FAQ - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are anti-Zionism, anti-Israelism, antisemitism, and Zionophobia?
Virulent, obsessive, disproportionate and overly broad criticism of Israel is a new form of antisemitism where Israel, the only Jewish state in the world, takes on the role of a collective Jew. This contemporary form of antisemitism is also known by its other terms "anti-Zionism", "anti-Israelism" and most recently the all-encompassing term "Zionophobia."
These terms are used interchangeably on this website.
Why is it especially important to push back anti-Israelism at Columbia University?
We believe that Columbia University is one of key schools where anti-Israel activism crosses into anti-Semitism.
In 2017 Columbia was named one of the top worst colleges for Jewish students. While such ranking may be controversial and are sometimes disputed--often by groups and individuals with ulterior motives--it is not the only indicator. The presence of a relatively large number of virulently anti-Israel faculty, especially in such departments as MESAAS and Center for Palestinian Studies that seem to churn out propaganda instead of scholarship is another factor. It should be noted that many professors of CPS have robust Canary Mission profiles (for example professor Rashid Khalidi who likened Jews to vermin). The amount of virulent anti-Israel activities emanating from Columbia is hard to overstate. A long list of various anti-Israel activities and extensive media coverage is available on this website. Furthermore, Columbia has been named in multiple studies on anti-Semitism on campus (this and this) going back a number of years.
Of course Columbia is not the only university engaged in virulent anti-Israelism (a term coined by Andrew Pessin in his excellent book "Anti-Zionism on Campus"). There are other universities with large amount of such activities, particularly in California (Berkeley, UCLA, SFSU that was sued, etc.). However, as a highly visible and prestigious Ivy League school with a large Jewish student population, located in the heart of the largest Jewish community in the US, anti-Semitism at Columbia is of particular concern. Therefore, Columbia has particular responsibility to fight it and failure to do so has disproportionate significance.
Why build an entire website instead of using social media platforms like Facebook?
There are a few other reasons for the website.
Structure: The website allows us to organize information in a complex structure not be possible with a blog or a social media news feed .
Control: The website is under our control. It is not subject to capricious policies and arbitrary biases of social media platforms.
Privacy: We have control over our privacy policies. The data provided to us (such as members email addresses) is not available to social platforms.
Features: The website allows us to alert our subscribers by email. This is useful as many people are not frequent users of social media.
Doesn't Canary Mission do the same thing?
Canary Mission is a very effective organization but its focus and approach are different:
Canary Mission provides information on everyone engaged in anti-Semitic or virulently anti-Israel activities. We are laser focused on Columbia University and Barnard College only. Thus we can cover them in much greater depth. We also have inside knowledge of the schools and contacts with student, faculty, alumni, donors, parents/grandparents and within the local (New York City metropolitan area) community.
Canary Mission provides information mostly about what specific people said or did. We do this to for those affiliated with Columbia University and Barnard College. However, in addition, we provide a wealth of other information about our school, including anti-Israel events, contact information for various Columbia resources, information about how Columbia is covered in the media.
Unlike Canary Mission that limits itself to cataloging and reporting the information, some of our members are actively involved in on-campus advocacy focused on fair treatment of pro-Israel voices on campus and fair discussion of topics related to Israel, especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Finally, the purposes of Canary Mission and CU-Monitor differ. Canary Mission's raison d'etre is to provide information that is used by others. Our main purpose is to press the university administration for changes on campus. The information provided by this website is just on of the tools in our toolkit. This is why, unlike the Canary Mission, we are not hiding behind the cloak of secrecy as anonymity is not a viable tactic for advocacy and for effecting change, which is our ultimate goal. While we do not advertise ourselves and are open to quiet behind-the-scenes diplomacy when it is effective, we do not hide behind an impenetrable cloak of anonymity.