Against Canary Mission: Today’s Organizers, Tomorrow’s Leaders
Welcome to a website that celebrates the courage, vitality and brilliance of organizers for Palestinian freedom. Against Canary Mission is a not-for-profit volunteer site which profiles leaders across the United States organizing for Palestinian rights.
Each person featured at the site has provided a vetted profile describing how they’ve accomplished their goals as activists, contributions they’ve made to social justice, and how this work has helped build strong careers and lives. Because of their social justice work, most all of these activists have been the targets of smear campaigns by Canary Mission, the anonymous pro-Israel attack site which has published false and defamatory accusations against them. Our site, Against Canary Mission, tells the truth about their lives and their courage, and the work they do towards the eventual freedom of Palestinians currently living under Israeli Occupation and oppression.
The site is also dedicated to an intersectional approach to Palestinian activism and self-determination. We are an anti-racist, anti-sexist, queer-friendly, socialist-friendly site dedicated to combating bigotry, anti-semitism, ableism and chauvinism in all of its forms.
The History of our Movement
We are a website dedicated to uplifting and celebrating the voices of activists for Palestinian human rights, and defending those activists from unjust online harassment and intimidation.
The Israel/Palestine conflict is one of the vital issues of our time. It is widely recognized that for too long, the Palestinian people have been denied the human rights that all people deserve– the right to equal access to food, clean water, housing, education and other basic necessities; the right to political representation, freedom of movement, freedom from military occupation; and the right for refugees to return to the place their families for centuries have called home. The dire need for Palestinians to enjoy these basic rights has been recognized by well-respected organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others; by civil rights leaders like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Francis and others; and by international bodies like the United Nations and the European Union, as well as by U.S. politicians that include Jimmy Carter, Bernie Sanders, and even Barack Obama and John Kerry.
In the face of these and other injustices, support for Palestinian human rights has become a mainstream cause for communities around the world, and the United States is no exception. In recent years, college students and professors, community activists and others have worked to screen films, bring speakers, hold rallies and other events to educate their communities, and mobilize folks to take action. Faith organizations such as the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ, and others have removed their investments from corporations complicit in human rights abuses against Palestinians. This growing movement for Palestinian rights is a movement for peace, justice and equality, championed by people of all ages and backgrounds who believe that a better world is possible.
Regardless of one’s personal beliefs, the right of individuals and organizations to voice support for Palestinian rights should be cherished and safeguarded. But sadly, those rights are under attack today. In today’s polarized political climate, online harassment and intimidation of political activists has become increasingly common. Legal experts and free speech advocates agree that such harassment has a dangerous chilling effect on speech, making activists afraid to speak out for fear of being slandered and defamed.
In 2015, the anonymous Canary Mission initiative was created. Canary Mission is a website and social media campaign designed to slander student, faculty, and community activists for Palestinian rights as extremist, anti-semitic, and sympathetic to terrorism. By publicizing the names, social media accounts, employment history, and other personal information about student activists, Canary Mission mobilizes a small online community of pro-Israel advocates to harass and threaten these activists.
Canary Mission frequently tweets the names of employers, in order to rally their followers to intimidate students. In a few cases, Canary Mission also has contacted the prospective graduate schools of these students, claiming without evidence that the students are anti-semites, terrorists, or both. The goal of their campaign is to use fear and intimidation to pressure activists to cease their human rights advocacy.
Canary Mission has been roundly condemned in the press as a reprehensible blacklist, reminiscent of McCarthyism, embodying the worst 21st-century trends of cyberbullying and online slander. Though the creators of Canary Mission remain anonymous, it has been linked to, and utilized by, far-right activists such as David Horowitz, who has been labeled a purveyor of hate speech by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Sadly, most mainstream pro-Israel organizations have refused to condemn Canary Mission, with some, such as the Israel on Campus Coalition, even voicing support for the site.
Our new website, “Against Canary Mission”, presents the *real* stories of Palestinian social justice activists: stories of courageous, dedicated organizers who have successfully made Israeli apartheid a global issue, and brought Palestinians ever closer to freedom and democracy. Their invaluable, courageous work will be highlighted, detailed and celebrated here for its audacity in the face of severe repression and injustice and threats to their livelihood.
Our website exists to set the record straight, and allow activists who are slandered on Canary Mission to speak for themselves, on their own terms, about the work they do, and why they do it. We are proud of the work we do to make the world a better place, and we won’t be silenced.
In the words of one student profiled on the site:
“Though I was timid about speaking up, faced with the threat of giving the site more ammunition to use against me, I realized that Canary Mission will continue to grow as more and more people support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian freedom.
Only through activism and continuous, collective struggle against this site and other blacklists, whether they target Muslims or BlackLivesMatter activists, can these tactics of intimidation and harassment be stopped.”