Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The Canary Mission’s doxxing needs to stop

Speech is being discouraged and student’s futures threatened

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas rages on, the topic becomes increasingly divisive in the United States. The intensity of the debate is exacerbated by independent organizations promoting their cause by any means necessary. Among the most dangerous offenders is the Canary Mission, a website that bills itself as a tracker of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-United States rhetoric on North American college campuses.

They document individuals and organizations who engage in activity deemed dangerous by their ethics policy. They upload photographs, social media links and personal information in order to publicize the activity of the accused and blacklist them from potential employers.

While the Mission believes its work to be activism in defense of the Jewish community worldwide, its documentation of individuals is dangerous, irresponsible and conducted in bad faith.

After the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7, the Harvard College Palestine Student Committee (PSC) drafted an open letter to the campus community that placed responsibility for the attack on Israel. The letter also called on the Harvard community to take action to “end the ongoing annihilation of Palestinians.” The letter was co-signed by 33 other student organizations and published in the Harvard Crimson, the campus newspaper.

As a result of the letter’s publication, the Mission created profiles for at least five members of the Crimson editorial board. Numerous profiles were also created for leadership of the Harvard PSC and leaders of clubs that co-signed the letter. If someone finds the letter to be problematic, their first response should absolutely not be to doxx those involved and encourage harassment. Doing so discourages free speech and hurts the people in question more than it helps anybody who sees their profile.

The Mission didn’t stop at creating profiles for student leaders. They doxxed anybody even remotely involved in the publication of the letter. One listed student was a member of the Pakistan Student’s Association, a club which had co-signed the PSC statement. They were indirectly involved at best, but their membership with a cultural club was enough for the Mission to brand them as a hateful anti-Semite.

Another student was a member of the South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA), which also co-signed the controversial letter. They were placed on the website for no reason besides their SALSA membership.

These two students are not alone. Many of the people profiled on the Canary Mission have not engaged in hate speech or engaged in anti-Semitism. A vast majority of the profiles are activists who have spoken out in favor of the people of Palestine; many student citations do not even quote the individual as ever publicly mentioning Israel or the Jewish people.

Ironically enough, the administrators of the website keep their identities private and little is known about the Mission’s creation or funding. While it is acceptable for students and their identities to be published because of their vocal support of Palestine, the website seems afraid to break the double-standard and publicize themselves.

The hypocrisy is even more dangerous because the people behind the Mission are targeting young activists on college campuses. This is an age group that is becoming more involved in politics and beginning to form their own beliefs as they prepare for the world. By targeting this demographic, the Mission is attempting to suppress necessary growth for the next generation of voters and politicians.

The website also collects information on organizations, varying from political groups to media outlets. Al Jazeera, a Qatari-owned media conglomerate and one of the most reputable news sources in the world, is denounced along with clubs like Students for Justice in Palestine, an organization with collegiate chapters across the nation. Many other organizations like these two are unfairly placed next to websites like, the webpage of the former Ku Klux Klan leader of the same name, and The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website for sharing hate speech. What moral code could possibly define this collection of organizations as equal?

Perhaps the most sinister section of the website is the “Ex-Canary” tab. If you are placed on the website and want to be removed, you must write an apology to the Mission and “reject the latent anti-Semitism” of far-left, far-right and anti-Israel groups. Given the apologies on the website, it seems like the Mission isn’t looking for sincerity; they’re publishing personal information and holding it over people’s heads. They want to see people grovel before they take your profile down. It’s political extortion, it’s dystopian and it discourages political discourse.

Underneath all of its doxxing and immorality, the Mission actually does create profiles for white supremacists and right wing anti-Semites. These are people who have expressed hateful speech and rhetoric towards the Jewish people and promoted long-debunked anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find these profiles on the website, as they are vastly outnumbered by student activists for Palestine.

If the Mission is claiming to combat anti-Semitism by publicizing those who conduct it, they would be focused on the increasingly mainstream alt-right movement  normalizing hate speech and creating a haven for white supremacists. That’s an entirely justifiable cause, one that would certainly be difficult to argue against. But that’s not the cause they fight for. Their targeting of student activists erases any sort of good faith they earn from tracking actually dangerous people.

While the United States is physically far-removed from the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the Canary Mission is working to suppress American voices that don’t align with their political views. Their consistent doxxing and blacklisting of activists and protesters is immoral and discourages the free use of First Amendment rights. With so many lives on the line in this conflict, we cannot let the Canary Mission dictate how we use our voices as students.

I call on Chancellor Javier Reyes and the University of Massachusetts administration to denounce the Canary Mission and publicly state its defense of student activists who are doxxed on the website. The Canary Mission engages in dangerous activity that goes against the university’s goal of striving for a “safe, progressive and understanding campus for everyone.” In order to sustain this kind of environment, the university should promise to offer support to any students who are doxxed and ensure a zero-tolerance policy against any abuse that they may receive as a result.


Owen Ray can be found at [email protected]

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