“I was scarcely aware of the existence of the Horowitz Center [before seeing my picture on the poster]. But a few minutes researching their activities reveal it to be a front organization for a hate group that seeks to defame and intimidate anyone who dares to criticize the state of Israel by calling them a terrorist, linking them to Hamas, and (of course) denouncing them as an anti-Semite. This is a thoroughly despicable group that perpetrates lies and slander directed at American universities and their students and faculty. I recommend that you look at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s account of David Horowitz’s career.”
— University of Chicago professor W. J. T. Mitchell
Over the past week, posters targeting members of the University of Chicago community as “terrorist supporters” appeared around campus and have since been removed by the University. The posters included the names of 26 members of the University community, including the names and drawings of the faces of two members of the faculty.
The students named on the posters are affiliated with the Muslim Students Association (MSA), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and U of C Divest. The David Horowitz Freedom Center placed similar posters on campus in October of 2016 and May of this year, after College Council (CC) approved a resolution calling for the University to divest from companies connected to the Israeli occupation in May 2016.
“The major way that McCarthyism worked was not because the government went in and punished people for the speech that they engaged in,” explains Corey Robin, a professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center whose name and photo are also featured on the site. “The bulk of it was precisely through these contacts amongst private employers and universities and non-state institutions that would sanction individuals for their speech.”
This past July, Thomas DeAngelis discovered that a bizarre website had placed his name and photo next to claims that he was “whitewashing terrorist violence and calling for more.” The site lists where he goes to school and what he’s studied, includes a lengthy description of his political activity, and even links to his Facebook page and Twitter handle.
DeAngelis, 23, is a first year doctoral student in the Earth and Environmental Sciences program at the CUNY Graduate Center and a longtime activist with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The profile on his political activities was posted to CanaryMission.org, a website that publishes the names, photographs, and biographical information of students engaged in Palestine activism across the United States.
The website, which was launched in May 2015, now contains profiles of over 600 individuals, most of them people of color. The site targets students and professors at universities across the U.S., in addition to a small number of people employed by Jewish Voice for Peace and other Palestine advocacy groups. [As of this writing, more than 1,000 US university faculty have signed a letter opposing CanaryMission.org here, AgainstCanaryMission.org.]