Author Archives: Mehalalel Shah

Manipulating the Israel-Narrative at Columbia University

Calling-Out Columbia

How did we get to this point? How is it possible to consistently manipulate people who are educated, pro-human rights and against violence, into believing a narrative that is built on promoting hate?

On campus, the trickery is perpetrated by certain organizations whose angle is to ensnare and recruit those who stand for peaceful protest about whatever issues they might feel strongly about, to join their cause and “plight.”

At Columbia University, reported in 2015 to be the most anti-Semitic campus in the United States, the latest manipulation is spelled: “ApartheidDivest.”

BDS Bullying

The latest attempt in the ongoing crusade to manipulate students into a distorted view of Israel is Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), spearheaded by Columbia students Shezza Abboushi Dallal, Jannine Salman, Jeffrey Jacobs and Eva Kalikoff and promoted on social media by Yasmeen Abdel Majeed and Adrian McAfee.

The name “Apartheid Divest” itself, is an outrageous microaggression designed to bully students into swallowing a hate-narrative, by presenting Apartheid as Israel-normative.

A collaboration between Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine (CSJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the campaign was launched with a petition and inaugural event titled BDS 101 on February 4, 2016.

To be clear, CUAD is a rebranding attempt of the now-famous campus BDS campaign.

However, it is a further cynical move to normalize the usage of “Apartheid” within the Israeli narrative: go straight to the point, minus the bothersome dialogue about other views.

CSJP Bigotry

Apartheid Divest is only the most recent experiment by CSJP (in conjunction with JVP). A tragically long history of activities and events exposes their true agenda. Here is a run-down of some of this SJP chapter’s more derisive moments:

2015

In December 2015, CSJP promoted a video originally produced by Al-Jazeera; in it, the group pointed out that language is an “important tool” — and characterized Israel’s security fence (97% of which is a low chain link barrier), as “The Apartheid Wall.” The video focused on the atypical concrete portions of the Israeli security fence —  which were built in response to Palestinian sniper attacks.

In November 2015, CSJP protested opposite an ‘Israel Week’ event, organized by the Israeli government Ministry of Tourism. CSJP attempted to hijack and politicize the event —  holding up banners accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid.”

In March 2015, CSJP’s held its yearly ‘Israel Apartheid week,’ which included building a Mock ‘Apartheid’ wall on campus. Some of the students directly involved were Shezza Abboushi Dallal, Jannine Salman and Darializa Avila- Chevalier.  

CSJP occupied both sides of the College Walk, a heavily-trafficked thoroughfare in the center of the Columbia  campus — boxing out pro-Israel organizations’ freedom to table and counter the false claims of SJP and their associates.

In April 2015, Jannine Salman organized and promoted the SJP event to host Haneen Zoabi —a member of Israel’s parliament — who has been investigated for inciting violence on numerous occasions.

On April 3, 2015, Yousr Shaltout co-authored an Op-Ed in the Columbia Spectator with fellow CSJP member Darializa Avila Chevalier titled: “Reflecting on a Culture of Intimidation.” There, Shaltout claimed that pro-Israel student groups harassed, intimidated and silenced anti-Zionist groups.

2014

In March 2014, CSJP members hung a banner created by Jannine Salman on Barnard Hall, the entryway of the college, to kick off Israeli Apartheid Week. The banner featured a map of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, with no internal borders, colored uniformly green— visually eradicating the Jewish State.

The next morning, the banner was removed after Barnard received numerous complaints from students and alumni who felt uncomfortable and unsafe. Some students felt the banner was an overt display of anti-Semitism. Others opined that the banner space was inappropriate for any political message, by any student group — since the implication that the University endorsed any such message served only “to ostracize segments of the community.”

In response to the banner’s removal, a March 26, 2014 editorial, authored by Shezza Abboushi Dallal and Feride Eralpe on behalf of SJP — entitled “SJP banner removal implicitly backs pro-Israel view” — objected to the banner’s removal “without warning or consulting SJP.”

The editorial dismissed the feelings of Barnard students who felt threatened by the banner, as trivializing “the experience of actual violence that we may be complicit in, from the suffering of the people of Palestine to global indigenous dispossession and the oppression of communities of color.”

