Fake website targets Palestine activists

Activists are being warned not to give their information to a website claiming to sell T-shirts and merchandise for the upcoming National Students for Justice in Palestine conference.

National SJP said that a website and Twitter account using its name were not affiliated with the organization, and warned students not to enter their information into the fake website.

National SJP suggested that the phishing effort could be related to Canary Mission, a website linked to anti-Muslim demagogue Daniel Pipes that aims to tarnish the reputations of student activists and compromise their future professional careers.

Impersonation

Organizers fear the T-shirt selling website could be an effort to collect the names and other personal information of participants and supporters of National Students for Justice in Palestine, which will hold its annual conference at the University of Houston later this month.

The creators of websites aimed at tarnishing and intimidating Palestine solidarity activists have gone to great lengths to hide their identities. Such websites have also previously used impersonation and fakery in an attempt to fool activists.

Last year, The Electronic Intifada exposed Sawtona, an online presence evidently created by Israel supporters falsely claiming to be Palestinians who oppose the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

The Electronic Intifada also reported on a network of websites that used fabricated personas in an effort to smear students and a professor in Indiana who support Palestinian rights.

Collecting names of Jewish students

Student organizers have long been the targets of Israel and its surrogates in their efforts to suppress the Palestine solidarity movement.

Separately, it emerged this week that the Israeli government was planning to create a database of all Jewish students in US universities to facilitate its “outreach.”

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israel postponed the plan after objections from Hillel International, a lobby group that works closely with the Israeli government to spread pro-Israel messages on US campuses.

This summer, Alissa Wise, a Jewish Voice for Peace rabbi who was denied boarding on a flight to Israel because of her support for Palestinian rights, said there was evidence Israel spied on the group she was traveling with.

Wise said she believed Israel had surveilled the email of organizers of an interfaith solidarity delegation.

Last month, a right-wing Israeli group admitted that some of its members had “infiltrated” a protest camp in the occupied West Bank posing as human rights workers in order to spy on Jewish activists who were there to support Palestinian rights.

In 2014, The Electronic Intifada revealed secret documents from right-wing Zionist group the Amcha Initiative which showed it had infiltrated a California student delegation to Palestine two years prior.

The emergence of a website impersonating National Students for Justice in Palestine indicates that efforts to spy on and sabotage the work of Palestinian rights supporters are ongoing. All activists should take reasonable precautions to protect their digital security.

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It is hardly surprising that Israel would go to such lengths to tarnish students and other activists. In a sense, the State of Israel is a massive conjuring trick or illusion. Look quickly and it may appear to be a 'Jewish Homeland'. If one looks deeper, one begins to see an apartheid state built upon a stolen and ethnically cleansed Palestine, that continues to practice apartheid on a daily basis. These are facts, and the Zionists fear facts they do not control. What other country worries about being 'deligitimised', after all? Only countries that lack any true legitimacy need fear a closer look at their bona fides. For decades the Zionists utterly controlled the narrative, through lies and threats and a very compliant western media. That this landscape has begun to shift is a disaster for them. BDS and other modes of truth are feared, and rightly so. They may be secure militarily, but morally, they stand naked and accused

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If you read along in this article, you'll come to the altogether remarkable yet unsurprising news that Israel is building a data base of Jews. The Zionist state will be intensifying its vilification of dissenting Jews because quite plainly, Israel is losing the young generation now in college and university. To stem these losses, they're going to make examples of Jews who refuse to toe the line. They're going to show the rest what can happen to you if you follow that route. Canary Mission is one such instrument of intimidation, albeit one which doesn't specifically focus on Jews. But we can expect the emergence of "Kapo" sites designed to smear Jews of conscience. A lot of money is being spent on these tactics, and it's hard if not impossible to get the mainstream press to acknowledge what's going on.

There was once a popular technique in painting known as "anamorphosis", which involved the carefully plotted distortion of objects in a picture. When viewed directly from the front, the canvas displayed an indecipherable smear, but if the viewer found the proper, true angle at which to regard the painting, all its details fell into place and the image as a whole became recognizable. The same applies to the smears of Israel's hasbara campaign. When seen from an informed critical perspective, the details in the picture resolve to their real proportions and a device meant to hide reality becomes the lens through which it can be discerned.

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Re: "Israel is losing the young generation now in college and university."

This is NOT true for Israel where the young generation is totally pro-Netanyahu and even more hawkish than the PM. The shift to the right is overwhelming. The same thing is happening in Europe, where Le Pen, Gert Wilders, Sweden Democrats, Austrian Freedom Party & AltforDeutchland is ascendant.

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The fact that racist views are winning out among Israeli Jews isn't exactly a revelation to people who visit this site. But that wasn't the subject of the article or my comment. The battle for opinion among Americans was the topic of discussion. And numerous Israeli officials have expressed their fears, based on real observation, that young American Jews cannot be relied on to continue backing Israel. As for the rise of neo-fascist parties in Europe, the outcome is by no means a settled matter. It's true they're gaining ground after largely being shut out since 1945. But there is widespread and steadfast opposition to these parties and policies, particularly among the young. While formal institutions of power- financial syndicates and their governmental subordinates- are pushing towards an authoritarian right wing model, the population can't be bought off by such maneuvers. LePen was trounced by a feeble technocrat named Macron. And now he too is encountering rejection by the electorate for his rightist orientation. Meanwhile in Britain, a social democrat just led the Labour Party to its best showing in many years. And he stands with the people of Palestine. His party has recently doubled in membership. His supporters come from all age groups. But overwhelmingly in the UK, the young are moving leftward. So there's plenty of hope, and plenty to fight for.

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Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.