Israeli Government’s Use of Far-Right “Canary Mission” to Ban Student Activists is Outrageous

October 4, 2018

J Street is appalled by a new report that the Israeli government is using information provided by the far-right organization Canary Mission as a source to bar student activists from entering Israel. This is just the latest evidence that the Israeli government is partnering with extreme right-wing groups, funded by American Jewish donors, to silence criticism, dissent and non-violent political activism.

By compiling a shadowy online blacklist of students who criticize Israel, Canary Mission aims to promote a toxic atmosphere of harassment and fear on US college campuses and beyond. It is outrageous that Israeli officials are using this blacklist as a tool to promote their travel ban on BDS activists. Like the travel ban itself, these activities risk doing massive damage to Israeli democracy.

J Street opposes the Global BDS Movement. And we firmly believe that the only way for Israel to effectively confront the movement is by pursuing and reaching a two-state peace agreement that resolves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and brings an end to the occupation. Targeting BDS supporters on campus and banning them from entering Israel will not counter their arguments or stem the global tide of concern for the Palestinian people.

Unfortunately, right-wing donors in the American Jewish community have empowered the worst inclinations of the Israeli government by pouring funds into a network of projects that promote an aggressive, intolerant and dysfunctional approach to pro-Palestinian activism and criticism of Israel. That is why it is vital that American Jewish leaders who have not yet denounced the work of Canary Mission now do so — and make clear that they will deny any support to groups that engage in this kind of targeted intimidation and harassment.

We welcome the commitment yesterday by the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation that no further money connected in any way to the federation will go to Canary Mission. Other federations and campus-based Jewish institutions must follow suit.