In December 2014, CSJP hosted a panel discussion event at Barnard, entitled “Race, Violence, Resistance From Gaza to Ferguson.” This event encouraged false comparisons between the populations of Gaza and Ferguson – fueling accusations that Israel is inherently “racist” and justifying Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians — labeled as “resistance.” The event was introduced by Aya Zaki-Sabet and Shezza Abboushi Dallal was a speaker.

2013

In April 2013, Mona Abdullah of CSJP was an organizer and promoter of a press conference launched by members of the Barnard and Columbia faculty, calling on College Retirement Equities Fund TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli corporations, including Elbit Systems, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Veolia. However, the divestment effort failed as the pension fund received admittance from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s that they would “take no action” on the matter.

2012

In February 2012, CSJP staged a mock house demolition, on Columbia’s Low Plaza — propagating the falsehood that Israeli-Arabs do not have the same building rights in Israel as Jews. The actors included Feride Eralpe, Thaer-al-Sheik Theeb and Maya Wind. Eralpe stated that Palestinians are therefore “forced” to build illegally.

In November 2012, Qais Malhas filmed a dramatized mock arrest protest, on behalf of CSJP, featuring fellow students Feride Eralp, Isabel Penaranda  and Thaer-al-Sheik Theeb  as part of aRight to Education week —  an initiative started by Birzeit University, whose student body has been ridden with terrorists for more than a decade. The dramatization falsely represented that Palestinians were arrested solely for the “crime” of attending University.

2010

In February and March of 2010, Dayana Khatib, Tanya Keilani, Rahim Kurwa, Alaa Milbes, Fatimah Rimawi, Matt Swagler and Randa Wahbe co-authored  opinion pieces for the Columbia Spectator with other CSJP members, promoting and defending “Israeli Apartheid week.”

In November 2010, CSJP staged a mock Israeli checkpoint on Columbia’s Low Plaza, in which Maya Wind, portraying an “Israeli soldier,” harassed and yelled at passers-by. Feride Eralpe is first “citizen” in line. CSJP members also blindfolded and placed tape over the mouths of other students, who were meant to portray security detainees.

Following the checkpoint event in 2010, Michael Kennedy co-wrote an article with Dina Omar and Alaa Milbes excusing Palestinian terrorist attacks on the basis of “inequality” –  “Terrorist attacks are a desperate response to the inequality between Palestinians and Israelis.”

2002

In November 2002, a group of faculty at Columbia and Barnard launched a divestment effort entitled “Columbia University Divestment Campaign” to encourage the United States government to suspend its military aid to Israel, and divest from all companies that manufacture military hardware sold to Israel.

As of January 1, 2016, fewer than 1000 people signed the group’s divestment petition as compared to more than 33,000 who signed Columbia’s anti-divestment petition.

Columbia’s President, Lee Bollinger, blasted the divestment petition: “I want to state clearly that I will not lend any support to this proposal. The petition alleges human rights abuses and compares Israel to South Africa at the time of apartheid, an analogy I believe is both grotesque and offensive,” he said.

Committing to a Better Columbia

Standing against the latest BDS smear campaign, pro-Israel students launched “Invest in Peace,” a campaign to educate students about how divestment generates distrust, and will only make it harder to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians, said Daniella Greenbaum, president of Aryeh, the Columbia student association for Israel.

If those who are looking to be educated are most at risk of absorbing a false narrative, campus organizations such as Aryeh and Columbia SSI are a hope for students seeking a more fair and truthful discussion about Israel.

The AparthedDivest joint venture between CSJP and JVP may be the next manipulative attempt to gain support for a false narrative, but if those who are firm and committed to a truthful portrayal of Israel stand in solidarity, this latest attack and any after it will be able to confronted.   

SJP Founder/Berkeley Professor Lauds Exploitation of Child Soldiers

UC Berkeley Professor Hatem Bazian has hit a new low.  He is now openly encouraging the brainwashing of young children toward deadly violence against Jews.

