Heading into the final weekend of the Hamilton Centre Byelection come controversy has erupted around the candidacy of NDP hopeful Sara Jama, particularly some of her past social media posts. The Bay Observer located videos posted on social media from July 2021 where Jama was addressing a pro-Palestinian rally, On the video she is seen declaring, “When Palestinians got together to take up the streets, the Palestinian organizers were targeted by the Hamilton Police…over and over and over again the Hamilton Police protect Naziism and continue to target Black, Muslims and Palestinians, saying “ we don’t have the right to push to exist.” She ended her remarks, saying, “They laugh at us when we say that Palestinians are being targeted. We know these systems are corrupt—they need to fall. Disarm, dismantle, abolish the police and make sure that we continue to gather here…”
The Bnai Brith of Canada issued a statement asking NDP leader Marit Stiles to withdraw Jama’s candidacy based on her past anti-Israel postings.
The Bay Observer contacted both the Jama campaign and leader Stiles’ office asking:
1. What is the candidate’s attitude towards the state of Israel?
2. Does she continue to believe that Hamilton Police protect Naziism?
3. Does she still believe in the abolition of police?
No answers were forthcoming from either source.
The matter, including the role of local media, was further discussed on the Bill Kelly Show Friday with Bay Observer Publisher John Best and Bill.
The original Bay Observer story can be accessed here.
It’s clear the local media have not covered this byelection objectively. There is a pall of fear speaking out against Jama – lest be accused of racism. She accuses racist behaviour without a shred of proof – as she did against Pike.
The contents of her tweets still come up in search results, but have been deleted from her account.
Does Jama not stand behind her own record? Does she regret her words that have now fallen to the “delete” button? How would she respond if another candidate deleted statements she disagrees with? I think we all know the answer.
However, anyone criticizing her is made out to be a far-right racist. Full stop.
Property owners concerned with taxation levels are also demonized. As the NDP-tied “progressives” soak them for a large increase, and the mayor runs out the back door to avoid voting on the police budget.
Is this inspiring to the people who are paying all their salaries and more? Is it fair to shackle them with shame, if they disagree?
The victim culture that Jama represents is the opposite of what Dr King preached. He can’t delete any of his words and the most powerful remain: judge not on the colour of skin, but the content of character. Hiding from your own words is a massive character fail in my books.
I am a person of colour very familiar with houselessness, disabilities, repression, and stigma. Sometimes, you have to dig deep and accept things you do not like, and work hard to inspire yourself to be part of a whole, not a divisive group. Calling everyone a victim has created a culture of victimhood and unfounded expectations. It is ridiculous not to mention unsustainable, to expect property tax payers to foot the bill for the model she wants.
I do agree with Jama on one point – support for Palestinians or criticism of the Israeli government does not equal anti-Semitism.
There are many other problems with Sarah Jama the media is afraid to highlight, not least her unwavering drive to immediately abolish all policing and prisons. It is difficult to watch her be sent to Queen’s Park.
Ontario Jewish Support for Sarah Jama
We are members of the Jewish community in Ontario. We wholeheartedly, unreservedly support Sarah Jama in the upcoming Ontario provincial bi-election for Member of Provincial Parliament for Hamilton Centre.
Sarah has been a powerful advocate for justice for all people for over a decade with a proven track record of building the capacity of communities to come together and advocate. She has worked tirelessly to change the conditions of injustice in the Hamilton area. Whether as co-founder and executive director of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario or as a co-founder of the Hamilton Encampment Support Network, Sarah has demonstrated advocacy and leadership. At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, Sarah was instrumental in creating mutual aid networks and centers crucial in helping hundreds of neighbours in Hamilton. She brings communities together to work towards building a better world – one where everyone can thrive free of ableism, racism (including anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, anti-immigrant racism), sexism, xenophobia, poverty, homophobia, transphobia, climate injustice, and all forms of oppression.
Sarah’s very substantial track record in our communities demonstrates her deep understanding of the interconnectedness and intersectionality of all oppressions. She has the experience and expertise required to serve as an effective MPP and will bring all of her experiences to representing all of the people of Hamilton Centre in the Ontario Provincial Legislature. Her ability to build community and to envision a better future for all Hamiltonians is authentic. It derives from her lived experience as well as doing the hard work of advocacy on a variety of issues with a multiplicity of communities.
We wholeheartedly and without reservation support Sarah Jama as the next MPP for Hamilton Centre. We desperately need an MPP like Sarah, who is connected to communities and connects communities. She has our vote, our confidence, and our trust. If you care about justice for all people and about building a better Hamilton and a better world, vote Sarah Jama!
Signed by 88 members of the Ontario Jewish community including 15 from Hamilton Centre (so far)
so Ontario MP Leslyn Lewis, our neighbor from next door in Haldimand–Norfolk, and MP Dean Allison from our own backyard in Glanbrook, met with the far right German politician, Christine Anderson, Member of the European Parliament and member of the far right extremist political party Alternative for Germany. parts of the party were put under surveillance as a suspected extremist group by Germany’s intelligence agency in 2021. they have a record of antisemitism. Christine Anderson is also a vocal member of PEGIDA, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West. another group being investigated by the European governments as an militant extremist hate group. The chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and at least two Canadian Jewish organizations expressed concern about the MPs having dinner with Anderson.
Whats that got to do with this local story?
The point is: Why do Cons who claim to hate HATRED so much not condemn the open hatred of the Cons. Where was their vocal mouth then? Hypocrite much???
Haldimand? local. MP Lewis ran for Conservative party leader. Glanbrook? local. and these two local Conservatives met, shook hands, and posed for a photo op with a leading member of a party that not only practices blatant antisemitism, but mocks Holocaust survivors and downplays or outright denies the Holocaust. clearly a much bigger problem than Candidate Jama speaking at a rally. some may think, myself included, if you really cared about antisemitism, or Israel, you might have sounded the alarm. but you saved your concern for Candidate Jama because……because, well. because. she spoke at a pro Palestinian rally and questions some of the actions Israel takes against Palestinians.
Congrats to Jama. We can criticize Muslim Iran, Orthodox Russia, Christian America, crazy Evangelical Brazil etc. But we cannot criticize Israel’s Apartheid antics, its killing of civilians, its land grabs, its racist laws (e.g. barring Arabs from buying land, mass arrests for Arabs but not for Jews) fearing the old anti-Semite canard. Same thing happened to brave Ilhan Omar in the US for criticizing Israel by Republican hypocrites who attack China and every Muslim country with impugnity.
Plus, as one poster here noted. The Conservative Party has reps who met with a racist Islamaphobic politician from Germany who openly supports racism and discrimination because someone is different from her ethnically and religiously and that got very little attention. Now, the Right cares about hatred. Really????
Is that what we call whataboutism?