Hamilton-Centre MPP Sarah Jama was kicked from the NDP caucus for refusing to retract statements she had made expressing anti-Israel sympathies including denouncing Israel as an “apartheid regime” and claiming that it’s committing “atrocities” in the Gaza strip. 

Jama refused to retract a statement she had made on October 10, accusing Israel of practising “apartheid,” and participating in so-called “settler colonialism” while ignoring Hamas’ attack against Israel that killed upwards of 1,400 Israeli civilians. 

Ontario’s Legislative Assembly voted to censure Jama and strip her of her privilege to be called upon by the House Speaker, calling her statements “antisemitic,” “discriminatory,” and in defence of Hamas terrorists.

Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles issued a statement saying that she and Jama had originally reached an agreement to keep her in the caucus under the condition that she work in good faith with the NDP caucus with “no surprises.” 

However, Stiles says that Jama had operated independently to undermine the NDP’s collective work and had contributed to an unsafe work environment for some NDP staff. 

“Our caucus and staff have made significant efforts to support her during an undoubtedly difficult time,” says Stiles.

“Since then, she has undertaken a number of unilateral actions that have undermined our collective work and broken the trust of her colleagues. Some of Ms. Jama’s actions have contributed to unsafe work environments for staff.” 

Jama doubled down on her anti-Israel comments in the Legislative Assembly, as the House was debating a motion to censure the Hamilton-Centre MPP. She claimed that Israel had begun a “horrible siege” against Palestinians, and that Israeli forces were killing Palestinians as a form of “collective punishment.”

“Since I made this statement, Israel has only escalated its assault on millions of Gazans,” said Jama. 

“The unspeakable destruction continues and represents collective punishment against all Gazans in retaliation for attacks by Hamas.”

Jama went on to condemn Premier Doug Ford’s government for their motion to censure Jama and for refusing to speak on “atrocities” committed by Israel.

“The Ford government has done nothing meaningful to say about these atrocities and has now targeted me to distract from its own scandals, and those of us committed to Palestinian life refused to be distracted,” said Jama.

Last week, Jama threatened to sue Premier Ford for libel after Ford accused Jama of having a “history of antisemitism.” Jama’s lawyer claims that Premier Ford’s claims sought “to do serious harm to Ms. Jama’s reputation.”

The Legislative Assembly voted to censure Jama and strip her of her privileges to be called upon by the House Speaker until Jama retracts her “antisemitic” statements and makes an apology in the House.

The NDP voted against censuring Jama, calling the motion “an extreme step that will disenfranchise the voters of Hamilton Centre.” 

The NDP had previously abstained from a motion in the legislature expressing support for Israel’s right to defend themselves and condemning Hamas.