Israeli ‘Canary Mission’: New website fingers ‘anti-Zionist’ academics
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Israeli ‘Canary Mission’: New website fingers ‘anti-Zionist’ academics

Right-wing Im Tirzu group invites users to call out allegedly unpatriotic lecturers; university heads slam ‘intimidation’ campaign

Im Tirzu movement activists demonstrate near to Arab Israeli and Israeli left wing activist students during a rally marking the Nakba anniversary day at Tel Aviv University on May 14, 2018. (Flash90)
Im Tirzu movement activists demonstrate near to Arab Israeli and Israeli left wing activist students during a rally marking the Nakba anniversary day at Tel Aviv University on May 14, 2018. (Flash90)

A right-wing Israeli organization said Tuesday it had launched a new website listing Israeli university professors who are “anti-Zionist” and invited students to file complaints about lecturers who “preach anti-Israel rhetoric.”

The Im Tirzu movement said the website, Know Your Professor, already lists 85 academics it alleges are involved in activity such as promoting boycotts against Israel or accusing the Israel Defense Forces of war crimes.

“There is no parallel in the world to this phenomenon of hypocrisy and ungratefulness, in which these professors earn their living at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer yet at the same time work to boycott and slander them,” Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg said in an emailed statement.

Im Tirzu says it is active on 20 Israeli campuses to “protect Zionism when it comes under attack within Israel.” The group has gained notoriety over the past several years for, among other things, posting ads accusing prominent left-wing activists of being foreign “moles” in Israel and supporters of terror.

Screenshot from Im Tirzu’s ‘Know Your Professor’ website with a slogan saying ‘No to politicization of academia’

The new website was harshly criticized by Israel’s Committee of University Heads, which said Im Tirzu was “continuing a witch hunt run by extremist political organizations serving cynical political interests,” according to the Haaretz daily.

“We must immediately stop the system of denunciations and intimidation,” the council said, warning that the site would damage Israel’s reputation.

“In universities in a democratic state, lecturers and students should not be afraid to talk, ask questions, and question,” it said.

The website contains some inaccurate information, including in the entry for Hebrew University professor Dr. Carola Hilfrich, which wrongly states that she “physically harmed” a student during a confrontation in January.

Im Tirzu said the site is modeled after Canary Mission, an American organization that documents people and groups on North American college campuses it says promote hatred of the US, Israel and Jews.

Know Your Professor includes a form for filing complaints about “anti-Zionist professors and cases of anti-Zionism in academia.”

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