Anti-‘Extremism’ Reporter Defends Pro-Hamas Extremists on Campus from Canary Mission

Beware reporters who cover “extremism.” That is easily defined as “right-wing extremism.” For example, USA Today “extremism” reporter Will Carless was an enthusiastic promoter of the “Sedition Hunters” who were identifying January 6 rioters for prosecution by the Biden Justice Department. He channeled their frustration that more of them weren’t being prosecuted. 

Now compare that to the front page of USA Today for July 5-7. The headline was “Under-the-radar website shares names, profiles of students protesting Gaza war.” Carless wrote a big story railing against Canary Mission, a website that chronicles pro-Hamas activists, people who eagerly chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free.” That’s quite an insurrection against Israel.

Nobody’s talking about prosecuting the radical protesters and professors that are mentioned in this article. They’re complaining that maybe they’ll have trouble getting jobs after being identified online as an extremist. 

The article began: 

In March, as campus protests against the war in Gaza were surging nationwide, Will Mleczko joined a hunger strike. 

The 20-year-old sophomore at the University of South Florida said he participated in the strike to get the university to stop investing in companies connected to the war in Gaza. Ultimately,  the university took no action. 

The hunger strike lasted 17 days. Shortly after it ended, Mleczko’s name and photo appeared on a new web page about him. It described his hunger strike and said he “spread hatred of Israel… in the wake of Hamas terror atrocities.” 

That page is one of thousands like it published on a site called Canary Mission. Its stated goal is to document “individuals and organizations that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses and beyond.” 

So let’s take a look at what Canary Mission posted about Mleczko: 

Mleczko explained [slide 2] why he was fasting in an earlier Instagram post from USF Hunger Strike for Palestine. He wrote: “I am hunger striking in solidarity of [sic] the Palestinian cause and for USF to completely divest from weapons manufacturers and friends of the genocidal Israeli state

On March 18, 2024, the day the hunger strike began, Mleczko spoke  at a USF Board of Trustees meeting, where he said: “Your…investments are already political when you invest in a genocide.”

Mleczko continued  addressing the board: “There’s immense blood on your hands…there’s complicity on your hands…We all know you don’t give a f**k about students here at USF!”

So when you accuse Israel of “genocide” and “immense blood,” how it is inaccurate to say Mleczko “spread hatred of Israel”? 

To get a sense of the Carless chronicle, just check out the bold subheads sympathizing with the left-wing extremists: 

‘I get hundreds of death threats’

Job prospects in jeopardy?

Elements of a blacklist

Many activists stand firm

Naturally, Carless then went looking for “experts” to affirm his left-wing thesis: 

Experts told USA TODAY that students listed on the website have reason to worry about their prospects. 

L. Ali Khan, a law professor at the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas, who published a commentary about Canary Mission in Jurist news last November, noted tenured professors are insulated from harm to their reputations, but not students.  

“If you’re a student, you are much more vulnerable,” he said. “If somehow you get on this Canary Mission list, now there is a presumption that you are mongering hatred … and that’s scary.”

Students also have to deal with the psychological fallout of being labeled hateful or antisemitic, Khan said. 

“I think the sponsors of this website, they know all this,” Khan said. “It hits your emotional integrity − your intellectual integrity. You begin to feel less than you were before you were labeled as a hater.” 

In short, leftists can stand being accurately quoted saying hateful things. Click on the link to Khan’s article, and you can tell who’s interested in “blacklisting.” Khan called Canary Mission a “criminal enterprise” that should be banned from the internet: 

Concrete corrective steps must be taken to shut down criminal enterprises that play with American professors’ lives, liberty, employment, tenure, and professional integrity.

The hosting service must bring down the Canary Mission website for its intimidation and harassment of professors, many new to the academy and many belonging to vulnerable minorities.

Memo to Will Carless: doesn’t that sound like….EXTREMISM?

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