This picture, which Professor Bazian just posted to his Facebook page, depicts a young child no older the 5 years old holding rocks and walking toward Israeli policemen. He captioned the post “Palestine will be free!”

This is pure incitement. By glorifying such a grotesque and twisted image, he encourages tactics and values employed by terrorist organizations, such as Hamas – who are currently training a generation of child soldiers in Gaza.

He calls it “freedom fighting.” Let us call it what it really is – “Child Abuse.” 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=685221170517&set=a.569927330297.2029221.139600621&type=3&theater

Standing Up to Bigots

What an interesting week here at Canary Mission. There are no limits to the lengths enemies of free speech will go to shut down dissent, stifle the truth and obstruct justice. The anti-Semitic zealots who remain obsessed with our mission to expose bigotry on campus have succeeded in shutting down our Facebook page and possibly downing our website for a full 90 minutes. Those who lack truth rely on criminal tactics such as these in order to stifle any voices alerting the world to their dangerous words and ideas.

Anyone who has seen these haters of Jews and Israel at work on social media know there is nothing they won’t say, no profanity they won’t hurl and no threat they won’t make. They will invoke Holocaust imagery, threaten our lives and families and scream epithets in terribly-spelled caps-locked fury. And any time their behavior is reported to Facebook, a reply will be given “User has not violated Facebook standards.” But, as with everything these radicals do, they will not allow the public to see our words, no matter how civil, truthful and factual they are. If the narrative does not match theirs, it must be stopped at all costs.

It is the pinnacle of hypocrisy to name oneself “liberal” and invested in ‘social justice,’ when the essential goal is to shut down any opposing views and become the ‘thought police’ for the entire social media world. One would be right in thinking, therefore, that they are so secretly fearful of the validity of our work in exposing campus radicals, that they have no choice but to remove our site and social media from view of those who might see it and come to the realization that it is they who are the true enemies of social justice.

The analogy becomes almost laughable when you consider the size, the breadth and the violent power of movements like SJP, JVP and BDS.

The anti-Semites thrive on portraying themselves as “the little guy”, the David to our Goliath. The analogy becomes almost laughable when you consider the size, the breadth and the violent power of movements like SJP, JVP and BDS. When you enter a campus with hundreds their activists screaming for Israel’s destruction and a small table of Hillel students being shouted down and called “baby killers,” your analogy is all the more skewed. When you have a social media world where one small, grassroots website is the target of countless attacks, both verbal and viral, while hugely anti-Semitic periodicals like Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss, who spew Nazi-like anti-Semitic propaganda on a daily basis, carry on unabated – how then can we be considered the Goliath? How is it not patently obvious that the war against Jews and Israel on campus, on social media and isn’t intensely lopsided against us?

We know our mission is too important, too vital to freedom, to be shut down. We know that our mission is too important to be silenced. So the anti-Semites of the world can try to shut us up and shut us down but we will remain brave in the face of hate and anger. And just like so many years ago, David will slay Goliath and we will succeed.

BDS, SJP and the PA: It’s time to get real

Let’s not fool ourselves.

When fighting the radical machine, our two biggest enemies are ignorance and misinformation. It’s the only explanation for a liberal democracy where everyone is respected being targeted as “genocidal racists”, while a people with a government promoting violence and terror are being hailed as sufferers of a “humanitarian crisis.” How else do you explain rockets hitting populations centers constantly over the course of over ten years being ignored, while a defensive war to eliminate the terrorist group Hamas is rewarded with condemnations from the UN and world opinion?

We live in a world where up is down and right is wrong, at least where Israel is concerned. And those who oppose them are wholly unconcerned with facts. They realize that the more they distort, and yell, and intimidate those who disagree with them, the more their message will win. They stage photos, manipulate and edit videos, fudge statistics, chant buzzwords and repeat lies over and over, until the uninformed listener believes it all to be true.

It is so much easier to look at a doctored photo and believe it’s real than it is to do a bit of research and discover that dead baby is a casualty of the Syrian civil war and not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s a lot simpler to call Israel “an apartheid state” that practices “genocide,” rather than admit the fact that neither one holds a shred of truth.

In the interest of making things easier, we came up with a few fallacies being perpetrated by those who would see Israel destroyed, and translated the truth behind their PR campaign.

