Ontario Green Party’s Nafeesa Alibhai Quits Over Party’s Reference to Rising Antisemitism
Ontario Green Party contender Nafeesa Alibhai has quit the party because they released a statement denouncing an increase in antisemitic acts, based on an audit by B’nai Brith.
Voters in Ontario’s Davenport riding in Toronto no longer have a Green Party candidate to back in next month’s provincial election after contender Nafeesa Alibhai quit over a recent statement from the Ontario Greens that cites research by a pro-Israel organization.
Mike Schreiner, the party’s leader and the only member in the last provincial legislature, responded in an April 28 statement to a report by B’nai Brith Canada, which describes itself as “a staunch defender of the State of Israel.” The report found there was a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the country last year.
B’nai Brith Canada has previously been criticized for its methods. Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) researched the organization’s audits in 2021 and found its approach lacks transparency and relies on a definition that “purposefully conflates anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel and Zionism.”
IJV says anti-Semitism is a serious issue that needs to be fought but that it is also being weaponized by pro-Israel groups in order to silence Palestinians and their allies.
Alibhai’s Twitter thread included screenshots of email correspondence between themself and unknown others in the party, including a message from Tuesday in which they ask for the reference to B’nai Brith’s report to be pulled with an apology and explanation.
The last note from the party indicates it did not expect to reach an agreement with Alibhai.
This is what Alibhai tweeted:
An examination of the correspondence she included reveals the extent of the vileness of her objections:
Note how the reference to the “Zionist” B’nai Brith was not her only objection, and their willingness to remove reference to that organization did not placate her – she also objected to the reference to an “increase” in disturbing antisemitic acts. The idea of promoting the idea that Jews are under increased attack is an anathema to her.
She references a number of “reports”. One if from CJPME, a group that is itself beset by allegations of antisemitism. The other is from Independent Jewish Voices Canada which, besides accusing the B’nai Brith of conflating antisemitism with anti-Zionism, also makes a number of vile points unrelated to Israel, such as objecting to the idea that Jews are the most targeted group or ‘experience the kinds of systemic discrimination at the hands of civil authorities that would discourage them from reporting antisemitic hate crimes’:
Moreover, B’nai Brith’s claim that Jews are the most targeted group in Canada fails to take
into account that racialized and marginalized groups are much less likely to report incidents
of hate and harassment (pg 2).
Jews, on the other hand, tend to report discrimination at much higher rates than do other groups. There are likely three reasons for this: 1) there are dedicated and easily accessible community based mechanisms for reporting antisemitic incidents, 2) Jewish organizations like B’nai Brith actively educate, encourage and solicit community members to report incidents and 3) most Jews do not experience the kinds of systemic discrimination at the hands of civil authorities that would discourage them from reporting antisemitic hate crimes (pg 11)
When making claims about antisemitism, it must be acknowledged is that there is almost no evidence that systemic anti-Jewish discrimination and hatred, a well documented feature of Canadian history, continues to operate in any significant way today (pg 12)
There is something very Linda Sarsour-ish about how they define and treat antisemitism, which can be summed up in this paragraph:
Given this contrast, it’s impossible not to recall the author and antiracist icon James Baldwin’s comment of over a half century ago: “One does not wish, in short, to be told by an American Jew that his suffering is as great as the American Negro’s suffering. It isn’t, and one knows that it isn’t from the very tone in which he assures you that it is” (pg 12)
It also dismisses the idea of antisemitism on the Left being a real threat while at the same time blaming it on Jews having ‘white privilege’ when it comes to having their oppression recognized! You cannot make this stuff up (although they did):
To be sure, this obsessive focus on anti-Israel incidents and their constitution as antisemitism deflects attention from the real threats to Jews in Canada which, as in the U.S., appear to be emanating mostly from the white supremacist right. However, what is also disturbing is the divide that is created between Jews and other victims of racial hatred. The B’nai Brith Audit portrays antisemitism as an exceptional and perhaps decisive form of hatred, thus unfailingly signalling a hierarchy of oppressions in which Jewish suffering trumps that of other groups. Recalling James Baldwin’s observation quoted earlier, one can only imagine the ill-will generated by this claim. (pg 15)
The “report” also objects to online hate directed at Jews counting as antisemitic incidents:
Over ninety percent of the antisemitic incidents reported in the B’nai Brith Audit were defined as harassment and 83.2% of these occurred online. All told, of the 2,011 incidents of antisemitic harassment logged by B’nai Brith, 1,809 occurred online. As University of Toronto sociologist Robert Brym reports in his recent article examining B’nai Brith’s antisemitism statistics, “a single tweet reported to B’nai Brith Canada and identified as antisemitic counts as an incident.” One only needs to think about how many tweets appear in a typical Twitter thread or conversation to understand the impact of this methodological strategy on the total number of reported incidents (pg 9).
Note also how while trying to narrow the definition of antisemitic hate crimes, Alibhai widens the definition of “Islamophobia” to include “unequivocal defense of Israel.”
Ironically, Nafeesa Alibhai’s vile stance on antisemitism operates as a good indicator as to how antisemitism and anti-Zionism are invariably the same thing.