Black Jewish woman defeats Roger Waters’ choice candidate for Canadian party leadership

Annamie Paul from Toronto, the new Green Party of Canada leader, defeats BDS supporter who was endorsed by anti-Israel activist Roger Waters.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The Green Party of Canada announced Saturday that Annamie Paul won the party leadership race, beating out seven other candidates to take the leadership of the fringe party that has had little success to date in Canadian federal politics.

“Tonight, we have to recognize that this is a historic moment,” Paul said in her victory speech, becoming the first black Canadian and first Jewish woman to be elected leader of a major federal party in Canada.

“We as Greens, once again, are leading the way. We have done something that has never been done before in Canadian politics, and I congratulate us,” Paul said.

Born in the Toronto area to parents from the Caribbean, Paul, 47, converted to Judaism. She has been involved in politics since 1996.

In 2016, the Green Party endorsed the anti-Israel BDS campaign and only repealed that support several months later after receiving heavy criticism. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as being anti-Semitic and contrary to “Canadian values,” accusing its supporters of intimidating Jewish students on Canadian university campuses.

Her closest rival in the leadership race was lawyer and activist Dimitri Lascaris, who has repeatedly stated his support for the BDS movement and tweeted that he was “honoured to have the endorsement” of anti-Semitic musician Roger Waters, known as a rabid opponent of Israel.

According to Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, “Dimitri Lascaris has an extensive public record of support for Middle East issues as a long-time Palestine solidarity activist and BDS supporter, and he has made foreign policy a distinguishing part of his campaign.”

Paul has an uphill battle ahead of her. The Green Party has only three seats in Canada’s 338-seat parliament and Paul is standing for election in an October 26 by-election in the riding of Toronto Center, formerly held by Liberal Party Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who resigned in August.

In the 2019 federal election Paul also ran in the riding, finishing a distant fourth to Morneau with only seven percent of the vote. Mostly situated in downtown Toronto, the riding has a very small Jewish population compared to other ridings in the city.