Sunday, September 07, 2008

Luckily, He Didn't Say "Jewish Bankers"

Anti-Israel Green candidate will stay on ballot

In the immediate aftermath of Green party leader Elizabeth May's decision to allow the candidacy of Qais Ghanem to stand, one question remains on the mind of those observing the Green party during this 2008 federal election:

Why, exactly, was John Shavluk's nomination scrubbed?

We've heard the official explanation: Shavluk's apparently anti-semitic remarks were "not consistent with Green party philosophy".

Meanwhile, Ghanem -- a physicist and immigrant from Yemen -- who along with Sylvie Lemieux, Paul Maillet and Akbar Manoussi (collectively, they are known as the "Ottawa group of four"), to sponsor a resolution entitled simply "Palestine". The resolution "calls upon Israel to end its forty-year occupation of all Arab lands without preconditions."

Ghanem has caught flack within the Green party for using a Green party message board to post messages that were "one-sidedly anti-Israel".

For his own part, Ghanem insists that I do not have to record the opposite point of view to every quotation I dig up, for the sake of so-called 'balance,'. The Israeli point of view is voiced non-stop by the North American media which is controlled by a small oligarchy."

Of course, it would be hard to pretend that when Ghanem refers to a "small oligarchy", he isn't referring to media owners such as the Asper family, who own and control Canwest Global.

So long as he doesn't refer to "a small Jewish oligarchy", it would seem, he's treading on safe territory.

Apparently, Ghanem can counter-factually claim that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to be inspected despite the fact that Iran has barred nuclear inspectors from its facilities.

So long as Ghanem restrains himself from posting bizarre references to Jewish bankers online, it seems, he's safe, even if such sentiments in his comments seem only thinly veiled.

There is, of course, one other element in play: Ghanem didn't mention 9/11 in the course of his comments.

Of course, he has voiced some rather remarkable views regarding 9/11 on his campaign website:

"2001-Sept-11 The Big Event!

Hijackers were Saudis with box cutters, NONE were Afghans or Iraqis.
2001-Sept-12: (ONE day later) Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz declared that Iraq should be attacked!

Here is a list of questions that need answers:
Why was the FBI investigation of hijackers shut down?
Why were military response stand down orders issued?
Why were distracting war games set up on 9/11 of all days?
Why did building 7, not attacked at all, collapse like controlled demolition?
This is in the course of a post entitled "What are we doing in Afghanistan?"

(Interestingly, he can't quite seem to come to grips with the Taliban's harbouring of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida terrorists in Afghanistan.)

Meanwhile, Kevin Potvin wrote an editorial wherein he cheered Bin Laden's escape ("Go Osama go!"), and encouraged Vancouver-area 9/11 "truth"ers to meet with him to discuss the matter. His nomination was rejected.

John Shavluk posted a comment implicating the Americans in a terrorist attack on their own soil upon "[their] shoddily built world bank headquarters", and his nomination was turfed as well.

Meanwhile, Qais Ghanem writes a blog post endorsing the 9/11 "truth" movement and advances resolutions that deny Israel's right to exist, and somehow he's still "within [Green] party policy."

While there's clearly a strong 9/11 "truth" movement within the Green party, it may seem that Elizabeth May really isn't trying to excise that particular demon at all.

From any mainstream party, this would be shocking. Fortunately, this is the Green party we're talking about here. One thing about being a fringe party is that eventually you have to embrace fringe politics, in one way or another.


  1. Besides being Truthers, these guys have another thing in common. They all seemed to have joined the party for reasons other than a commitment to the Green philosophy. Each wanted a platform from which to promote their own particular obsession. For Ghanem, it was the Palestinian movement. For Shavluk, it was marijuana legalization. For Potvin, it was himself.

    How hard can it be to recruit actual Green candidates?

  2. That is an excellent point.

    I would daresay that any green candidate who's serious about being elected probably runs for the Liberals or NDP.

    The Conservatives, meanwhile, honestly overlook the importance of the environmental issue, particularly to their party. After all, there is something inherently conservative (in a philosophical sense) about environmentalism.

    Not that the Clean Air Act wasn't a good environmental policy -- it was. But I can't help but feel, all these months later, that it was treated in a somewhat cynical fashion not only by the Opposition parties, but also by the Conservatives themselves.


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