08/11/2016 08:20 EDT | Updated 08/11/2016 08:59 EDT

Elizabeth May: Greens Might Revisit BDS Stance If She Stays On

An emergency meeting will be held this month.

OTTAWA — Elizabeth May says Green party members might soon be asked to reconsider their controversial support of a movement to boycott Israel — provided she herself decides to stay on as their leader.

May said there could be "a trigger to hold a special meeting of all members" for another look at a resolution that she believes does not reflect the party's genuine will.

The only other opportunities to revisit the resolution — which she firmly opposes — would be the party's next meeting in 2018 or at a leadership convention, should she opt to step down later this month, May said Wednesday.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May speaks to supporters on election night at the Victoria Conference Centre in Victoria, B.C., on October 19, 2015. (Photo: Chad Hipolito/CP)

Whatever her decision, there will be an emergency meeting of the party council to discuss next steps, likely Aug. 21 or 22, she added.

Meantime, she is off to Nova Scotia for her first real holiday of the year, giving her a chance to reflect.

"I've only been able to tell the council that I need to consider my future, that all the options are on the table, including for me stepping down."

May said she must consider what is best for herself, for the party and for the broader issue of security in the Middle East.

"I've only been able to tell the council that I need to consider my future, that all the options are on the table, including for me stepping down."

Regardless, she plans to seek re-election as a Green candidate in the next general election. "My constituency is my top priority," she said. "I am going to run again in 2019."

At the party's convention last week, members voted to express support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

Jewish groups swiftly denounced the move, which has divided the party.

May blames the resolution's passage on the process — brief statements followed by a majority vote rather than the party's time-honoured approach of a concerted effort to arrive at consensus.

Many members upset with Israel boycott

"I think many of the members — I'm getting a lot of emails — are very upset that this motion managed to go through at the convention," she said.

"I'm absolutely convinced that if we had used the normal Green party consensus-based decision-making, we would have come to a resolution with which everyone, including me, could agree."

May says she thought she had four minutes to make her case against the resolution, but her microphone was cut off before she could spell out her reasoning.

"It's a very hard one, because I respect the will of our members, but I don't think this resolution reflects the process to determine the will of our members," she said.

"For me it was like finding myself in a foreign land. It didn't feel like a Green party convention at all anymore."

'It didn't feel like a Green party convention'

The party supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that addresses the security, economic and religious concerns of both sides.

May opposes associating the party with the so-called BDS, a civil-society movement that is "widely perceived — fairly or unfairly" as anti-Semitic, she said.

"We're the Green party of Canada and we can devise our own policy."

Moreover, the debate over Israel is distracting the Greens from action on climate change, electoral reform and stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership, she said.

"We have clear priorities, and this isn't one of them."

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