What do the Palestinian Authority want? A lot of discussion has focused on the worldwide consensus that what is needed is a “two-state solution.” While debates abound about what this would actually entail, the basis framework is “two states for two peoples- Palestinian and Israeli.” While there is significant data that a large majority of Jews are open to this prospect, a reliable 2014 poll shows that 70% of Palestinians would still demand one state if they got a two-State solution. And it goes without saying (but we need to say it) that Jews (and likely practicing Christians) will not be welcome in this new one-state of Palestine. The Palestinians really want and envision is a future state that is completely free of Jews, much like Gaza is currently.

What does the Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) movement want? BDS is a very organized movement with a very shadowy end-goal. They are unclear whether companies from all of Israel should be boycotted, or just those from the “occupied territories.” Many are open with the true anti-Semitic motives behind BDS and want Jewish-made products in their entirety boycotted.

Additionally, BDS supporters are selective in what products and innovations fall under the boycotting umbrella. While they are the first to demonize humus brands and skin-care products, they are less quick to give up their cell phones, internet devices, social media applications, vaccinations, and other Israeli and Jewish- pioneered innovations. They too advocate for a one-state solution, making the end goal of all this boycotting quite clear to those who are paying attention, but less so to the students blindly voting for the BDS resolutions on their campuses.

What does Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) want? Their name indicates a desire to gain “justice” for Palestinians, but what does this really mean? Is destroying Israel the only goal, or will they also fight for Palestinian justice from the violence of Hamas? “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free,” is a common refrain heard at SJP rallies and gatherings. Aside from the odious implications of this slogan, how does this address the lack of justice Palestinians suffer at the hands of their own? How do they justify the injustice of Mahmoud Abbas, head of Fatah in the West Bank serving the 11th year of a 4 year term?

What justice are SJP demanding on behalf of women and gay people in Gaza, demographics that suffer greatly at the hands of their friends and neighbors? Where is the justice for children who are taught from birth that the highest honor for one’s family is to kill innocent Jews in terror attacks, and are posed with machine guns at “terrorist training summer camps” which one can easily see in thousands of online pictures? Why is the focus of SJP only ever on the destruction and demonization of Israel above all else?

Why do SJP Chicago and Loyola openly support convicted terrorist-murderer Rasmeah Odeh? Why does a group which prominently features the word “justice” constantly make news for the rampant violence and intimidation they bring to campuses?

We need to open our eyes and ears and stop supporting hate-fomenting ideologies that infiltrate our youth and incense them to violence and hate crimes, specifically on our campuses with certain professors and organizations that encourage such ideologies.

We need to open our eyes and the eyes of our peers to reality. It is comforting and self-congratulatory to “root for the underdog,” but when the underdog is actually a dangerous movement rooted in terror, violence and fear, there is no glory in supporting that side. When the Palestinian leadership announces on their television stations time and again that Israel must cease to exist and a one state solution is the goal, believe them.

When BDS accidentally uses the word “Jew” instead of “Israel” at a boycott rally, listen closely and take note. And when SJP schedules radical Islamic agitators and terrorists as invited guests, realize that their goal is not justice for Palestine, it is annihilation for Israel. Don’t be an uneducated pawn in the game of public opinion. Open your eyes, do your research and become informed. We need more of you out there.

 

Are you a Moderate Radical?

Many mistakes have been made on the road to understanding radicalism. We still get caught by surprise.

We have been routinely shocked by an Alabama senior flying to Ethiopia to join Al-Shabaab, the Ottawa student who gets caught in Facebook pictures with ISIS paraphernalia or the Boston man plotting to behead Pamela Geller.

The American public is familiar with these radicals. But they are not the face of North American radicalism.

These stories are a blip on the screen of a much wider and pervasive increase in extremist rhetoric that doesn’t end in beheadings. The individuals that we don’t see moving up the spectrum of radicalism largely didn’t grow up with messages from radical imams in their communities.

Rather, they grew up with human-rights messages, anti-war epithets from baby-boomer parents and have enjoyed hard-earned freedoms to participate in a plethora of human rights movements.

