back more aggressively, going so far as bringing lawsuits against some of the most unfriendly-to-Jews universities.
Even with this outside help, Jewish students still refuse to go all out. They still insist on holding back even as they themselves on some campuses are wary of looking too Jewish by wearing a kippah or other noticeably Jewish outerwear, lest they be harassed. Like the IDF, they insist on fighting with one (or more) hand(s) behind their backs.
Three years ago, a new anti-BDS group, calling themselves “Canary Mission,” entered the fray. They take their name from the recognition that Jews are the “canary in the coal mine,” the first to face irrational discrimination when societies enter into periods of increased bigotry and self-destruction. Their motto is, “If you’re racist, the world should know it.” Their members remain anonymous. They work at exposing campus anti-Semites, including students and professors, on the Left and on the Right. And they use the anti-Semites’ own words from their own social media posts to do it. They’ve created an online database full of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel tweets and Facebook rants, and dedicated pages listing personal and organizational ties to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist groups.
The Middle East Studies Association, an organization that backed a University of Michigan professor in his refusal to write a recommendation for a Jewish student to study in Israel, has a page on its website dedicated to “exposing” Canary Mission. They claim that Canary Mission’s “profiles are filled with falsehoods, misrepresentations and errors,” but provide no examples. They misrepresent Canary Mission’s “political agenda” and denounce its members as being “extremists.” Without a trace of irony, they accuse Canary Mission of seeking to “silence free and open campus discussion of, and teaching about, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Canary Mission is lumped with organizations like CAMERA, Honest Reporting, StandWithUs, and other pro-Israel and media watchdog organizations that MESA falsely associates with a “rise of Islamophobia.”
The Electronic Intifada has posted Steven Salaita’s diatribe, “A guide to surviving Canary Mission,” from which we learn about “Zionist thuggery,” “messianic compulsions of settler-colonization,” and facilitation of “sexist, racist and homophobic abuse.” His advice is, don’t talk to Zionists. Recall that Salaita had a University of Illinois job offer rescinded after some of his vicious anti-Israel tweets came to light.
Mondoweiss calls Canary Mission “a settler-colonial scam, an ethnonationalist slur, and a malicious, well-funded, underground machine set to destroy the lives and careers of real people.” People exposed by Canary Mission are referred to as “Palestinian human rights advocates” who are smeared by Canary Mission, but again, no “real people” examples are offered.
In addition to these long-standing Israel-hating sites, there is now, “Against Canary Mission.” In addition to slamming Canary Mission, this site also houses rehabilitative counter-profiles on people previously profiled by Canary Mission. These profiles are much shorter and contain much less detail. They are much friendlier. There is also an option for “activists” to write their own profile. To be fair, I could not find that option on the Canary Mission website.
The legal director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has accused Canary Mission of using “dirty tactics.”
Blowback from groups like the Middle East Studies Association and these other Israel hating websites are predictable. The fact that these sites are so offended by Canary Mission and so eager to slander and discredit it, tells us that Canary Mission is effective and that the campus Israel/Jew haters and terror supporters are afraid of being revealed as the hateful bigots they are.
Unfortunately, Canary Mission is so effective that it is also scaring the Jewish students who have been subjected to the bullying tactics of the people Canary Mission has profiled. And the Jewish students, in their panic at possibly being labeled as “racist” or “Islamophobic,” are siding with their enemies against Canary Mission.
In April and again in October 2016, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, using information provided by Canary Mission, put posters up on the U of C Berkeley campus, showing Students for Justice in Palestine’s links to Hamas. In addition, names were named. The posters were denounced by campus SJP members as “hate speech.” An attorney with Palestine Legal criticized the university “for allegedly creating a hateful environment for SJP.” This is the same campus that employs Professor Hatem Bazian, who has a deservedly long Canary Mission page documenting his founding of AMP and co-creating SJP. This is in addition to Bazian’s fund raising activities for a Hamas-linked charity and his unabashed promotion of anti-Semitism.
Besides being Hatem Bazian’s home campus, U of C Berkeley is also infamous for hosting a course calling for the destruction of Israel. It’s the university where Rachel Beyda was almost denied a student government leadership position because she is Jewish. Even so, the president of the Jewish Student Union condemned the posters, stating, “. . . This does not allow us to have any room for conversation from the pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian side.”
When the posters also appeared at San Francisco State University, which is currently being sued for discriminating against Jewish students, an advisor to the General Union of Palestine Students stated, “This is very racist, it is Islamophobic.” San Francisco’s Hillel executive director condemned the “offensive messages.”
At UC Davis, Aggies for Israel allied themselves with student groups including the Muslim Student Association (another Muslim Brotherhood front group, many of whose leaders graduated to terrorism), to pass a resolution, part of which accuses Canary Mission, again without irony, of creating “a toxic atmosphere of fear and paranoia among fellow students, thus infringing upon students’ ability to freely express their opinions.”
