It is worth noting that Elizabeth May testified in British Columbia’s Supreme Court yesterday on her reasons for not signing the nomination for John Shavluk in the 2008 election for the riding of Newton-North Delta. Saying that if she were given the opportunity again, she would not sign his papers, saying that comments Mr.Shavluk made online in 2006 could be construed as anti-Semitic.
“Well, it’s unfortunate that as a witness I’ve spent time in court when I have better things to do,” Elizabeth May told media. “But again, when you take a stand, you have to be prepared to follow through. And I’m being personally sued for a decision I made that I believe in.”
John Shavluk says that the comments he made on the website were only those he heard from others that he was repeating, and is suing Ms.May and the Green Party for defamation of character. “Any reasonable person that read them, including 70% of the respondents on the CBC, failed to see an anti-semitic comment.”
The story broke when local blogger Robert Jago wrote about the comments in a blog entry from September of 2008. The media picked up on the story only after Elizabeth May turned aside Mr.Shavluk’s nomination, a point which journalists like David Akin did not miss.
What’s interesting about the David Akin article is that the comment section shows that London, Ontario, blogger Robert McClelland stopped by to ask what was anti-Semitic about the comment. Mr.McClelland, author the blog “MyBlahg”, was himself involved in anti-Semitic charges when he was delisted from the blogging aggregate “Progressive Bloggers” in March of 2007 after making comments about Jews. Notorious for writing anti-Israeli posts on his blog, Mr.McClelland was involved in a discussion about anti-Semitism when a previous commenter wrote:
“When the State starts rounding up my Jewish neighbours, I’ll speak up.”
“Not me. People like Klownsella, Chernyuk and Smeagol the Jew have taught me it’s not worth getting involved. When next they come for the Jews I doubt I’ll even be able to muster up a ‘what a shame’.”
In an interview in May of 2007, long before his comments resurfaced in time for the 2008 election, British Columbia’s Public Eye Online invited John Shavluk to discuss his comments from 2006.
In the interview Mr.Shavluk said the message he wrote only referred to the characterization others had made of the World Trade Center twin towers as being a “Jewish world bank headquarters.”
The comment surrounding the controversy is here:
“hey i heard some guy in Australia knows someone who says he had something to do with your governments complicated attack on your shoddily built Jewish world bank headquarters. you know ‘the 2 towers.’ (who has the ring I wonder) better invade there too eh, oh no oil?”
Mr.Shavluk contends that he was passing along a link in which the World Trade Center was targeted precisely because conspiracy theorists believe it was a “Jewish World Bank”. In the May interview, he stresses that he doesn’t think of it as a Jewish World Bank. But in other postings from 2006, Mr.Shavluk clearly believes that there were forces at work other than the terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center, saying that eventually Americans would find out “what really happened on 911.”
Mr.Shavluk does not dispute this point of view.
But perhaps what is glossed over here is the fact that whether being quoted out of context or not, Mr.Shavluk did not seem to make a reasonable attempt to make sure readers knew that he wasn’t personally characterizing the World Trade Center as a Jewish World Bank. In fact it would appear that the would-be political candidate did not even make a reasonable attempt to avail himself of a spell checker.
As for Elizabeth May, it’s probably well and good she expunged John Shavluk from the party. But I should say that she can hardly be found innocent of fomenting and nurturing the kind of views expressed by Mr.Shavluk. After all, in a press release which remains on the Green Party website from January of 2008 says:
““The Manley Report fails to consider that the recommendation of more ISAF forces from a “Christian/Crusader” heritage will continue to fuel an insurgency that has been framed as a ‘Jihad’. This, in turn, may feed the recruitment of suicide bombers and other insurgents,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May.”
As for Elizabeth May trying to distance herself from comments made by John Shavluk which could be construed as anti-Semitic, that doesn’t change the fact that she continues to attend rallies in which people with strong anti-Israeli views are prominent, and indeed central to the themes. The same blogger who brought the attention of the media to John Shavluk, Robert Jago, released a blog entry in September of 2008 which showed Elizabeth May attending a rally in Toronto in August of 2006. If you will recall, that was the time that demonstrators showed up en masse to show their support for the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist militia who were fighting against an Israeli incursion into Lebanon to stop Hezbollah shelling of border cities.
So one is left to wonder which is more damaging to the reputation of the Green Party and their professed beliefs in condemning anti-Semitism? The obscure comment made by Mr.Shavluk in a website read by very few people? Or the leader of the Green Party attending rallies which show support for anti-Israeli groups and terrorist organizations?