Founded three years ago, Canary Mission is an anonymous organization that documents and exposes antisemitism and anti-Israel animus on America’s colleges and universities.

By compiling online dossiers and a searchable database of the activities and the publicly-available statements and social media postings of anti-Israel activists, Canary Mission exposes the vitriolic rantings of people affiliated with the anti-Israel BDS movement, particularly on campuses.

As we’ve highlighted in several prior posts, Canary Mission has come under attack and its been controversial from the start with accusations that its website echoes “long-discredited and horrific blacklists of the McCarthy era” and that publicizing the outrageous rhetoric and conduct that BDS-affiliated college students engage in could damage their careers if prospective employers found out about it.

As a result, there have been multiple attempts to deplatform Canary Mission and to discredit those who fund it:

But as we noted, Canary Mission is reviled precisely because it’s 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.”

Released last week, the group’s new report covering the fringe radical group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is a perfect example of the “huge public service” that Canary Mission provides by pulling the mask off so-called social justice groups and activists who profess to work for peace and human rights but in reality do little to advance the cause of Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution or to improve the lives of Palestinians and just work to “make life hell on campus for Jewish students.”

Below I provide a short overview of Canary Mission’s new report on JVP and its two accompanying videos. I also flag some JVP activities that Canary Mission’s new report missed, but that we’ve covered in earlier LI posts.

Canary Mission’s Report on Jewish Voice for Peace

Canary Mission released its “long-awaited, exhaustive, and biggest campaign yet” covering JVP this past week, posting to its website and social media accounts a new short blog post each day from Monday, November 5th through Friday, November 9th.

Each blog post exposes a different aspect of JVP’s activism with the aim of “proving that they truly are not for ‘Peace’.”

Here’s the five-part series:

Having researched JVP extensively for the last few years, there isn’t much information in these short blog posts that was news to me. But for people who have not followed JVP’s antics closely, the series is informative.

The various topics addressed in the blogs are ones that we’ve also highlighted in dozens of posts about JVP over the last few years (to its credit, Canary Mission included embedded hyperlinks to five of these LI posts in its new report).

Aspects of JVP’s activism that we’ve covered in prior posts which are also featured in Canary Mission’s new report include:

Still, there really can never be too much exposure of this vile group which manages to dupe far too many well-meaning people into thinking that it endorses non-violence and is merely against the ‘occupation’.

It’s also useful to have all the damaging JVP activities and social media in one place, which is especially helpful for those who aren’t that familiar with the group. Further, each blog includes dozens of embedded hyperlinks to Facebook posts, tweets, and other materials so that all of the charges against JVP in the report are backed up with evidence that can be evaluated.

The report’s comprehensive coverage of some 70 JVP activists who operate on campuses across the country is also an important component of the new report, as it reveals the extent of the horrible rhetoric employed by key JVP leaders and activists.

I did learn a few new pieces of information, so I’m sure that even those who already know a lot about JVP will benefit from taking the time to read the five blogs. Here are a few things I now know:

  1. One of JVP’s funders—the Firedoll Foundation—also lists Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) as a current grantee. Back in 2015, MECA and JVP co-sponsored Bassem Tamimi’s speaking tour (in prior posts, to which the Canary Mission blog links, we highlighted Tamimi’s exploitation of young children as anti-Israel propaganda props and his encouraging 3rd grade children in Ithaca, NY to become ‘freedom fighters’).
  2. Last year, JVP San Diego was among the co-sponsors of a campaign to “Free Ahmad Sa’adat”, the Secretary General of the PFLP who is currently incarcerated in Israel for terror activities during the second intifada.
  3. Many activists affiliated with the anti-Israel group If Not Now (INN) are also members of JVP. We recently posted that, unlike JVP, INN has not yet tainted itself as a purveyor of antisemitism and so it’s perceived as a more legitimate voice, which may explain why it’s become the new darling of the anti-Israel movement. But as Canary Mission shows, JVP and INN have “close tactical cooperation”, complementary goals, and there’s a significant “cross-over of activists who are both members of JVP and INN”.

[Canary Mission video, screenshot]

The Canary Mission Report’s Accompanying Videos

This week Canary Mission posted to its You Tube channel two new videos that are meant to accompany its new report on JVP. Both are worth watching.

The first video describes JVP’s trajectory from an obscure group founded in 1996 to a leading U.S.-based pro-BDS organization. It highlights how JVP denies Jewish peoplehood and seeks to drive a wedge between American Jews and the Jewish state. The demonization of Israelis and Zionists is depicted throughout the video, including at a JVP and SJP co-hosted protest in Chicago where one crazed activist screams that he’d “challenge the Zionist racist mother fu**ers”.

