Ontario MPP apologizes after Israel-Gaza comment sparks calls for resignation
An Ontario NDP MPP whose statement on the Israel-Gaza war garnered condemnation from Jewish groups and calls for her resignation by Premier Doug Ford has apologized.
In a response to her controversial Tuesday post on X, formerly Twitter, Hamilton Centre MPP Sarah Jama said she had heard “many voices” who raised concerns about the views she expressed.
“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 said in a reply to the post that first triggered the backlash.
"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."
In the original post, Jama called for a ceasefire in the area of the conflict and demanded an end to what she described as the apartheid of the Palestinian people.
Jama did not address the recent surprise Hamas attack on Israel, which the Israeli military said left more than 1,000 people dead.
Following the post, Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles called on Jama to take it down and said the statement was not approved by caucus.
After Jama apologized, Stiles issued a new statement which said she had been working with the MPP to “understand the personal impact that this is having on her as someone with Palestinian family members.”
“At the same time, I have made it clear that all members of our caucus condemn Hamas’ terror attacks, and we stand in support of the federal NDP’s position in calling for an end to further bloodshed. MPP Jama has reaffirmed her commitment to this,” Stiles wrote.
Jama’s apology came after Ford called on the rookie MPP to step down following her comments.
“Her views do not represent Ontario. They have no place in the legislature, and they have no place in this province,” Ford wrote on Wednesday.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC), and B'nai Brith Canada all condemned Jama’s remarks and called for her removal from the Ontario NDP caucus.
-With reporting from CTV News Toronto Multi-Platform Writer Phil Tsekouras