An unknown group has launched a website meant to expose students associated with pro-Palestinian groups, publishing everything from their full names and photos to the universities the students attend, in an effort to discourage potential employers from hiring them.
Canary Mission features 54 profiles of students and professors complete with their group affiliations, quotes and news articles that have spotlighted their activism. The site’s homepage even displays a featured organization and individual as if to brand them with a scandalous "Scarlett Letter."
“It is your duty to ensure that today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees,” a Canary Mission video explains.
In truly McCarthyist style, the site’s mission statement is a dedicated promise to protect freedom, under the subtle guise of branding activists illegitimate and ridiculous.
“The Canary Mission database was created to expose individuals and groups that are anti-Freedom, anti-American and anti-Semitic in order to protect the public and our democratic values.”
Canary Mission asserts the project is trying to stop the spread of anti-Semitism on college campuses and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, but the site’s real goal is harassment and shameful silencing of these individuals’ rights to voice their opinions, simultaneously smothered in blatant racist stereotypes and bigotry.
“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,” Film-maker Rebecca Pierce told the Guardian. “I do worry about future employers potentially seeing this and getting the wrong idea, but I stand behind my activism and won’t allow racist extremists to intimidate me.”
Pierce was highlighted as a “Radical of the Day” on the site.
The organizers behind Canary Mission are still unknown, with many right-wing, pro-Israel groups denying any association with the site.
While the BDS movement has gained steam across American campuses, specifically in California, and the pro-Israel sentiment has winded down in the U.S. (in light of last summer’s Gaza War and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continually embarrassing himself on the world stage), sites like these perpetuate the overwhelmingly false and misguided assumptions that being pro-Palestinian is synonymous with being anti-Semitic or self-hating, and deplete the pro-Palestinian solidarity efforts and peace actions these groups have worked so hard to raise.