It’s no wonder we miss it. The burgeoning radicalism that is sweeping the continent is simply not so shocking, because it doesn’t result in an overt threat to individual lives. But, it threatens us all.

We are referring to the threat of moderate radicalism: the radicalism of upstanding moderate human beings.

These individuals will not likely end up joining Al-Shabaab or becoming ISIS sleepers, but will move from being human rights activists to racists and bigots.  

The process of this radicalization is simple: racist and bigoted ideas are slipped in at certain events that attract moderate human beings to stand up for a “human rights issue.” And over time and through increased exposure to extreme ideas, they start to seep in.

Anti-Israel events are today’s fertile breeding grounds for such moderate radicalization, where a horrifically racist chant like, “From the River to the Sea Palestine Will be Free” – calling for the total destruction of Israel, can filter through.

Other chants like, “Baby killers” and even, “Back to the ovens” soon filter through behind it and incrementally the moderate individual is transformed into a racist and bigoted radical.

But this is just the beginning. The leaders in this vital field of radicalization – BDS, MSA, SJP and CAIR – with their links to the Muslim Brotherhood, have a company line that begins with Israel, but ends with the West.

By taking the “gateway drug” of anti-Israel radicalization, today’s moderates are furthering global anti-Western radical Islamic ideology.

It is patently evident, yet has been entirely overlooked – that all the increasing antagonism toward Israel is part of a much wider maneuver to seep radical attitudes into America and the West, under the guise of human rights activism.

If you think that this is a crazy conspiracy plot, you can view the Brotherhood’s own document right here!

We need to stop overlooking this and start doing something about it. 

We can do a lot to change the tide stimulated by BDS and their bedfellows by calling them out on their true motives and their radical attitudes.

This way, Israel and the West won’t be the ultimate prize on their mantelpiece.

 

We Get Knocked Down, But We Get Up Again!

The pro-Israel movement has been playing defense for as long as it’s been around. Since its earliest days, supporters of Israel have had to explain why the only democratic state in the region is legitimate, clarify all of its actions, and justify its very existence.

The UN condemns them and the EU condemns them. The Arab world wants them destroyed while so-called intelligentsia in academia and the media hold them to a standard above any other country in the world. With every war and intifada, every terror attack and every condemnation, advocates of Israel have been fighting a defensive battle for the name and reputation of the sole democracy in the Middle East.

Today, Israel finds itself in the proverbial hot seat yet again. Under the guise of “human rights” and with buzzwords aplenty (“apartheid! racist! human rights abuser!”), the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and its myriad of affiliates hope to create a future world that is minus one Israel. With direct links to terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and with support from radical left groups like Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), CAIR and CodePink, it should be quite obvious that the intentions of this anti-Israel movement are not harmonious at all, and that the goal has nothing to do with peaceful coexistence. One needs only look at their invited speakers, often radical agitators, to see that the true intentions of this movement are duplicitous.

What has been the reaction of the pro-Israel community? Again, we have played defense. We have defended against the BDS resolutions that come up for votes in university student senates. We have defended Israel and her freedom with small counter-rallies at anti-Israel protests. We have defended Israel when our fraternity houses are spray painted with swastikas or our Birthright tables are upended.

Yet, is this the best approach? Shouldn’t we take our approach from defense to offense? Shouldn’t we be advocating and explaining our positions, clearly and calmly? Shouldn’t we be learning how to be strong supporters of Israel and of a democratic way of life? Shouldn’t we become the new BDS movement, but one whose letters stand for Buy, Defend and Support Israel at every opportunity? Of course we should! But how can we do this practically? It’s one thing to say we want to advocate and quite another to actually do it.

One way is to educate ourselves. We need to become aware of both the accusations against our cause, as well as the way to refute these claims with facts ad rationale. While this won’t convince those whose life’s mission it is to destroy Israel, we will influence open-minded but uninformed people around us. Another way is to hold our universities accountable for the climate they create. This includes inquiring about their politically-active faculty and anti-Israel groups currently on campus. It also includes ensuring that our alumni dollars aren’t funding anti-Israel programming, speakers or professors. We can put together a database for each campus, highlighting radical events, lectures and programming which make supporters of Israel feel uncomfortable.

