Tag Archives: Noah Zatzman

Annamie Paul’s failure to confront international racism

 

Annamie Paul

Annamie Paul and her supporters are right to cite racism as a driving factor in her leadership crisis. But the Green leader’s supporters have misplaced the source of responsibility. It is Paul’s inability to view colonized peoples, notably Palestinians, as deserving of equal rights that is the source of her current troubles.

As the first Black woman federal party leader with MPs in the House of Commons, Paul has undoubtedly faced discrimination during her eight-month tenure. But Paul’s leadership of the Greens is in crisis due to her anti-Palestinian racism amidst a rebellion against Israel’s ethnic cleansing and violence.

As Israel bombed Gaza last month Paul released a horribly anti-Palestinian statement. It ran counter to the party’s democratically decided policy, which “supports only non-violent responses to violence and oppression, including economic measures such as government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes” to force Israel to comply with international law.

Unlike Paul all three Green MPs echoed the explosion of righteous outrage, criticizing Israeli “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing”. Then Green MP Jenica Atwin also explicitly disagreed with Paul’s statement. Subsequently, Paul’s senior adviser Noah Zatzman publicly denounced “appalling anti-Semitism” and “virulent anti-Jewish behavior” by Green MPs and other politicians. “We will not accept an apology after you realize what you’ve done,” he posted to Facebook. “We will work to defeat you.”

In subsequent interviews and posts Zatzman doubled down on his smears and threats against Green MPs and activists. As her senior adviser attacked much of the party, Paul remained mum regarding Zatzman’s statements. In fact, she responded to questions related to the divisions in the party by talking about anti-Semitism and despite the issue playing itself out in front of millions she has yet to distance herself from Zatzman’s wild statements.

Paul’s anti-Palestinianism is not new. When Independent Jewish Voices and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East surveyed the nine Green leadership candidates on their Middle East policy Paul received bottom marks.

And Palestinians aren’t the only colonized and racialized people that she has had a hard time seeing as deserving of equal rights. Paul backed the wealthy, Christian extremist and white supremacist coup against Bolivia’s first everindigenous President Evo Morales. As the Green’s International Affairs Critic, Paul released a statement that began by noting “a post-election audit conducted by the Organisation of American States (OAS) Electoral Observer Mission concluded that those elections were marred by serious irregularities and that the results should be annulled. Evo Morales has announced his resignation as President of Bolivia.” But Morales was forced out by soldiers and the OAS’ claims have been exposed as fraudulent.

Months later Paul stuck to her position by stating that her husband worked for the first indigenous Vice President of Bolivia, Victor Hugo Cárdenas, who became a controversial minister in the unelected post-Morales coup government. Paul’s husband, Mark Freeman, helped establish the New York based liberal imperialist International Center for Transitional Justice, which is largely funded by the Dutch Foreign Ministry, Swedish government and UN.

As leader of the Greens Paul has stoked Sinophobia as well. In February she called on Ottawa to push to move the 2022 Olympics from China and instead hold the games in the US and Canada (on unceded Indigenous lands in BC). She also called for sanctions against China.

As Green MP Paul Manly, environmentalist David Suzuki and other prominent individuals signed a statement critical of Canadian policy in Haiti, Paul has stayed quiet about Canadian imperialism in a country that delivered a major blow to racial slavery. Nor has she spoken out about Canadian mining companies pillaging African resources.

Paul previously worked as an advisor in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. She worked at the ICC at a time when the court was widely derided by Africans for only pursuing individuals from that continent, prompting stories like “Is the International Criminal Court Racist?” and “The ICC’s problem is not overt racism, it is Eurocentricism”.

Paul was posted to the ICC as part of her work for Canada’s lead purveyor of racist imperialism. She joined Global Affairs Canada out of university, working for years in Canada’s Mission to the European Union.

Her resume demonstrates rock solid support for the status quo in Canada and around the world. The problem is most Green Party members do not want the status quo. There are enough political parties working to maintain the privileges of the few against the needs of the many. Most Green Party members want serious change, not only to combat various ecological crisis, but also to create a more just world, where everyone everywhere has equal rights.

Yes, Paul should confront all forms of racism as Green party leader, including racism against Palestinians. But so far she has failed miserably on that important issue.

