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MPP censured for anti-Semitic comments and kicked out of the New Democratic Party after backlash

October 2023

Re:  “MPPs should support Jama” ( Hamilton Spectator, Letters to the Editor, 21 Oct.):  What part of Hamas has no interest in negotiating do Sara Jama and letter writer D. Scott McNie not seem to understand?  This is not to disparage the average Palestinian Gaza residents who simply want to go about their day, go to work, spend time with their family, watch cat videos on You Tube, and so on, but Hamas and their supporters want nothing less than the complete destruction of Israel and the killing of every single Jew.  That is what the chant, “From the river to the sea” means.


Sara Jama is a member of the Ontario Legislature, elected in a by-election in March 2023, representing the riding of Hamilton Centre, in Hamilton, Ontario, as a member of the New Democratic Party (NDP). The 29-year-old politician is a well-known activist in Hamilton, has a “long and well-documented history of antisemitism” and “hateful views,” as pointed out by Ontario Premier Doug Ford in response to Jama’s threat of legal action for defamation. This sentiment is echoed by B’nai Brith, who charged she was a “radical anti-Israel advocate.”

On 24 October, Jama was censured by the Ontario Legislature, which would silence her in the legislature until she made an apology, and was ejected from the NDP caucus, a culmination of comments she has publicly made about the Israel-Hamas war on October 10. On the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, she called for a ceasefire and labelled Israel’s actions the “definition of apartheid,” but made no mention of the death and destruction that resulted from the Hamas terror attack. She said her heart went out to “all those impacted by this ongoing violence,” as well advocating for an “end to all occupation of Palestinian land.” 

Jama made no mention of the Hamas terrorist attack that triggered the war, or the murder of innocent civilians and hostages captured and still held by Hamas.

Jama was forced to apologize the next day, expressing regret that her post caused distress to Jewish constituents and said, “I unequivocally condemn terrorism by Hamas on thousands of Israeli civilians.” NDP leader Marit Stiles distanced the party from Jama’s initial comment and ordered her to apologize for the comment and remove it from her X profile. Jama refused to remove the post, despite her apology and condemning Hamas’ attack, but instead “pinned” it, meaning it’s permanently posted to the top of her X profile. It would appear that she isn’t really sorry at all.

So no Mr. McNie, we shouldn’t support of MPP Sarah Jama. She is a hateful bigot and an anti-Semite and doesn’t deserve the privilege of being an elected member of the Ontario Legislature.

Shame on her and shame on the residents of Hamilton Centre who voted for Jama in the by-election. I realize that Hamilton in general has an affection for the NDP, but do better next time.

To NDP leader Marit Styles: You knew the views that Jama held and yet you still signed her nomination papers, allowing her to run as a NDP candidate. As the leader of the party, you have the authority to refuse to approve any candidate, yet you let her run. The NDP has a history of anti-Israel/anti-Semitic views and your refusal to bar her as a candidate has allowed that history to continue.


The original letter that inspired this column:

MPPs should support Jama

Dear members of the provincial parliament, I urge you to speak in support of MPP Sarah Jama, Hamilton Centre, for courageously calling for an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation in the Israeli-Hamas war. I have read her statement many times. Jama writes of UN-recognized historic injustices. She speaks of unimaginable suffering of innocent Gazan civilians trapped under the Israeli government’s immoral siege and bombardment. She expresses her heartfelt concern for “all those impacted by this ongoing violence.” Premier Doug Ford’s plan to censure Jama for recognizing the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is unconscionable. Do Ontario residents prefer war over a negotiated settlement? Nothing but an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation can hope to prevent this war becoming a horrific global conflict … with no winners. Time is fast running out. Stand up, Ontario! Stand up for peace and justice.

D. Scott McNie, Hamilton

Sources: Jama booted from NDP, what does it mean for Hamilton Centre? (thespec.com), Oct. 21: Spec readers react to MPP Sarah Jama’s comments and other letters on the Israel-Hamas conflict (thespec.com), Hamilton MPP Sarah Jama threatens to sue Premier Doug Ford for defamation | CBC News, Ontario NDP candidate accused of antisemitism wins provincial byelection in Hamilton, Ont. | National Post, NDP’s ongoing anti-Semitism problem rises despite Singh’s best efforts | Toronto Sun, ctvnews.ca/politics/federal-election-2021/two-federal-ndp-candidates-resign-after-antisemitic-social-media-posts-spark-backlash-1.5586163?cache=njqqxnnujf.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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