Once you watch this film it becomes pretty clear that JVP isn’t concerned much with the welfare of the Jewish people or with peace. Why else would JVP align with people like Omar Barghouti and Hatem Bazian, BDS leaders who deny the right of Jewish self-determination and reject dialogue and coexistence?

The second video shows how JVP and INN have joined other anti-Israel groups like SJP and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) to prevent young Jews from connecting with their heritage and visiting the Jewish homeland.

Toward the end of the video there’s a disturbing clip of Patrick Little, the antisemitic white supremacist who was booted last spring from the GOP convention in California, calling for revoking the citizenship of any American who has participated in a Birthright trip. It’s an ugly example of the impact that JVP and its allies can have—in this case unwittingly fueling far-right anti-Semites.

The best parts of both videos, to my mind, are the captured screenshots of the outrageously offensive antisemitism spewed by JVP-affiliated activists. Here are a few examples but there are many more that are featured in the videos:

Some JVP Activism Missing From Canary Mission’s New Report

The new Canary Mission Report on Jewish Voice for Peace is packed with information about how this group has become one of the leading enablers and instigators of antisemitism and anti-Israelism in the ‘intersectional’ justice movement.

But its coverage misses at least a few notorious JVP incidents which we highlighted in prior posts, and which shed considerable light on the group’s nefarious mission and tactics.

For example, JVP’s despicable attempt to shut down a New York City Council memorial of the Holocaust back in 2015, Anti-Israel activists disrupt NYC Council vote commemorating liberation of Auschwitz.

Also missing from the report is coverage of how the JVP chapter in St. Louis joined other anti-Israel groups to smear a beloved progressive Rabbi as a ‘terrorist’ and ostracize her from the local Black Lives Matter campaign—all because she had gone to Israel on an AIPAC-sponsored mission and was unwilling to disavow her Zionist identity, Anti-Israel activists attack progressive St. Louis Rabbi who supports #BlackLivesMatter.

A more glaring omission is JVP’s appropriation of Jewish holidays and faith-based traditions.

Canary Mission recognizes that JVP attempts to “redefine what it means to be Jewish” and seeks to “disconnect Jews from their ancient homeland” which is why it’s so keen on delegitimizing Birthright and getting young Jews to forgo the hugely impactful free 10-day trip to Israel.

So, it’s odd that there’s no separate Canary Mission blog post or any coverage at all in the new report of JVP’s constant attempts to usurp Jewish holidays and rituals for its virulently anti-Israel agenda.

As we’ve highlighted in numerous posts, JVP twists Jewish life-cycle events and holidays and turns them into viciously anti-Israel events. It’s important to document JVP’s distortion of Judaism because, while some of this anti-Jewish activism is happening on campus, much of JVP’s hijacking of Jewish rituals and faith traditions occurs elsewhere and is especially aimed at indoctrinating young Jewish children:

Conclusion

On Thanksgiving Day, Jewish Voice for Peace’s chapter at the University of California in Berkeley is planning to hold a vigil for the 11 Jewish Americans who were murdered in the October 27th mass shooting attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

It won’t be like any of the other memorial services that have taken place around the country though. That’s because the JVP activists have announced that they’ll be teaming up with the local Students for Justice in Palestine group to run the vigil. Together, the two groups will take the opportunity to slam Israel’s defensive response to Hamas-instigated violence along the Gaza border. According to a Facebook post, the event will “condemn violence in the name of white supremacy” from “Pittsburgh to Gaza”.

It’s perverse that an event to honor Americans killed because they were Jews would condemn Israel’s efforts to protect its citizens from an antisemitic terrorist group which sends civilians and even children to sabotage and attempt border infiltrations, but this JVP-SJP event is the very type of activism that Canary Mission exposes in its recent report.

This upcoming event specifically highlights how JVP and SJP are now joined at the hip, and are routinely fundraising, promoting, attending and co-hosting each other’s events and defending one another.

The UC Berkeley JVP-SJP ‘vigil’ may not happen—the event has already been postponed once and has received widespread condemnation. We’ll provide an update if it does take place, and if there’s a counter-protest.

Bottom line: Rather than being a voice for peace, Jewish Voice for Peace has proven itself to be a voice that fans the flames of conflict and disseminates antisemitic tropes and canards. Canary Mission should be thanked for providing more information about this hateful group.

Miriam F. Elman is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Inaugural Robert D. McClure Professor of Teaching Excellence at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University. She is the editor of five books and the author of over 65 journal articles, book chapters, and government reports on topics related to international and national security, religion and politics, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also frequently speaks and writes on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) anti-Israel movement. Recently, Elman was included on the Algemeiner newspaper’s 2018 list of the top 100 people worldwide who are “positively influencing Jewish life.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @MiriamElman