More Attacks on Palestine Solidarity from Green Party Leadership

Annamie Paul’s team have once again smeared Green MPs and party members as anti-Semitic for opposing the dispossessing of Palestinians. These ongoing attacks are part of the Green leader’s broader commitment to Canadian imperialism.

Last week Paul appointed Richard Zurawski to her shadow cabinet. Three weeks earlier the new party critic for Green Recovery publicly denounced “BDS terrorists” and strongly implied Green MP Paul Manly and now former MP Jenica Atwin were anti-Semitic. On Facebook Zurawski wrote, “she [Paul] makes the hard choices Shimon, and that is why I support her. She is pushing hard against the anti-Semitic factions, like the BDS terrorist group, within the GPC [Green Party of Canada] that is using the Middle East as a wedge to isolate and spread misinformation, hijacking the GPC mandate. It is sad to see their agendas being promoted by Manly and Atwin.”

In 2016 when Green members voted for a resolution supporting the long-oppressed Palestinians, Zurawski was quoted in numerous media outlets disparaging the party. He said, “when we specifically single out Israelis, I worry about the buzzwords and subtext and code language, which is anti-Semitic.” Zurawski also told the press that the members’ democratic decision was “destructive for the party”.

Appointing Zurawski to her shadow cabinet after he called Greens “BDS terrorists,” follows on the heels of her senior adviser, Noah Zatzman, repeatedly smearing Green MPs, members and other politicians opposing Palestinian subjugation. Paul has also attacked Green members in a similar fashion. During and just after the leadership race Paul was quoted by GlobalTimes of IsraelHa’aretzJewish IndependentCanadian Jewish Record and others labeling party members as anti-Semitic. In a July 2020 Canadian Jewish Record commentary she wrote, “My loyalty to Canada has also been called into question, and I have been accused of taking bribes from Israel, leading a Zionist take-over of the Green Party of Canada and of spreading hasbarah.”

Paul’s anti-Palestinianism appears to be motivated by familial ties, religious conviction and careerism. But, it is also part of her broader imperialist worldview. As I detailed a month ago in “Annamie Paul’s failure to confront international racism”, she backed the coup against Bolivia’s first ever indigenous president Evo Morales and has stoked Sinophobia. Ten days ago Paul met Latvia’s ambassador to Canada Kārlis Eihenbaums. According to his account of the virtual get-together, “Paul stressed the importance of international organisations like NATO, the significance of Canada’s international engagements and role.” In the discussion Paul apparently endorsed Canada’s role in the nuclear armed NATO alliance and stationing 500 Canadian troops on Russia’s border as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia.

But, after an unpopular Canadian-backed tyrant was recently killed in Haiti, Paul claimed to be committed to “nonviolence”. On Wednesday Paul tweeted, “as the leader of a party committed to non-violence, I strongly condemn the assassination of Haitian President Moïse, and urge local authorities and international partners to do all they can to prioritize the protection of civilians and to prevent further casualties.” To the best of my knowledge this is Paul’s first public comment on Haiti. She was quiet when reporter Diego Charles and activist Antoinette Duclair were killed on June 29 in Port-au-Prince. She also ignored a recent Harvard Law report documenting a couple hundred killed in “brutal attacks” by government-backed gangs. Paul was also quiet about Moïse ruling by decree and his lack of constitutional legitimacy. Paul failed to raise her voice five months ago when Green MP Paul Manly, environmentalists David Suzuki and Naomi Klein, as well as Stephen Lewis, Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters, George Elliott Clarke and other prominent individuals called on Canada to “stop propping up a repressive and corrupt dictatorship in Haiti.”

In response to Paul’s tweet about Moïse a number of individuals highlighted the hypocritical nature of her message considering her indifference to Israeli violence against Palestinians. “I wish you demonstrated as much concern for the murder of Palestinians as you do for the murder of a dictator”, noted one. A more perceptive commentator noted Paul’s status quo outlook: “Why is it that every time Trudeau tweets something about global affairs, you tweet the same exact message?” A former Global Affairs Canada employee, Paul’s resume demonstrates rock solid support for the US led global order.

On July 20 the Green Party’s federal council will vote on whether to give members the opportunity to decide if Paul should continue to lead the party. The federal council should allow the members to vote. My bet is that the vast majority of Greens are fed up with attacks from Paul and her team on members who promote the Green party’s official policy on Palestine.

Yves Engler is a former junior hockey left-winger and co-author of Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Environmental Decay. Read other articles by Yves.