Pro-Israel donor Adam Milstein denies report that he funds Canary Mission
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Pro-Israel donor Adam Milstein denies report that he funds Canary Mission

(JTA) — Real-estate investor Adam Milstein denied a report that he is a funder of Canary Mission, an anonymous website that aims to name and shame anti-Israel activists.

Milstein’s charity, the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, donates to a number of groups that work on campus from a right-wing pro-Israel perspective, including Students Supporting Israel, the Amcha Initiative and the media watchdog CAMERA.

On Monday, the Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian news site, posted an excerpt of a previously un-aired Al Jazeera report saying Milstein funds Canary Mission as well.

Canary Mission “documents individuals and organizations that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses,” according to its “About us” page. Critics have accused it of seeking to intimidate pro-Palestinian college students and stifle their activism with the threat of a blacklist.

According to the Forward, Israeli border control officers have used information from the site to bar activists from entering the country. The site does not reveal who funds it or manages its activity.

In the video, Eric Gallagher, at the time an employee of The Israel Project, another group Milstein supports, names Milstein as Canary Mission’s funder. Gallagher is speaking to an undercover Al Jazeera reporter named “Tony” who was posing as an intern with The Israel Project. Gallagher tells “Tony” that Milstein spoke with him on the phone about starting a “name-and-shame” effort, and solicited his feedback.

“So, Adam Milstein funds The Israel Project and he’s funding the Canary Mission website?” Tony asks.

“Yeah, which is interesting because it makes us seem as though we’re a part of it, but we’re not,” Gallagher responds, referring to The Israel Project.

In a statement to JTA, a spokesman for Milstein denied that he funds Canary Mission and challenged the Electronic Intifada’s credibility.

“Neither Adam Milstein nor the Milstein Family Foundation are funders of Canary Mission,” the statement said. “Electronic Intifada is an anti-Semitic propaganda website known for spreading vile lies about Israel and anyone who supports it. Thus, it is no surprise that this propaganda website has decided to publish these categorically false allegations, which were captured on hidden camera by a spy sent to secretly record Americans by Al Jazeera.”

Later in the video, “Tony” records Milstein allegedly saying that anti-Israel activists should be exposed. Milstein does not mention Canary Mission or refer explicitly to anti-Israel activity in the recording.

“First of all, investigate who they are,” Milstein says. “What’s their agenda? … We need to expose what they really are, and we need to expose the fact that they are anti-everything we believe in.”

On Monday, Milstein shared a video produced by writer Orit Arfa in which she spoke about what she described as “the Nuremberg Laws 2.018.”

Comparing the social stigma some conservatives say they feel among liberals to the Nazi’s infamous Nuremberg Race Laws which deprived German Jews of their citizenship and civil rights, Arfa claimed that among the groups being persecuted in 2018 are Trump voters, “legitimate nationalist parties” such as Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland and Hungary’s Fidesz, “Zionists, Critics of Islam, climate change deniers, capitalists, Christian evangelicals and white people.”

While supportive of Israel, Alternative für Deutschland members have also expressed deeply anti-Semitic ideas. In June, one of the party’s leaders stated that the Nazi era was a “speck of bird poop” in Germany’s history.

“This video presents who are the targets of the Nuremberg Laws 2.018, the new ‘Jews,’ and what kind of persecutions they employ,” Milstein wrote in his post sharing the video. “You know you’ve been a victim if you’ve been slandered for your political views, socially ostracized, censored and much worse. The hatred people have for the new ‘Jews’ is often so blind and irrational, that it’s not surprising they would use physical force against them.”