 

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Green Party debacle may be win for Palestine

Jenica Atwin

Score an own goal for Green Party pro-Israel extremists Noah Zatzman and Annamie Paul. Not only are they responsible for the Liberals adding an MP to their caucus, one of their own they slandered as “anti-Semitic” for labeling Israel an “apartheid” state, but also saw to it that millions of Canadians heard mention of Israeli apartheid and now understand that Israel advocates brazenly and unjustly smear those they disagree with.

On Thursday MP Jenica Atwin left the Green party to join the Liberals. She was driven out by party leader Paul and senior adviser Zatzman whose anti-Palestinian animus blinded them to political reality and the scope of support for Palestinians among Greens.

On May 11 Atwin labeled as “totally inadequate” a statement from Paul whitewashing Israel’s ethnic cleansing and violence. On Twitter Atwin added, “Forced Evictions must end! I stand with Palestine and condemn the unthinkable air strikes in Gaza. End Apartheid! #SaveSheikhJarrah.”

In response to Atwin, a statement from Green MPs Paul Manly and Elizabeth May, as well as others, Zatzman accuseda slew of political leaders, including “Green MPs”, of “appalling anti-Semitism” and “virulent anti-Jewish behaviour”. He also said “we” would work to defeat them.

It was extremely stupid and should have led to Zatzman’s immediate removal. Instead, Paul sought to ride out the kerfuffle. But Green activists refused to let the smear and threat slide. They mobilized online and my article “Crazed anti-Palestinian Green adviser must be removed” was widely read and shared. Two weeks after Zatzman’s post the CBC finally reported on the matter. Incredibly, Zatzman doubled down in his attacks on Atwin and Manly in his interview with CBC and elsewhere. With Paul’s apparent support, he told La Presse that he didn’t regret his Facebook statement and that “these two MPs [Atwin and Manly] have propagated what I consider to be anti-Semitic remarks.” He added, “I’m not trying to rule out Jenica or Paul [Manly], but the Green Party wants to become a ‘mainstream’ party and make gains and if that means it has to lose Jenica along the way for that, well, too bad.”

Immediately, more than 150 Green party members signed a public letter calling for Zatzman’s removal. Simultaneously,1,400 individuals emailed Green leaders calling on them to “remove Noah Zatzman as senior adviser”.

On Tuesday the head of the Green Party Fund, Doug Tingey, emailed some members saying that Zatzman’s contract had been terminated a few days earlier. But Zatzman denied he was removed. A Canadian Press investigation found that he was staying on as a “volunteer” adviser to Paul. In other words, the Green executive council voted to end Zatzman’s contract, but Paul effectively flouted their decision.

This is the backdrop to Atwin joining the Liberals. In a press conference alongside New Brunswick cabinet minister Dominic LeBlanc, the Liberals brought a new MP into the fold who recently called Israel an “apartheid” state for which she was labeled anti-Semitic. As the Centre for Israel Jewish Affairs, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, B’nai Brith and other Israel lobbyists began complaining about the Liberals embrace of Atwin, her messages critical of Israel were being reported to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Canadians. On Thursday Atwin told the media she stands by her previous criticism of Israel.

At a hastily organized Thursday press conference Paul was grilled for 40 minutes on Atwin’s defection. A half dozen of the country’s leading reporters discussed Zatzman’s charges of anti-Semitism in an incredulous tone and mentioned Israeli apartheid. Paul refused to answer when directly asked whether she “condones or condemns” Zatzman’s statement.

Throughout the press conference and subsequent interviews Paul repeatedly denied that Zatzman’s comments played any role in Atwin leaving the party. But Atwin suggested differently and Elizabeth May and Paul Manly made it clear that Zatzman was responsible. The two Green MPs released a joint statement Thursday afternoon noting, “unfortunately, the attack against Ms. Atwin by the Green Party leader’s chief spokesperson on May 14 created the conditions that led to this crisis. We have no intention of leaving the Green Party.”

