(JTA) — A private Israeli intelligence-gathering firm collected potentially damaging information on Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, according to a report in Haaretz.
The firm, Israel Cyber Shield, was gathering the intelligence for Act.IL, a pro-Israel advocacy organization, according to the report published Thursday. The goal was to use the information to persuade U.S. colleges not to invite Sarsour as a speaker on campus.
Sarsour, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, is a pro-Palestinian activist who advocates a boycott of Israel. She is a co-chair of the Women’s March, the liberal group that held large demonstrations across the country in January 2017 and again this year. She is a frequent target of right-wing pro-Israel activists.
Israel Cyber Shield is run by Eran Vasker, a former officer in the Israel Police’s international crime division. The firm compiled a dossier on Sarsour on behalf of Act.IL, which has a mobile app of the same name. The files included information on Sarsour’s parents, as well as a court case in which she was involved. It also included some widely reported information, including controversial tweets by Sarsour.
Act.IL is a project of the Israeli American Council that says its goal is to “help support Israeli-Americans become effective advocates for Israel in their communities, workplaces, on social media and on campuses.”