On March 23, 2023, the Hamilton Spectator published a letter which made false charges against Ontario MPP Sarah Jama and Palestine solidarity activists, and reproduced anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian bigotry. CJPME contacted the newspaper requesting that they retract the letter and remove an offensive quote from the subheading of the page. While the Hamilton Spectator declined to remove the letter, on March 30 they published an edited version of CJPME’s response, which reads:
Regarding ‘Jama and Stiles must go’ (March 23): The letter makes a false assertion that student groups in support of Palestine, as well as the Palestinian-led movement to boycott Israel (BDS), are seeking “the extermination of the state of Israel” and to “annihilate Jews living there.” To conflate a movement for Palestinian rights with violence against Jewish people is not only false and ignorant, it is cruel and defamatory.
The letter makes a false charge that Palestinian activists and slogans, including the BDS movement, are “Islamist.” However, most Palestinian movements (including BDS) are secular and encompass both Muslim and Christian Palestinians. The author is using the term “Islamist” solely to try to paint Jama and the Palestinian solidarity movement in a negative light, perpetuating anti-Islam and anti-Palestinian sentiment.
Further, describing Jama as “Islamist” to paint her in a negative light, whether because of her Muslim faith or because of her support for Palestinians, is straightforward anti-Muslim bigotry.