Take one minute to send letter to the Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP) asking them to stop succumbing to the Israel lobby. Insist the ONDP apologize to Sarah Jama and the Palestinian community, and join the human rights community in condemning Israel’s detention of Palestinians and its occupation, apartheid and colonial regime in Palestine.
On May 2, newly elected Ontario NDP MPP Sarah Jama re-tweeted Palestinian academic Noura Erakat’s statement on the death of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who had just lost his life inside an Israeli jail after 86 days of hunger strike. Adnan, 45, was on his sixth hunger strike against Israeli detention. From Arraba, Jenin, he was the husband of Randa Mousa, and the father of 9 children. Like many other statements on Adnan’s death, Erakat’s tweet concluded by honouring him as a “martyr for freedom. Free Palestine.”
After B’nai B’rith posted a picture of Jama retweeting Erakat the NDP released a “Statement regarding Hamilton Centre MPP”. It noted, “Last night, the MPP for Hamilton Centre retweeted a tweet by an American academic Noura Erakat concerning the death of Khader Adnan and later un-retweeted it. The content of the tweet does not reflect the views of MPP Jama or the Ontario NDP.”
But, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council and other human rights groups released statements similar to Erakat regarding Adnan’s death. The UN experts statement noted, “The death of Khader Adnan is a tragic testament to Israel’s cruel and inhumane detention policy and practices … The systematic practice of administrative detention is tantamount to a war crime.”
Israel is holding approximately 4,900 Palestinians in its prisons, including 1,016 in so-called administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Those who are charged — like Adnan, often with political charges like political party membership or visiting the homes of imprisoned Palestinians — face military courts with a 99.74% conviction rate. After winning his freedom from administrative detention four times due to hunger strikes, Adnan was a symbol of the struggle against administrative detention, and his detention in 2023 was an extreme example of Israel’s arbitrary power over Palestinians.
In Ha’aretz paper Gideon Levy called Adnan “a fighter for his freedom and was ready to sacrifice his life for it as only very few are willing to do. He fought against an evil, vindictive tyranny that for years threw him into prison repeatedly, without trial, in the hope of breaking his spirit… If he were Russian, Burmese, Irish or Iranian, Adnan would have been regarded as an honored freedom fighter, even by Israelis. As a Palestinian, he was regarded as a terrorist.”
The Ontario NDP must stop succumbing to pressure from B’nai B’rith. The party must apologize to Sarah Jama and the Palestinian community and join the human rights community in condemning Israel’s detention of Palestinians and its occupation, apartheid and colonial regime in Palestine.
This letter initiated by: