I was very rattled upon my discovery that a Green Party "spokesperson" for Party leader Annamie Paul has himself recently spoken out against anti-Semitism in the Green Party, and has made the extraordinary claim that "political actors" across Canada, including NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, former Green Party leadership contestant Dimitri Lascaris, and "Green MPs" have engaged in acts of anti-Semitism and discrimination. You heard that right: a spokesperson for Annamie Paul, Leader of the Green Party, is accusing Green Party Members of Parliament of anti-Semitism.
|Screencap of Statement from Noah Zatzman
This seriously ups the stakes with regards to recent turmoil within the Green Party related to accusations of racism, anti-Semitism and misogyny directed at the Leader of the Party by some members of the Party's Federal Council.
Noah Zatzman, a name many Greens will not be familiar with, was hired by Paul as a senior advisor, after serving as media consultant and strategist on her campaign team, according to iPolitics (see: "Hill Movers: Green Party leader announces new team; Bennett, MacAuley changes," iPolitics, November 12, 2020). iPolitics also reports that prior to joining Paul's team, Zatzman worked as a senior advisor to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Zatzman appears to continue to occupy his position in Paul's office - or at least was firmly ensconced there as of April 21st, when he, described as a "spokesman", offered the media comment on how Green MPs would be voting on the federal budget (see: "Three confidence votes to determine fate of minority Liberal government," Red Deer Advocate, April 21 2021).
Zatzman's accusations have been floating around social media for the past few days, having apparently been originally made on May 14, 2021 via Facebook. Interestingly, at that time, the Green Party had only released this rather anodyne statement about violence in Israel and Gaza, for which the Party and Paul received significant criticism from many who claimed that the statement did not go far enough to address the reality on the ground in the Occupied Territories, or in its representation of member-approved policy on Israel/Palestine (see: "Green Party Statement on violence in Israel and Gaza," May 10, 2021).
|Green Party of Canada Statement, May 10 2021.
Shortly after this statement was released by the Party, Green MP Jenica Atwin condemned it as "totally inadequate". Atwin, and Green MPs Paul Manly and Elizabeth May, each released their own, much more foreceful statements. On May 13th, Elizabeth May raised these matters in parliament, clearly placing the blame for current violence on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu's government and "extreme elements within settler groups" (see: "Elizabeth May: Canada must speak out clearly to defend the Palestinian people," Green Party of Canada YouTube Channel, May 13 2021).
Eventually, the Green Party released a more fulsome statement on the matter (see: "Green Party of Canada reiterates call for immediate ceasefire and respect for international law," Green Party of Canada, May 16 2021). While more forceful in its call for a ceasefire, it was nevertheless condemned by many who believe the Green Party has missed the fact that the goalposts around the issue have been moved by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who has publicly called for an embargo on Canadian arms sales to Israel as a consequence of recent hostilities (see: "CJPME URGES BLOC QUÉBÉCOIS AND GREEN PARTY TO ENDORSE ARMS EMBARGO, EMERGENCY DEBATE ON ISRAEL," CJPME, May 17 2021).