At the University of Michigan, a pro-BDS resolution was recently passed on its eleventh try. Part of the blame was laid at the feet of Canary Mission. BDS proponents, who were savvy enough to play on Jewish students’ insistence on fair play, pulled out their victim card, expressing worry about future repercussions due to Canary Mission’s “blacklist” and “McCarthyite tactics.” In return Jewish student organizations rolled over, submitting to a secret ballot, thereby allowing anti-Israel/anti-Semitic student government officials to escape responsibility for their anti-Israel vote. The Jewish students lost because they allowed BDS to set the rules and control the battle.
Following the vote, two students wrote a letter, which was signed by several universities’ Hillel Governing/Executive Boards and pro-Israel organizations, rejecting Canary Mission. “We view much of the rhetoric employed to villainize these individuals as hateful and, in some case, Islamophobic and racist. In addition, Canary Mission’s wide scope wrongfully equates supporting a BDS resolution with some of the most virulent expressions of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel rhetoric and activity. . . we expect credible Jewish and pro-Israel communal organizations to help us combat anti-Semitism . . . in a diplomatic manner that seeks to protect our community rather than shaming the other side anonymously.”
One would expect SJP members to condemn the coverage of their terrorist ties. When Jewish students and Jewish organizations side with SJP because they want to combat anti-Semitism in a diplomatic manner and not shame the other side’s vile ethnic hatred, it’s clear that the Jewish students do not understand the nature of the enemy or the enormity of this fight.
Sun Tzu said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
BDS proponents know their enemy, and they know how easy it is to control Jewish students who are truly interested in fairness and decency, with cries of “racism” and “Islamophobia.” Jewish students, who have grown up in bubbles of comfort, don’t even know that they have an enemy. The lesson from our Passover Haggadah that: “in each and every generation, they rise up against us to destroy us” hasn’t been taken seriously. Students don’t know enough Jewish history to understand that this is just the latest manifestation of an ancient war against the Jews that began in Europe with the rise of Christianity and in the Middle East with the rise of Islam. They really believe it’s all about Israel, when Israel is just the latest excuse. They don’t understand that they are pulling the wool over their own eyes and doing some of SJP’s (and Hamas’) work for them.
Mohammed said, “War is deceit.” Deceit, implicit in campus “apartheid walls,” die-ins, and mock checkpoints, is the strongest weapon in the Israel-haters arsenal. Their second greatest weapon is Jewish students’ naiveté.
We know there is a double standard when it comes to Jews and Israel. University officials are willing to overlook campus anti-Semitism if it is masked as anti-Zionism. The anti-Semites have worked hard to create a false separation between Judaism and Zionism in order to justify and promote their hatred.
When a group of Wisconsin high school students stupidly posed for a school photo giving a “seig heil” salute, there were calls for their suspension. And, we were told, “. . . the image could have far-reaching consequences for the young men pictured there . . .” Meanwhile, Canary Mission has screenshots of SJP members tweeting things like: “The world would be soooo much better without jews man”, and “Lol let’s stuff some Jews in the oven.” Shouldn’t these publicly posted sentiments have far-reaching consequences? Not according to Jewish students. But just like Israel’s fight with Hamas, the misguided insistence on fair play insures that this fight will continue long after the current crop of students has graduated. And as long as these students support Israel, they will always be denigrated. They will always be insulted as bigots by real bigots.
Using Canary Mission’s information, Jewish university students can take the offensive in order to hamper BDS efforts. If the BDS movement were a white supremacist or neo-Nazi group, there would be no reservations about using Canary Mission to expose them. This is a double standard Jewish students are imposing on themselves.
It’s not McCarthyite or bigoted if they’re telling the truth. Canary Mission recently posted a video in which SJP members disrupt a UCLA Students Supporting Israel event and threaten the speakers. SJP denied having anything to do with the disruption. But thanks to advances in digital technology, the SJP bullies are highlighted in the video along with screenshots of some of their troubling tweets. McCarthyism? No. This is revealing the truth and exposing SJP as not only bullies, but also as liars. This is fighting back. It is aggressively taking the fight to the bigots on the public relations field where Jews and Israel have been taking a beating due to their insistence on either engaging in free and fair debate or not fighting back at all. Unlike the campus Israel haters who depend on deception, it is the Jewish pro-Israel students who have the truth on their side.
We know that a juicy, outrageous lie that gets one’s blood boiling is easier to accept than a boring truth, especially if that lie is about Jews or Israel. Exposing the bigoted hatred of the SJP liars and their admiration for Hitler and Nazis, who, they mourn, should have finished the job, would do a lot more for the campus pro-Israel cause than reasoned debate. In that debate, lies carry the same weight as truth to students who don’t know enough about Israel or its history to tell the difference. Anyone though, even a brainwashed university student, can identify as anti-Semitic, a tweet that says, “@BarackObama shut up about gay marriage and go kill all the Jews.” Display enough of these detestable social media posts and expose enough links to terrorism, and the true intentions of the posters would be undeniable, even as they whine about being victims.
That would be a strong first step toward defeating and shutting down the campus Israel/Jew-hating industry.