Twitter suspends anti-Semitism watchdog Canary Mission after campaign by anti-Israel activists (UPDATE)
Meanwhile, many of the people who Canary Mission exposed for anti-Semitism and terror support remain on Twitter
Please see Update at bottom of post – The Canary Mission Twitter account has been restored
Canary Mission is an anonymous group that monitors and reports on anti-Semitism and anti-Israel extremism by publishing the actual statements and social media postings of activists. Canary Mission has been under attack, and there have been multiple attempts to deplatform it, because is exposes the anti-Semitic, pro-terror rantings of the anti-Israel movement, particularly on campuses.
After what appears to be a coordinated campaign to report Canary Mission’s Twitter account to Twitter for abuse, the Twitter account of Canary Mission has been suspended.
At the time of the takedown, the Twitter account had over 20,000 followers.
Some of the tweets remain in the Wayback Machine, but the account is otherwise disabled as of this writing.
Canary Mission is Under Attack Because it is Effective
I addressed the controversy about Canary Mission in an August 2016 post, Anti-Israel blacklisters complain they are unfairly being blacklisted
The people behind Canary Mission are not known. Anti-Israel fanatic Max Blumenthal published research claiming the people behind Canary Mission are in Israel. Ironically, Blumenthal and his cohorts regularly engage in naming and shaming tactics of pro-Israel advocates, including in the same publication where Blumenthal published his Canary Mission research.
Canary Mission has been controversial from the start, with claims it was creating a blacklist. I’ve yet to see a claim that Canary Mission published false information; rather, the objection is that students may have their careers damaged if prospective employers found out about the outrageous conduct and rhetoric they have engaged in.
That’s an interesting concept, that aggregating public information about things students actually said or did somehow is an unethical blacklist. Others may call it accountability — certainly we see it played out on the left all the time, where some contribution or statement is dug out from the past which is then used to try to get someone fired or pressured to resign. See, e.g., Brendan Eich.
It seems that Canary Mission may be having an impact, because a group of faculty issued a letter condemning Canary Mission and pledging to prevent information aggregated by Canary Mission from being used in graduate admissions evaluations, Graduate Admissions Faculty Condemn Canary Mission Blacklist….
I don’t know if all the several dozen signatories are BDS supporters, and I’m not inclined to spend the time checking, but I did recognized many of the names as the most aggressive academic BDS advocates….
In fact, as reported in that prior post, Canary Mission denies contacting employers or posting personal contact information:
I sent a Twitter Direct Message to Canary Mission asking for a response to these accusations. It responded:
We post links to the public social media accounts, blogs and websites belonging to the individuals. The notion that we post personal contact information can be easily debunked by visiting http://canarymission.org
We have never initiated private contact with any employers or university administrators. This accusation is part of the rumor-mill of unsubstantiated claptrap generated by individuals seeking to smear us without regard for truth or facts. Better these individuals correct their own racist bigotry than waste everybody’s time with baseless accusations that seem designed to divert attention from their own hateful words and activities.
Canary Mission is so demonized because it is so effective. It shines a bright light on the dirty underbelly of the anti-Israel movement in the most shattering way possible: By quoting what they actually say and showing what they publicly post online.
Canary Mission’s mission statement sets forth its goals:
Canary Mission documents individuals and organizations that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses. Canary Mission investigates hatred across the entire political spectrum, including the far right, far left and anti-Israel activists.
Canary Mission is motivated by a desire to combat the rise in anti-Semitism on college campuses. We pursue our mission by presenting the words and deeds of individuals and organizations that engage in anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry on the far right, far left and among the array of organizations that comprise the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Canary Mission gathers content from publicly available sources. We aggregate this information into a concise and easily searchable format, providing free access to the general public. Before publication, all content is verified, meeting our high standards of accuracy and authenticity.
The addition of individuals to our database is governed by our Ethics Policy.
Individuals who believe that they should be removed from the Canary Mission website are encouraged to be in touch with us and may become an Ex-Canary.
By shining a light on hate groups and their members, the public is better informed about bigotry on their campuses and in their communities. Canary Mission believes that we all have the right to know if an individual has been affiliated with movements that routinely engage in anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions, promote hatred of Jews and seek the destruction of Israel.
Here is Canary Mission’s stated Ethics Policy as to who and what they write up:
- All Individual and Organizational profile subjects have shown themselves to be either one or more of the following:
- Anti-Semitic according to the U.S. State Department’s Definition
- Supporters of terrorism, terrorists or terrorist organizations e.g. Hamas, PFLP, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Qaeda
- Violating the personal safety of Jews or supporters of Israel
- Disrupting Jewish or pro-Israel speakers or events
- Inciting violence or hatred towards Jews, Israel or supporters of Israel
- Using language or speech that demonizes Jews, Israel or supporters of Israel
- Promoting or enabling BDS in any of its forms, including:
- BDS against the State of Israel, Israeli products or Israeli companies
- BDS against individuals, companies or institutions that trade with or have a working relationship with Israeli companies or institutions
- The academic or cultural boycott of Israel
- Voting for or choosing to allow campus divestment resolutions to be carried out anonymously or via secret ballot
- All information written on Individual and Organizational profiles is aggregated from open sources on the internet i.e. tweets, posts, articles etc
- Canary Mission does not intentionally apply embellishments or opinions in addition to the facts
- If you believe there are factual errors, please use our Contact Page to let us know
Anti-Israel Activists Are Behind the Suspension
Haaretz reports on the suspension:
Twitter has suspended the account of Canary Mission, the shadowy group that publishes an online blacklist of pro-Palestinian student activists.
