Hamilton Centre MPP condemns terrorism and apologizes for statement on Israeli-Palestinian conflict


Published October 11, 2023 at 5:52 pm

Hamilton MPP could face censure from Queen's Park over comments on Israel- Palestine conflict
Courtesy: Sarah Jama's X profile.

Hamilton Centre MPP Sarah Jama apologized today (Oct. 11) following backlash for her social media post on the Israeli-Hamas conflict, a statement that others have criticized for being anti-Semitic and for failing to mention the Hamas terrorists’ attack on civilians in Israel over the weekend.

Jama took to X (formerly Twitter), saying she heard concerns from people about her post.

“I hear them and, above all, I understand the pain that many Jewish and Israeli Canadians, including my own constituents, must be feeling. I apologize,” Jama’s tweet read.

“To be clear, I unequivocally condemn terrorism by Hamas on thousands of Israeli civilians. I also believe that Israel’s bombardment and siege on civilians in Gaza, as was also noted by the United Nations, is wrong.”

“As a member of the Ontario NDP caucus, I stand by the position of our federal party and believe that violence against civilians is never justified and that there is no military solution to this conflict,” Jama added.

However, the statement that caused the controversy has not yet been taken down, despite calls from NDP Leader Marit Stiles asking her to do so.

“MPP Jama’s statement was not approved by our Caucus. I have asked that she retract her statement, and state clearly that she decries any violence against both Israeli and Palestinian people and that she agrees with the federal NDP’s stance,” Marit Stiles said.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford also called on the Hamilton MPP to resign, following Jama’s tweet.

“Nearly 24 hours after Ms. Jama’s disturbing statement, Ms. Stiles has yet to hold Ms. Jama accountable for publicly supporting the rape and murder of innocent Jewish people,” Premier Ford’s statement read.

“As premier, I’m doing what Ms. Stiles won’t and calling on Sarah Jama to resign immediately as a member of the Provincial Parliament.”

On Oct. 10, Jama wrote that her statement allowed her to reflect on her role as a politician “who is participating in this settler colonial system, and I ask that all politicians do the same.” She added the hashtag #FreePalastine in her tweet.

Calling for “an immediate ceasefire” to the conflict, she wrote that the generations-long occupation of Palestine is “apartheid.” She included a quote that apartheid is “a political regime intentionally prioritizing fundamental political, legal, and social rights to one group over another in the same space on the basis of racial-national-ethnic identity.”

Hamas is a militant Palestinian nationalist and Islamist movement that governs Gaza Strip and aims to replace Israel with a Palestinian state.  Hamas is classified as a terrorist group by countries such as Canada, Israel and the United States.

Hamas took the Israelis by surprise with what’s been called its largest attack in years, reportedly killing at least 250 and wounding over 1,500 in southern Israel with attacks over the weekend. Israeli retaliatory airstrikes have reportedly killed more than 1,000 people in the Gaza territory and 1,200 were killed in Israel. The gunmen also took Israeli soldiers and civilians hostage.

With files from Christl Dabu
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