The United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel congratulates the student government at the University of California Davis for being the first such group in the country to collectively condemn Canary Mission, the anonymous on-line blacklist of students and activists supporting Palestinian human rights.
USACBI stands with and encourages student governments everywhere to follow the lead of UC Davis students and pass their own resolutions challenging this McCarthyite repression of student activism. Such actions could be a huge step forward for solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement by pushing back against the chilling effect that such blacklists are having on student activism and challenging the silencing and self-censorship that Canary Mission is producing on campuses.
The May 24, 2018 resolution stated that Canary Mission and similar sites “threaten the security of student activists, as well as create a toxic atmosphere of fear and paranoia among fellow students, thus infringing upon students’ ability to freely express their opinions.” The text of the Davis resolution can be found here: https://asucd.ucdavis.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/SR19_SQ18-2.docx
Electronic Intifada also reported that the resolution “condemns student organizations that inform on fellow students to groups like Canary Mission and denounces surveillance and intimidation on campus by police and US immigration authorities.” It is notable that the UCD resolution, proposed by the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission, also condemns the criminalization of Black and Brown communities by ICE, the FBI, and police, providing a framework for challenging the collaboration between the US and Israel in policing, border militarization, intelligence gathering, and counterterrorism practices that target Arabs and Muslims globally.
Canary Mission began in 2015 as a site dedicated to destroying the lives of activists supporting BDS and Palestinian human rights. At present it includes hostile profiles of nearly 2,000 activists. The site regularly posts false accusations of anti-Semitism or terrorism against student activists. It has been linked directly to the Israeli Ministry of Internal Affairs, and its malicious misinformation has even been used by Israeli state security to challenge and turn away people attempting to enter Israel. For this reason it has been condemned by the Middle East Studies Association. It has also been condemned by more than 1,000 professors and University administrators.
In 2018, the website AgainstCanaryMission.org was created to counter Canary Mission’s smears. The site features profiles of Palestinian activists, underscoring their work and commitment, and flipping the blacklist by proudly claiming solidarity with Palestine in public: http://againstcanarymission.org/
A widespread national campaign against Canary Mission could play a vital role in exposing its malicious role in university life, its undermining of free speech and academic freedom for those who speak out for Palestinian liberation, and eliminate one source of intimidation and repression directed against students who bravely challenge Israeli apartheid.
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