Toronto (March 15, 2023) – Today, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) met with recently elected Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles for a frank discussion on antisemitism linked to her party’s candidate in tomorrow’s Hamilton Centre byelection, Sarah Jama.
During the meeting, FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt brought up two incidents involving Jama that have sparked anger and concerns in the Jewish community. He expressed disappointment over the failure of the Ontario NDP leadership and Jama to publicly acknowledge the harm done, apologize and communicate a commitment to confront antisemitism within party ranks despite this being but the latest in a spate of antisemitic incidents in the party in recent years.
In a tweet posted in May 2021, prior to her MPP candidacy, Jama stated she had cancelled her contract to speak at a Halifax-based disability rights organization called reachAbility after learning its “CEO is defending the Israeli occupation.” FSWC has since spoken with the reachAbility CEO, who firmly denied having ever made such a statement.
Jama has since deleted the tweet but screenshots of it and other disturbing activity emerged on social media last week.
Earlier this week, a 2021 video shared on Twitter shows Jama at an anti-Israel gathering spouting absurd, baseless conspiracy theories about Hamilton Police, claiming they’re “protecting Nazism,” and Israel, saying “it’s not true” when people say “it’s fine that Israel is illegitimate because Netanyahu isn’t there… because the same people will continue to fund the killing of people here, locally, and globally.”
“To publicly boycott Jewish Canadians for having a connection to or showing support for Israel is a form of antisemitism and utterly unacceptable, as are the wild conspiratorial accusations Jama is peddling in the disturbing video,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “Claims by the NDP that it stands against antisemitism must be more than just words. The decision by both Stiles and Jama to stay silent publicly on these important issues is deafening and sends a clear message to the Jewish community.”
In today’s meeting with Stiles, FSWC proposed a constructive road forward and stressed the importance of tackling Jew-hatred head-on, offering antisemitism education to the Ontario NDP in the aftermath of this latest controversy.