OTTAWA – The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has exposed a fault line within the federal Green Party, threatening its unity as elected officials shy away from their leader and activists clash with the party’s headquarters.
This division on the Palestinian question was exposed when the deputy Jenica Atwin described as “totally inadequate”, on Twitter on May 11, a call for calm launched by the leader of the party. Annamie Paul then demanded a de-escalation and a return to dialogue. MP Atwin replied that she still stands with Palestine in calling for an end to “apartheid” in the Middle East.
Three days later, Ms. Paul’s senior advisor, Noah Zatzman, expressed his solidarity with the “Zionists” on Facebook. He accused some Green MPs of being anti-Semitic and discriminating, which sparked a backlash within the ranks of the Green Party.
The internal divide widened further for about ten days, even after the conclusion of a fragile ceasefire in the 11-day conflict, which has claimed more than 250 lives, mostly Palestinians.
During this infighting, accusations from prominent Green Party members, such as Dimitri Lascaris, a 2020 candidate for leadership, were read online. The Montreal lawyer argued that Mr. Zatzman had defamed him, as well as MP Atwin and MP Paul Manly, accusing them of anti-Semitism for denouncing what they consider to be Israeli apartheid.
Ms Paul tried to stay above the fray, saying debates within a party are healthy, but also recalled that growing reports of anti-Semitism in Canada must be tackled.