By taking a proactive approach instead of a reactive one, we can take this horrible movement and its dangerous assault on Israel and Western Democratic Values and make it our moment of triumph. This is the time when we take our defense of Israel and turn it on its head – when we make the pro-Israel offensive the one with traction, the one that students in North America and around the world can admire and get involved in proudly. That time is now- join in!

 

BDSing the BDSers

Over the last 24 hours a firestorm has erupted around our relatively new project. From the moment Forward Magazine and Haaretz published an attack piece, news of Canary Mission spread like wildfire.

However, the BDS movement, SJP et al have cried foul.  They are in shock that Canary Mission is exposing their words, tweets, posts and activities!  They believe it is anti-democratic to allow this information to run free.  One of the radicals profiled, Rebecca Pierce complained to the UK’s Guardian – Canary Mission is using “McCarthyist tactics” and employing “open racism” and “This is clearly a website driven by deep hatred and prejudice”

According to Wikipedia, McCarthyism is “the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence.” It also means “the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.”

Canary Mission has simply aggregated data that is already in the public domain and made it more easily accessible. We all have a right to know, we all have a right to warn others and we have a duty to protect the next generation from their hatred.

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!  

Another criticism levelled at Canary Mission is that we are outing radicals but not owning up to who we are and who supports us. However, from ISIS, to Hamas to domestic American radicals, there is a true physical danger. See the comments on our Twitter feed and Youtube video and get an idea of why we are not particularly forthcoming for now. 

There is no question that Canary Mission is edgy; perhaps it even makes us feel a little awkward, but when the storm passes we will reflect and be glad that a new organization has entered the fray.  An organization that provides vital knowledge about who are the radicals and what they are doing.

The Backlash

Well, it’s been about a week since Canary Mission launched and every day has been an adventure. We have seen amazing feedback, people who realize that what we’re doing is important and vital in the fight against those who seek the destruction of freedom. We have also seen the very worst of people- the screamers, the threateners, the “human rights advocates” and the hate-mongers. Of course we expected them. They run the dialogue of Twitter and Facebook, they were bound to find us as well. But the volume, the nastiness and the absolute inability to dialogue has left us dumbfounded. You see, that is the way of those who seek our fall. There is no room for dialogue, no ability to listen- there is just smash and kill, blame and shriek. It is impossible for them to believe that there are two sides to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. It is unheard of that maybe anti-Semitism is creeping like a plague onto college campuses, being aided and abetted by the growing list of threatening and hate-fomenting organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. It is beyond the realm of their comprehension that maybe we are doing this not out of Islamophobia or racism, but exactly the opposite. That we are highlighting radicalism in order to end the racial divide that we see on campus and start a dialogue over how to fix things. Maybe, just maybe, the solution is not for America to be called a force for evil in this world or for Israel to be thrown into the sea. Maybe there is another way.

But, no. That is not the world we live in. People on Twitter and Facebook would rather use racial epithets (the amount of times we’ve been referred to as “nasty Jews” would astound you) and ask for us to be transparent with who we are and how we are funded. Let’s delve a little deeper into that issue for a second. Why is it so important who we are? Maybe you want to know so you can threaten us, discredit us or punish us. Many of our detractors just want to know who we are so they can physically harm us.

But then we think “That can’t be! These people seem so upset about the fact that these anti-freedom activists’ privacy is being violated…obviously they realize the hypocrisy in wanting to violate our privacy, right?” Wrong! Anyone who stands “on principle”, demanding our names and addresses is doing so for the EXACT reasons that they think we are publicizing the information on our website. Except we are doing it so that maybe it will act as a deterrent for students who want to spend their college careers demonstrating against democratic countries.

      We knew there would be a huge outcry from enemies of Israel and the US – we expected it. Canary Mission is an entirely new path in the fight for freedom and democracy. Canary Mission is part of a bigger movement- one that pro-actively seeks to protect and defend freedom and curb rising worldwide hatred and radicalism. We may be using a different angle than traditional advocacy, but the war for the hearts and minds of world opinion is multi-faceted. It’s a beautiful and important thing to project a truthful positive image of America and Israel and that no matter what, there will always be those who seek to destroy that image for their own radical agendas.

