Ontario premier calls for resignation of Hamilton MPP in wake of divisive remarks on Israeli-Hamas conflict


Published October 11, 2023 at 1:43 pm

Israel Hamas Palestinians Palestine Air Canada flights
Fire and smoke rise following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Sunday, Oct. 8. HATEM MOUSSA/THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has called on a Hamilton MPP to resign in the wake of Sarah Jama’s social media statement about the Israeli-Hamas conflict, remarks that others have said were “anti-Semitic” and failed to mention the Hamas terrorists’ surprise massacre of civilians in Israel over the weekend.

Ford’s statement today (Oct. 11) on X, formerly Twitter, joins the growing backlash against Hamilton Centre MPP Jama, whose statement posted on X on Tuesday pushed to end “all occupation of Palestinian land”  and “apartheid.”

Ford said Jama’s views “have no place” in the legislature or province.

“Sarah Jama has a long and well-documented history of antisemitism. Marit Stiles and the Ontario NDP have proven time and time again that they tolerate these hateful views and actions by keeping Ms. Jama in their caucus,” he wrote. “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. 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.”

In response to Jama’s post last night, Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles asked Jama to remove her controversial social media post on the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

“This statement does not reflect our Party’s position, which is articulated in our federal party’s statement,” she said in a statement to media Tuesday night. “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.” 

Although Jama still didn’t remove her post, she apologized and issued a statement on X after 3:30 p.m. that she stands by her party and believes that “violence against civilians is never justified, and that there is no military solution to this conflict.”

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

Jama had previously wrote Tuesday 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 X post yesterday (Oct. 10).

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.” 

She said apartheid is happening in real time “through the continued violation of human rights in Gaza through the use of white phosphorus chemicals, the withholding of access to food, fuel, electricity and water, and the destruction of the only exit from Gaza that isn’t controlled by the State of Israel (the Rafah border).”

Jama urged for “an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation” of the conflict.

“For 75 years, violence and retaliation rooted in settler colonialism have taken the lives of far too many innocent people,” she wrote. “We must look to the solution to this endless cycle of death and destruction: end all occupation of Palestinian land and end apartheid. Canada must hold true to its history of peacemaking, and refrain from military intervention. My heart genuinely goes out to all those impacted by this on-going violence.”

Hamilton Centre MPP Sarah Jama

Hamilton Centre MPP Sarah Jama

Jama received backlash on social media for her post, including those who accused her of being anti-Semitic.

“We have an MPP in Hamilton Centre (Sarah Jama) with a history of blatant antisemitism and some radical leftists on council,” wrote Victoria Mancinelli, director of public relations, communications, marketing and strategic partnerships for labour union LiUNA, on X. “Their silence has been deafening. They are few, but they are there. It’s appalling and it’s dangerous. They are the very same who are the first to call for “no hate no violence” yet here they are spreading hate and violence and doubling down on their justification of terrorism. Her recent, carefully calculated statement is disgustingly disappointing but not surprising. Shameful representation in our city.”

Hamas, whose Arabic acronym stands for “Islamic Resistance Movement,” 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 over the weekend with what’s been called its largest attack in years, reportedly killing at least 250 and wounding over 1,500 in southern Israel. 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.

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