Hillel International: Condemn the Israel on Campus Coalition for its support of Canary Mission


Oct. 11, 2017

Open Hillel rejects the fear-based and McCarthyist tactics of Canary Mission. Canary Mission is a database maligning professors and student activists who support BDS (1). The organization primarily targets Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and/or students of color, along with a significant number of Jewish community members. Canary Mission and its supporters smear students and professors with baseless accusations of ‘supporting terrorists’ and ‘inciting Jew-hatred’. Instead of engaging in principled debate, Canary Mission creates a blacklist which can be used to intimidate any campus community member deemed too critical of Israel.

We are therefore deeply disturbed to learn that the Hillel-affiliated Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) has endorsed Canary Mission and their tactics (2). Hillel International created the Israel on Campus Coalition in 2002, and the ICC continues to provide Hillel professionals with Israel advocacy training and support. Tina Price, a director and board member of the ICC, is also the chair of Hillel International’s board (3) (4).

In light of the ICC’s enthusiastic support for Canary Mission, Open Hillel calls on Hillel International to condemn Canary Mission and reconsider its relationship with the ICC.

Canary Mission’s bullying and intimidation tactics, which the ICC “hailed for deterring BDS activism and causing students to drop their support for pro-Palestine groups out of fear of repercussions” (5), are antithetical to the open and pluralistic environment that Hillel should foster on college campuses.

In recent years, Hillel International has forged multi-million dollar partnerships with Naftali Bennett's Mosaic United (6), Sheldon Adelson’s Maccabee Task Force (7), and most recently, the David Project (8), in order to impose a narrow, right wing, Israel agenda on college campuses. The ICC's endorsement of Canary Mission is yet another disturbing step in Hillel's partnership with those willing to bully and intimidate students and faculty into silence. Hillel justifies these partnerships in the name of Jewish students' "safety", but groups like Canary Mission actually endanger Jewish students and their peers by subjecting them to hate mail and other forms of harassment.

Open Hillel calls on Hillel International to condemn Canary Mission and clarify that malicious smear tactics have absolutely no place in campus Jewish communities.