Canada’s Green Party president quits after defending Israel

Cnaan Liphshiz

TORONTO (JTA) — The president of Canada’s Green Party resigned his post a week after expressing pro-Israel views.

Paul Estrin stirred controversy last week when he posted a blog entry defending Israel on the party’s website. On Tuesday night, Estrin announced his resignation after the party leader, Elizabeth May, said his position was contrary to the Green Party’s position.

“I never intended to create confusion or have any of my actions negatively impact the party,” Estrin said wrote on the party website. “Therefore, I tender my resignation, effective immediately.”

According to a report  in the Times of Israel, Estrin said that at an Aug. 5 meeting called to deal with the matter, the party’s board asked him to resign and made it clear he would be fired if he refused. On Tuesday, Julian Morelli, the party’s communications director,  rejected suggestions that Estrin was forced to resign because of his pro-Israel views.

“He resigned because of the confusion caused,” Morelli said, according to the National Post.

In his post, entitled “Why Gaza makes me sad,” Estrin Palestinians in Gaza were made to be like “sheep to the slaughter.” The post has since been removed from the party website.

“Gazan officials tell their people to be killed while they hide in bomb shelters,” Estrin wrote. “This is worse than cowardice. It is vile and ugly and they should be put to shame. Instead, it is Israel who is put to shame.”

Writing on Twitter, May said she was unaware of Estrin’s views, which “are contrary to Green Party of Canada position. We support peace. We condemn violence.”

Last Friday, Estrin posted another statement on the party website. “Some have mistaken my personal views to be the perspective of the Party and our Leader. Neither is true. I apologize for not including a disclaimer to make it clear that the views expressed are my own and not the official position of the Green Party of Canada.”