       The most important thing to remember is that Canary Mission is not making this up. We’re not weaving some horrible narrative about these wonderful and peaceful young students who just try and make their way quietly through four years of university. These are young people who align themselves with organizations who make the destruction of our Western values their goal and purpose. These are the people who then draft BDS resolutions and bring them to a vote time and time again until they’re passed – resolutions whose end goal is nothing short of the dissolution of the State of Israel. They are people who run for student government offices, so they can wield their power against the pro-Israel students on campus. They invite speakers who rail against Israel and the West, as honored guests. These are students who intimidate with mock checkpoints and “apartheid walls” and post mock eviction notices in campus dormitories. These are people who block appointments of students to positions in student government based on their “pro-Israel” status. And what does Canary Mission actually do? Do we modify their pictures, or distort their videos and words? No. We aggregate all the things they have done and they have said, and we present it to the public.

        If you are someone who thinks that being a pro-Palestinian advocate has nothing to do with any of this, that’s fine. This website wouldn’t be directed towards you. You may even be an employer who finds this distasteful behavior, positive- that’s fine too. But we think we have hit a nerve. All of you detractors who hate what Canary Mission is doing, realize how important our work is. You’re not used to us speaking up. You’re used to us being quiet and polite, talking about American values or Israeli hi-tech. Perhaps, it terrifies you that a group of pro-freedom advocates are actually calling you out on the rising tide of hatred that you are bringing to North American campuses. And if this, indeed is the case, stay tuned, we are not going away. The civilized world needs what we are doing.

It’s Only Getting Worse

While anti-Semitism is nothing new, in the years since the Holocaust it had fallen totally out of fashion. Gone were the days when you could disparage your Jewish neighbour or work associate. Many Jews mistakenly believed that the scourge of Jew-hatred had simply been eradicated, that we were safe from antipathy forevermore. This is the mindset that makes what is currently happening on North American campuses all the more jarring. While we in North America look at news reports out of Europe, where Jewish persecution is flourishing and growing unabated, we breathe a sigh of relief and whisper, “At least we are safe.” We here at Canary Mission are bearing witness to the fact that anti-Semitism does very much exist in North America, and the front lines of this fight are on college campuses nationwide. Jewish students are being targeted in disproportionate numbers. Swastikas and racist epithets are being spray-painted on Jewish fraternities. Jews are being accosted at Hillel events and while handing our Birthright flyers. Open debate is being stifled, and replaced with what can only honestly be described as hate- fueled rhetoric aimed at the Jewish people.

          Many people are quick to point out that most of the venom is directed toward Israel. They believe that Israel is the obstacle to their peaceful coexistence with their fellow students and professors, and since they themselves aren’t particularly attached to Israel, it doesn’t affect them. Yet it only takes a cursory glance at the news to realize that Israel is being used as the scapegoat for unbridled Jew hatred. It is as if the anti-Semites of North America are aware that anti-Semitic rhetoric is off-limits, so they replace it with anti-Zionism to make it more palatable. 

          This tactic masks the true alarming spread of Jew-hatred on college campuses. Along with the unwitting aid of anti-Zionist Jewish-run organisations, anti-Semites find cover in speaking their darkest feelings about Israel and by extension, the Jewish people. Images given to those who support Israel echo the darkest aspects of classical anti-Semitism- Nazi imagery and swastikas, Jews with humped backs and large noses, assertions that “the Israel lobby” controls the government, media and financial institutions. These are all well-worn anti-Semitic scripts, with “Israel” replacing “Jew” for the new millennium. 

