Canary Mission’s threat grows from US campuses to the Israeli border

(photo: Nikki Casey / Forward)
While Canary Mission hides behind its well-protected anonymity, pro-Israel students take the blame for its activities, whether or not they were involved.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis | Forward | Aug 3, 2018

We made strategic decisions within our organization about who would be out-facing members and who would be in-facing members, knowing that Canary Mission . . . would have different consequences for different people.
— Abby Brook, a leader in both Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace at George Washington University

Last December, Andrew Kadi flew to Israel to visit his mother. As he walked through Ben Gurion International Airport, officials pulled him aside and said that the security services wanted to speak with him.

Kadi is among the leaders of a major pro-Palestinian advocacy group, and border authorities always question him when he travels to Israel to see his family. This time, however, something was different.

During his second of what ended up being three interrogations, spanning more than eight hours, Kadi realized that much of what the interrogator knew about him had come from Canary Mission, an anonymously-run online blacklist that tries to frighten pro-Palestinian students and activists into silence by posting dossiers on their politics and personal lives.

Kadi’s interrogator asked question after question about organizations listed on his Canary Mission profile. A pro-Palestinian organization that Kadi had been involved with but that wasn’t listed on his Canary Mission profile went unmentioned. Hours later, a third interrogator confirmed what Kadi had suspected: They were looking at his Canary Mission profile.

Canary Mission has said since it went live in 2015 that it seeks to keep pro-Palestinian student activists from getting work after college. Yet in recent months, the threat it poses to college students and other activists has grown far more severe.

The site, which is applauded by some pro-Israel advocates for harassing hardcore activists, is now being used as an intelligence source on thousands of students and academics by Israeli officials with immense power over people’s lives, the Forward has learned.

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