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ADL Backtracks On ‘Islamophobic And Racist’ Canary Mission

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League said it regretted using “overly broad language” to describe the Canary Mission, a group that posts blacklists of what it says are anti-Israel students on campuses.

“We regret the overly broad language that we used to describe the Canary Mission in a tweet earlier this week,” an ADL spokesman said in an email Thursday evening after JTA asked the group to demonstrate where Canary Mission had deployed “Islamophobic & racist rhetoric,” as ADL had alleged in its tweet.

“It was wrong to apply those labels to a group working, like us, to counter anti-Semitism on campus,” the spokesman said, adding that it still backed some of the reservations expressed in an op-ed by pro-Israel students that decried Canary Mission’s tactics.

On April 24, ADL had retweeted an op-edthat JTA ran and that was signed by pro-Israel student groups at the University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Maryland and George Washington University. The Op-Ed was initiated by University of Michigan students.

The Op-Ed said Canary Mission, an anonymous group, uses “intimidation tactics, is antithetical to our democratic and Jewish values, is counterproductive to our efforts and is morally reprehensible.”

“We view much of the rhetoric employed to villainize these individuals as hateful and, in some cases, Islamophobic and racist,” the op-ed said.

The organizational signatories to the Op-Ed included Hillel student boards at three of the campuses: Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State. That put the umbrella body for Hillel, Hillel International, in an odd position; last year, the Israel on Campus Coalition, which includes Hillel International on its board, had endorsed Canary Mission’s tactics, as reported then by the Forward.

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