Labour Friends of Israel question frontbencher over BDS policy

The Labour MP for Edmonton's apparent support for BDS seems to put her at odds with her party's policy on the issue.


Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has written to a member of Labour’s shadow cabinet asking her to clarify a comment she made on social media which appeared to express support for the boycott, dvestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Kate Osamor, the Shadow International Development Secretary, quoted a tweet from the Institute of Middle East Understanding which was part of a thread calling for sanctions to be imposed on Israel.

Ms Osamor tweeted it on Saturday, along with the words “BDS movement #freedom #justice #equality".

It appears to put the Labour MP for Edmonton at odds with her party's policy on the issue.

In a speech at an LFI event last month, Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, decried “a boycott of its [Israel’s] 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.”

Joan Ryan, LFI chair, wrote to Ms Osamor saying that “as a member of the shadow cabinet, I would ask you to clarify that you support the party’s longstanding position, as outlined by the Shadow Foreign Secretary".

A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, told the Politics Home website: “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.”

Richard Angell, director of the centre-left Progress group, tweeted: “Labour should be focusing on bringing people together, brokering peace, cross-border dialogue not boycotts.

“Kate Osamor should back up her colleagues or Jeremy Corbyn should ask someone else to do her job.”

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