Canary Mission dumped by funder, but critics say it doesn’t go far enough

(photo: Nikki Casey / Forward)
The Diller Foundation was revealed in August as one of the principle funders of the black-listing site.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis | Forward | Oct 26, 2018

They still haven’t publicly apologized, and they haven’t acknowledged the harm that was done by their actions or [said] how they would repair it.  They said, ‘We aren’t funding these organizations.’ And that was that.
— Ophir Gilad, who participated in the Diller fellowship in 2013 and 2014

One of the US charities that the Forward exposed as a funder of the online blacklist Canary Mission is trying to distance itself from the website, but alumni of its teen program say it isn’t going far enough.

In a letter, senior staff of the Helen Diller Family Foundation acknowledged the foundation’s grant in support Canary Mission, and said it would not be renewed. Yet while the letter condemned “any organizations and ideologies associated with sinat chinam (baseless hatred),” it did not explicitly condemn Canary Mission, nor did it say that the foundation regretted the grant.

The Diller foundation sent the letter on October 11, the day after dozens of alumni of a teen leadership program it operates published an op-ed in the Forward calling on the foundation to “do teshuva,” or repent, for making the Canary Mission grant.

The alumni of the teen fellowship who spearheaded the op-ed told the Forward that the foundation’s response was welcome, but insufficient.

In early October, the Forward reported that the Diller foundation, which is controlled by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, had made a $100,000 grant in support of Canary Mission in 2016.

Canary Mission, which has operated in strict secrecy since its inception in 2015, posts political dossiers on undergraduates who are critical of Israel. It has drawn increasing criticism in recent months, including from pro-Israel students who say its work is counterproductive. Canary Mission’s defenders say it is a legitimate weapon against anti-Semitism.

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