EXCL Labour frontbench split as Kate Osamor backs Israeli boycott

Posted On: 
13th December 2017

A senior Labour frontbencher has backed the boycott of Israeli goods - just weeks after Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry condemned it.

Shadow International Aid Secretary tweeted her support of the BDS movement.
PA Images

Shadow International Development Secretary Kate Osamor 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, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, added a link to the Middle East Institute for Understanding and an explanation of the BDS campaign's objectives.

Emily Thornberry defends Israel and says anti-Semites 'will be drummed out' of the Labour party

Tom Watson: Campaign to boycott Israeli goods is 'morally wrong'

EXCL Labour MPs hit back at Kate Osamor after she accused them of 'neglecting' seats

The Labour MP for Edmonton also added the hashtags .

However, her support for the campaign is directly at odds with a speech Ms Thornberry made at a Labour Friends of Israel lunch on 28 November.

Praising the Israeli Labor party, she 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 has said the BDS movement is "morally wrong".

Addressing an LFI event last year, he said: "Those in this country who campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions seek to demonise and de-legitimise the world’s only Jewish state.

"Let me be clear. The BDS movement is morally wrong. It is failing. And it does nothing to advance the cause of peace or advance a two-state solution."

Anti-Semitism rows have dogged Labour under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

In September, Mr Corbyn faced criticism for failing to turn up at an LFI event at the party's conference in Brighton.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, also told the BBC's Newsnight that accusations of anti-Semitism were being used as a way of attacking the Labour leader.