In the first two weeks of March 2023, there was a series of articles in media outlets reporting on unfair accusations against Sarah Jama, the Ontario NDP candidate in the Hamilton Centre byelection, related to her advocacy for Palestinian human rights. Jama is a well-respected disability rights activist with a long history of speaking out for Palestinians.
In total, CJPME responded to 7 such articles and news broadcasts, including in the Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, and National Post. CJPME took issue with how they had helped to fuel the smear campaign against Jama by relying on highly contestable claims made by the pro-Israel group B’nai Brith Canada, thereby presenting activists in a one-sided and negative light. None of them provided a perspective from the Palestine solidarity movement itself nor mentioned the many civil society groups who support Jama’s activism.
As a result of our persistent advocacy, CJPME’s perspective on Jama’s Palestine activism and the smear campaign against her was incorporated into media coverage on the subject, including articles in the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, and syndicated elsewhere. The Toronto Star's coverage was also updated to include a Palestinian perspective on the meaning of a popular chant. CJPME also had a statement featured on multiple CP24 news broadcasts aired on March 16 and 17. This helped restore some balance to the otherwise skewed reporting. Jama was elected MPP on March 16. Click here to read all of our letters on this subject.
Like many, we were horrified by the unfair attacks on #hamont MPP @SarahJama_ due her courageous support for Palestinian human rights, but encouraged to see voters reject this smear. Thanks to @CP24 for including our perspective in coverage of last night’s election result. pic.twitter.com/ATE5MYlNnV— Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (@CJPME) March 17, 2023