Of course, the move by the Liberals to welcome Atwin into the fold was cynically electoral, but fascinating nonetheless. Generally, the Liberals govern from the right and run their election campaigns from the left, so it is smart strategy to embrace an MP identified with fighting for indigenous rights and the climate just prior to a probable election. In his statement Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “with her tireless and effective advocacy on priorities like climate action, mental health, reconciliation, and making life more affordable for families, Jenica Atwin is respected by her constituents and all of her colleagues as a champion for real change.” What’s more interesting is the Liberals’ calculation regarding Atwin’s position on Palestine. Does the party believe it serves their short-term electoral strategy to bring into caucus someone now identified with the Palestinian cause? Is it possible Trudeau’s people are calculating that after the massive outpouring of pro-Palestinian sympathy in recent weeks and the prime minister’s staunch pro-Israel positions it’s good to appear open to pro-Palestinian voices (particularly after the horrific recent anti-Muslim motivated murder in London Ontario)? If that’s the case the Liberals may actually welcome the criticism of Atwin leveled by CIJA, FSWC and other Israel lobbyists.

How will the rest of this game play out? Will there be more own goals by Paul and other fanatic supporters of Israel?

Stay tuned. This saga certainly does not seem finished.

 

Please ask the Green Federal Council to hold a Non-Confidence vote through this action alert.

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Green division over Palestine could net NDP 2 MPs

Annamie Paul

Green party leader Annamie Paul is a competent, well spoken, social democratic politician. She’s also fanatically anti-Palestinian. In her devotion to the apartheid state, Paul is giving two thirds of the Green party’s parliamentary caucus every reason to join the NDP.

On May 14 Paul’s senior adviser Noah Zatzman posted a message to Facebook stating: “Shabbat shalom. I have never experienced more anti-Semitism and Jew hatred from people I thought I knew well, then I did this week. (This includes being on campus at York and Carleton in 2002-7 — not a walk in the park). The progressive and climate communities have displayed, at some points this week, overt and virulent anti-Jewish behavior.

“Appalling anti-Semitism and discrimination from a range of political actors beginning with Jagmeet Singh and Dimitri Lascaris and many Liberal, NDP and sadly Green MPs.

“We will not accept an apology after you realize what you’ve done. We will work to defeat you and bring in progressive climate champions who are antifa and pro-LGBT and pro indigenous sovereignty and Zionists!!!! Am Israel chai [The people of Israel live].”

In recent interviews with CBC, Canadian Press, iPolitics and La Presse Zatzman effectively doubled down on his smears and threats. The former adviser to Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne told La Presse that he doesn’t regret his Facebook statement and that “these two deputies have propagated what I consider to be anti-Semitic remarks.” He added, “I’m not trying to rule out [Green MPs] Jenica [Atwin] or Paul [Manly], but the Green Party wants to become a ‘mainstream’ party and make gains and if that means it has to lose Jenica along the way for that, well, too bad.”

As he’s threatened and slandered innumerable individuals, Zatzman has presented himself as the victim. Zatzman told the media that those criticizing his outrageous Facebook statement were anti-Semitic and that his parents had to delist their home address (presumably fearing Green activists).

In another attack against party members Zatzman called on “all progressives” to “stay away” from the 2,300-member Green Party of Canada Supporters Facebook group. “They are not climate activists and I doubt they are even members of the Green Party of Canada”, he wrote. “It is a group of 150 of the country’s worst anti-Semitic actors … including a few neo-Nazis. They have been digitally harassing me and many others because we are Jewish in recent days, weeks and months. We must all come together to defeat anti-Semitism!!!!”

As her senior adviser smears the party’s activists and MPs, Annamie Paul has remained mum regarding Zatzman. In fact, she’s responded to questions related to the divisions in the party by talking about anti-Semitism.

Considering the circumstances, who could begrudge Manly or Atwin for changing parties? The NDP rank and file recently adopted a decent Palestine Resolution and Jagmeet Singh has called for an arms embargo on Israel. Could the division in the Green Party net the NDP two MPs? Incredibly, that may be where things are headed.

Manly’s father was an NDP MP and he was blocked from running for that party under former pro-Israel leader Tom Mulcair due to comments Manly made when Israel detained his father as part of an effort to breach Israel’s siege of Gaza. Manly would likely gain more votes running as an NDP candidate in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

The electoral calculation may be less favourable for Atwin since the NDP hasn’t traditionally been strong in New Brunswick. But the Greens hadn’t won a seat there before Atwin’s 2019 victory.

It will be interesting to see if Manly or Atwin join the NDP in coming weeks. If they do it would have significant positive effect on Palestinian solidarity in Canada.

 

Please ask the Green leadership to remove Noah Zatzman as senior adviser through this action alert.

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Crazed anti-Palestinian Green adviser must be removed

Noah Zatzman adviser

The outpouring of Canadian support for the human rights of Palestinians has obviously unnerved some hardened Israeli nationalists. But who would have thought it could threaten the unity of the Green Party?

Party leader Annamie Paul’s senior adviser has threatened party MPs, gone against party policy and needs to be removed immediately. If Paul doesn’t remove Noah Zatzman and shift gears regarding Palestine it may spell the end of any chance she has for success as party leader.

Recently Zatzman posted a message to Facebook stating:

Shabbat shalom. I have never experienced more anti-Semitism and Jew hatred from people I thought I knew well, then I did this week. (This includes being on campus at York and Carleton in 2002-7 — not a walk in the park). The progressive and climate communities have displayed, at some points this week, overt and virulent anti-Jewish behavior.

“Appalling anti-Semitism and discrimination from a range of political actors beginning with Jagmeet Singh and Dimitri Lascaris and many Liberal, NDP and sadly Green MPs.

We will not accept an apology after you realize what you’ve done. We will work to defeat you and bring in progressive climate champions who are antifa and pro-LGBT and pro indigenous sovereignty and Zionists!!!! Am Israel chai [The people of Israel live].”

Zatzman’s statement is wild. Only hardened Israeli nationalists believe it is anti-Jewish to oppose Israel’s recent ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem, violent attacks on the Al-Aqsa mosque and killing of 63 children in Gaza. Certainly, smearing influential individuals and threatening to work to “defeat” sitting Green MPs doesn’t seem very strategic for a top adviser. Nor is it realistic to think it’s possible to create a climate and social justice coalition supportive of Israeli violence and ethnic cleansing. Whatever Zatzman may believe, there is a strong correlation between those who organize or attend climate or indigenous rights protests and those outraged at Israel’s actions.

But Zatzman has been shaped by intense Israeli nationalist institutional indoctrination. He graduated from Toronto’s TanenbaumCHAT high school, which organizes fundraisers for Israeli military initiatives and holds regular “IDF days.”He was also tied to Hillel and part of the Birthright Israel Alumni Community. Birthright offers young Jews free trips to Israel in the hopes of engendering Zionism and deterring them from marrying non-Jews.

Zatzman’s statement reflects deep-seated anti-Palestinianism and could cost Paul greatly. Already the Green party leader is in a battle with former leader Elizabeth May over party resources. Last month the manager of Paul’s unsuccessful Toronto Centre by-election, Sean Yo, implied the people around May were anti-Black and anti-Jewish in a story the Toronto Star headlined “Senior Green officials are sabotaging the first Black woman to lead a Canadian political party, ‘disgusted’ insiders say”. Since then, there have been a series of other leaks designed to embarrass May and her supporters. It seems foolhardy to simultaneously fight with May, threaten to defeat sitting Green MPs and battle members over Palestine.

After refusing to make a declaration for days Paul has released two statements on Israel’s recent violence. They are as bad or worse than what the Trudeau government has said. But all three Green MPs have released statements critical of Israeli actions and many members are angry Paul is ignoring official party policy, which is pretty good on Palestinian rights. In response to an action alert tweet titled “Write Annamie Paul and ask her where she stands on Palestine”, Green MP Jenica Atwin wrote, “I stand with Palestine! There are no two sides to this conflict, only human rights abuses! EndApartheid.”

It is unlikely that many Greens support Paul’s position on Palestine. Even fewer likely support Zatzman’s wild statement. Some pro-Palestinian NDP activists, bolstered by that party’s recent call for an arms embargo on Israel, have turned Zatzman’s statement into an opportunity to embarrass the Greens.

If Paul doesn’t immediately remove Zatzman it suggests she’s more committed to Israel’s ethnic cleansing and war crimes than her own career.

On Friday, May 21 at 7pm Yves Engler will be speaking at a Canadian Foreign Policy Institute event on “The Innumerable Ways Canada Supports Israeli Apartheid”

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