Founded in 2015, the site says that it aims to prevent pro-Palestinian students from finding work after college. It hides the identities of its own staff and funders….
Jewish academics have accused Canary Mission of “McCarthyite” tactics, and pro-Palestinian advocates have called it an online bullying campaign. But last year, a mainstream Jewish organization, the Israel on Campus Coalition, endorsed the group.
Canary Mission’s website includes dossiers on 300 professors and another 1400 people, many of them undergraduates.
This is an example of the types of tweets Canary Mission issued:So who was behind the take down? That’s not public information, but there are clues suggesting a connection to known anti-Israel groups, like Jewish Voice for Peace. The url for Against Canary Mission goes to a JVP website page.
The Executive Director of JVP tweeted that a “friend” sent her an image of a response from Twitter to that friend’s reporting of Canary Mission.
Ben Lorber, the campus director of JVP, posted on Facebook a similar Twitter response. Maybe they have the same “friend”?
JVP accusing Canary Mission of abuse is quite ironic considering that JVP is one of the leading enablers and instigators of anti-Semitism in the “intersectional” social justice movement. JVP openly embraced, supported and honored convicted terrorist murderers Rasmea Odeh and Marwan Barghouti, runs a campaign blaming American Jewish groups and Israelis for alleged police abuse of blacks in the U.S., and twists Jewish holidays and turns them into “pro-Palestinian” events. JVP even harasses pro-Israel LGBT people.
No wonder JVP is so happy to deplatform Canary Mission on Twitter.
Person who supports terrorist killers Rasmea Odeh and Marwan Barghouti, and who launched a campaign blaming Jewish groups and Israelis for killings of blacks in US, happy that a group that exposed actual statements of other terror supporters was shut down by @TwitterSupport https://t.co/o87Bmwq4Dt
— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) February 27, 2018
Palestine Legal, which serves as the U.S. legal arm of the BDS movement, admits on its website that it encouraged people to report Canary Mission to Twitter:
“Palestine Legal has encouraged targets of the site to report such abuse directly to Twitter.”
The Canary Mission call to action, below, has links to additional anti-Israel activists reporting Canary Mission to Twitter.
It’s fair to assume that similar efforts are being made to try to deplatform Canary Mission at other social media platforms.
Call to Action
Canary Mission has circulated a CALL TO ACTION:
Canary Mission’s Call to Action included the following:
Canary Mission, a university campus watchdog that exposes hatred and anti-Semitism across the political spectrum, has been outrageously suspended from Twitter.
In the meantime, neo-Nazis, terrorist organizations and those dedicated to the destruction of Israel continue to operate freely. Among them, Hatem Bazian – a repeated offender of anti-Semitism, David Duke – former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and even terror organization Hamas!
The Canary Mission Twitter account, by contrast, has been solely utilized to expose the social media posts and actions of those who spread hate.
The suspension of Canary Mission comes at a particularly sensitive time. In the wake of an overwhelmingly tragic school shooting, we face the the stark reality that social media posts must be taken seriously.
Our database contains hundreds of individuals who have shown support for or openly threatened violence on social media. In fact, many bigots and racists on our site have bragged about their ownership, ability and desire to use firearms.
Exposing these potentially dangerous individual’s posts to the public, who then in turn report them to the authorities, has proven to be a vital tool. Last year, our tweet exposing apreschool teacher who had been spreading violent hatred against Jews, led to her swiftremoval from her position working with small children.
Despite this, Canary Mission according to Twitter, is violating their rule against “hateful conduct,” since we also call out white supremacists, Hamas supporters and anti-Israelactivists, many of whom praise Hitler, who then complain to Twitter that we are acting against them.
This claim is absolutely ludicrous. As clearly laid out in our About page, Canary Mission merely “gathers content from publicly available sources.” Anyone who complains about what Canary Mission said about them on Twitter needs to read the content of the tweet and face the hatred of in their own words.
* * *
Much more significantly, we have received an outpouring of shock, concern and desire to help from our supporters across North America and from around the world. We have been inundated with emails and messages through our Facebook page by individuals looking to help. This is a true testament to the positive work we are doing. We are humbled and truly grateful to all those who have reached out to us. We are including an ACTION ALERT at the bottom of this email for specifically for all of you.
If the Canary Mission Twitter account is indeed permanently removed, then hatred has won a temporary victory. Whatever happens, our detractors should realize and our supporters can take to heart, that this will not change a single aspect of the work that Canary Mission does.
We will do our best to get our account reinstated and if not, our mission will not change, we will not falter. We will continue our mission to fight hatred and anti-Semitism.
The Canary Mission Team
Our Direct Message to Twitter’s communications team member and email to Twitter’s press office seeking comment on why Canary Mission was suspended and whether it was permanent, were not returned.
UPDATE 8:35 PM Eastern 2-27-2018
The Canary Mission Twitter account appears to have been restored. The most current tweet listed as of the restoration was February 25, the date it was suspended.
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