          While the bulk of the campus Jew-hatred is coming from one camp, many other North Americans are able to air their long-held grievances against Jews, now that “enough time has passed” since the Holocaust. Jews and Israel are constantly compared to “the Goliath”, while Palestine is seen as “the underdog,” while Israel remains a tiny Jewish speck in a very unfriendly neighborhood. Students feel buoyed by the support they receive from like-minded activist professors, while pro-Israel or Jewish students feel stifled, in fear of grade retribution. Social media and online blogs and sites have replaced the mainstream media, giving a frightening anonymity to anyone who wishes to demonise Israel and Jews by extension. In this Wild West of the internet, false images are disseminated and retweeted faster than one can type. In a world where the Jewish and pro-Israel communities are dwarfed by the anti-Semitic communities in the Middle East, Europe and even North America, it’s impossible to even try and keep up with the sheer volume of online anti-Israel materials that exist. 

          And if we think that this anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Western rhetoric will stay confined to the ivy-covered buildings of the university, we are fooling ourselves. One need only look over to the ill-named Arab Spring in the Middle East, or the constant wave of Islamic terror gripping Europe to realise that, uncontested, North America is not immune to the threat. Without a thorough wake-up call, and a true understanding of what we face, we are threatened by the same fate. It is true what they say about history, “We who do not learn from it are doomed to repeat it.”

         This is yet another reason why Canary Mission is such a vital tool in the war against the spread of Western hatred. It gives a face and a name to the agitators, professors, students and professionals who spend their time demonising the Jewish people, the one Jewish state in the world, and the values of democracy that the Western World holds most dear.

Imagine this scenario…

  Imagine this scenario. You’re watching a link someone’s posted to their Facebook or Twitter feed. On the screen in a huge mass of red, green and black flags, kheffiyehs of every color, and placards screaming “Apartheid!” and “Murderer!” It’s the usual scene of an anti- Israel rally, complete with chanting and an Imam whipping those assembled into an anti-Israel frenzy. The camera pans to a college- aged girl in the crowd, eyes ablaze, spittle coming from her lips, clearly enraged. She has just spotted a guy across the street in a kippa, silently holding a large Israeli flag with a proud and stoic expression on his face. She is blinded by fury at this point, and screams at him “Back to the ovens to finish the job! Allahu akhbar! Hitler was right!” It makes the blood boil to think of such a scene, let alone watch it unfold.

      Now imagine this same girl a few years later. She has finished her degree in Anthropology and is looking for a job in academia, or business, or anywhere, for that matter. She comes to her interview nicely dressed and groomed, and well-mannered, if a bit shy. Her resume reflects her impressive GPA, the time she spent teaching kids to read, and her summers visiting family in the Middle East. There is no mention of the three years she spent as president of SJP, on the board of her university’s MSA chapter, or spearheading the BDS movement on her campus. There is no link to her videos showing her spewing venom at pro-Israel students. There are no pictures of her wearing Islamic Jihad regalia or speaking at a conference entitled “Zionism is Racism.” There is no indication that she spent the better part of her college career dedicating her extracurricular hours to organizations aided, abetted and funded by internationally-regarded terrorist organizations. 

      In this day and age of the internet, researching potential employees is easy. One can google a name or search someone on Facebook and have access to a prospective employees private life. But all too often, when there are fifty prospective employees, so many resumes to wade through, and candidates that are seemingly highly qualified, intensive background research might fall by the wayside. And this is a problem. Without missions like ours, there is no accountability. There is no recourse for spending endless hours relentlessly calling for the destruction of Israel, organizing die-ins and fake checkpoints, publicly sympathizing with terrorists and posting violent and racist content to one’s wall or feed. It is all too easy to graduate from an institution and “clean house” on anything one might deem “objectionable to a possible employer.” And then these individual wipe their own slates clean. All that’s left is their time on student council, their semester as a Teaching Assistant. Maybe they’ll leave their time as a member of SJP on their Timelines, the way one would their fraternities or their involvement with the campus Hillel.

        But SJP is not Hillel, and the BDS movement is not a fraternity. They may hold bake sales and have dance parties, but they also host terrorists and organize boycotts and rallies. They leave mock eviction notices and threaten opponents. They do this with the blessing of their like-minded professors and the tremendous financial support of people they do not even know, people who are using them to make American universities unwelcoming and unsafe for Israel-supporters and Jewish students.

       Our job is to hold these people accountable. We need to ensure that the hate they espoused so freely doesn’t get swept under the rug. To show them that there are consequences to violent and hateful actions.

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