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EXCL Jeremy Corbyn will not discipline Kate Osamor over support for Israeli goods boycott

3 min read

Kate Osamor will not be disciplined by Jeremy Corbyn after she defied Labour policy to back a boycott of Israeli goods, PoliticsHome has learned.

The Shadow International Development Secretary tweeted her support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which says it "works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians".

Ms Osamor, who is a close ally of Mr Corbyn, added a link to the Middle East Institute for Understanding and an explanation of the BDS campaign's objectives.

The Labour MP for Edmonton also added the hashtags #freedom #Justice #Equality.



But her support for the campaign is directly at odds with a speech Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry made at a Labour Friends of Israel lunch on 28 November in which she said support for a boycott of the country's goods was a form of "bigotry".

Praising the Israeli Labor party, Ms Thornberry said: "Theirs is a positive vision of how a Labor-led government can build a more peaceful, more prosperous and more progressive future both for Israel and its neighbours.

"A constant rejoinder to all those who somehow believe that opposition to the policies of an individual Israeli government can ever justify a hatred of the nation and its people, or a boycott of its products, its culture or its academics, or a denial of its right to defend itself from military assault and terror attacks. That sort of bigotry against the Israeli nation has never been justified and it never will be."

Ms Osamor's stance also puts her in conflict with deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, who said last year that the BDS movement is "morally wrong".

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn told PoliticsHome: "Labour does not support a blanket BDS policy towards Israel, and we continue to support a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine."

However, sources close to the Labour leader insisted he would not be raising the issue with Ms Osamor personally.

Meanwhile, Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan has written to Ms Osamor asking her to clarify her position.

The Enfield North MP said: "The BDS movement is morally wrong. It seeks to demonise and delegitimise the world’s only Jewish state and thus call into question its right to exist.

"BDS also does nothing to advance the cause of peace, reconciliation and coexistence. The BDS campaign undermines the work of those Israelis – including our sister party, the Israeli Labor party – who are seeking to advance a two-state solution."

She added: "As a member of the Shadow Cabinet, I would ask you to clarify that you support the party’s long-standing position, as outlined by the Shadow Foreign Secretary."

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