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NDP loses longtime Jewish party workers, Green Party loses candidate

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Dr. Jill Andrew, PhD is running for re-election as the Green Party MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s. With a Master’ degree in gender studies, she checks every intersectional box imaginable, identifying herself by sexual orientation, colour, body shape and more. She allegedly threatened a loyal Jewish NDP supporter for speaking in favour of the party endorsing the IHRA definition of antisemitism. (Photo: 150neighbours.ca)

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A pair of Jewish members of the Ontario NDP have quit the party over allegations of unabashed antisemitism and bullying – but the Party, desperate to gain ground in election polls, is blowing off the departures. The NDP continues to stall in the polls  with only 2/3rds of the support of the front-running Progressive Conservatives.

Emma Cunningham was president of the Pickering-Uxbridge riding association, before leaving this winter after the party nominated Steve Parish to run as the candidate for Ajax, despite his having supported the naming of a street after a Nazi naval officer during his term as Mayor.

After trying and failing for two years to get the party to act on antisemitic members and then seeing Parish welcomed with open arms, it was enough to send Cunningham packing. NDP leader Andrea Horvath turfed Parish a week after his nomination but that did not sway her decision.

The Toronto Sun reported that in addition, Cunningham said “that there is a fine line between legitimate criticisms of Israel and anti-Semitism, adding that too often the NDP cross that line.”

In the other case, new allegations of angry antisemitism targeting a Jewish NDP member was revealed, with the finger pointed at MPP Jill Andrew, who is seeking re-election in Toronto-St. Paul’s.

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A former 3-time candidate in Toronto for the NDP, who requested anonymity, alleged that Andrew had berated him repeatedly for speaking in opposition to an internal policy motion for MPP’s to vote against the province adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

In a complaint to the party president, the former candidate claimed that first, “Andrew walked across the room, sat down next to me, and verbally threatened me with consequences if I should speak on the issue again.” After he had filed a formal complaint of harassment with a party officer, the man was confronted a second time:

“Andrew twice more berated me in public at council, including shouting that I was a ‘cancer’ that needed to be excised from the party.”

“I didn’t leave the party, the party left me,” said the former candidate. “The refusal of the party at its highest levels to explicitly condemn antisemitism when it occurs within the party is inexcusable.”

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The Ontario Green Party candidate in the Toronto riding of Davenport walked away from the race on May 11 after party leader Mike Schreiner stated “Ontario Greens unequivocally denounce the increase in disturbing antisemitic acts that have occurred in Canada over the past year.”

Internal emails released by Nafeesa Alibhai on Twitter showed party leadership was lectured they needed the word “increase” removed, as though the concept that last year was the most threatening ever for Jews in the GTA was somehow debatable.

But that wasn’t the only thing that irked the political neophyte.

Schreiner’s next comment had been, “I am disgusted and saddened by the findings of B’nai Brith’s annual audit of antisemitic incidents that show 2021 had the highest number of antisemitic incidents in 40 years.”

But in Alibhai’s view, B’nai Brith is “an Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian organization,” and called the statement in defence of the safety of the Jewish community by the OGP, “(the) final straw for me in an already very conflicting campaign.”

Nafeesa Alibhai walked away from being the Green Party of Ontario candidate in Davenport over the party standing with B’nai Brith Canada against antisemitism. (Screencap: Twitter) 

In an interview with Canadian Press, Alibhab confirmed their presence at the forefront of the “anti-Zionist not antisemite” crowd:

“Even if their platform is the best climate platform out of the four major parties, if they’re not going to be respectful toward Muslims or Palestinians or recognize our human rights, that’s not something I can negotiate on,” Alibhai said.

In response, the Greens campaign chair Becky Smit despite having tried to retain Alibhab as a candidate, “in the end, Nafeesa felt they could better express their opinions outside the confines of an election campaign.”

An April 28 press release “Ontario Greens stand against antisemitism”.  In response on May 11 candidate Nafeesa Alibhai exclaimed “#FreePalestine” in a tweet dropping out of the election. (Image: gpo.ca)

Meanwhile, an Ottawa election roundtable presented six Green party candidates in a webinar on May 16, for the Jewish community to quiz and evaluate.

The panel was one of four, one with each major political party, being conducted by the Jewish Federation of Ottawa and advocacy partner The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

According to a report in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, “when the candidates sought to explain how the Green Party would commit to including Jewish Ontarians’ current lived experience of antisemitism in the fight against racism, some struggled with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and revealed a lack of understanding of the criteria, which was adopted by the Ontario government in 2020.” 

“The candidates were hesitant to answer” their positions on the BDS movement, and Shelby Bertrand of Ottawa Center tried to sidestep it by claiming provincial representatives can’t really influence global affairs anyways.

Another candidate tried to position it as “Every party struggles in managing their extreme left and right.”

Seeking election in Kanata-Carleton, Pat Freel added, “But I have doubts that my position as a provincial politician will have any influence on either the redaction or continuation of the BDS policy.”

Seeking re-election as the Liberal MPP in Orleans, Stephen Blais answered a question about the BDS movement by telling a CIJA webinar, “I am alarmed by how extreme the language is getting.” (Screencap: YouTube) 

The subject of BDS was also raised at the Ottawa roundtable webinar with Liberal candidates on May 18. The issue was raised after one of the six, Katie Gibbs of Ottawa-Centre, had to depart.

Before she left she spoke to the problem of antisemitism in Ontario.

“We know antisemitism is one of the top forms of racism that we’re seeing, but in people’s minds, it’s not connected. We have about $12 million over four years to reinvest into anti-racism and, for me, I’ll make sure antisemitism is clearly part of that work.”

As for how the five remaining panelists addressed BDS sanctions against Israel, incumbents Stephen Blais of Orleans and John Fraser of Ottawa South were joined by Nepean candidate Tyler Watt in declaring they were opposed to BDS.

Blais expressed his concern that “I am alarmed by how extreme the language is getting.”

The other two candidates – Tom Dawson, running in Carleton, and Shahbaz Syed of Kanata-Carleton – declined to stake their positions.        

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca. Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragons Den.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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