Israeli firm gathered intel to discredit activist Linda Sarsour — report
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Israeli firm gathered intel to discredit activist Linda Sarsour — report

Pro-Palestinian campaigner said targeted in bid to gather damaging information to help persuade universities not to invite her as a speaker

Linda Sarsour speaking at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health’s inaugural commencement ceremony at the Apollo Theatre in New York City, June 1, 2017. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images via JTA)
Linda Sarsour speaking at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health’s inaugural commencement ceremony at the Apollo Theatre in New York City, June 1, 2017. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images via JTA)

A private Israeli intelligence-gathering firm collected potentially damaging information on Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, according to a report in Haaretz.

The firm, Israel Cyber Shield, was gathering the intelligence for Act.IL, a pro-Israel advocacy organization, according to the report published Thursday. The goal was to use the information to persuade US colleges not to invite Sarsour as a speaker on campus.

Sarsour, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, is a pro-Palestinian activist who advocates a boycott of Israel. She is a co-chair of the Women’s March, the liberal group that held large demonstrations across the country in January 2017 and again this year. She is a frequent target of right-wing pro-Israel activists.

Israel Cyber Shield is run by Eran Vasker, a former officer in the Israel Police’s international crime division. The firm compiled a dossier on Sarsour on behalf of Act.IL, which has a mobile app of the same name.

The files included information on Sarsour’s parents, as well as a court case in which she was involved. It also included some widely reported information, including controversial tweets by Sarsour.

Act.IL is a project of the Israeli American Council that says its goal is to “help support Israeli-Americans become effective advocates for Israel in their communities, workplaces, on social media and on campuses.”

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