Jewish groups have branded Jeremy Corbyn’s nomination of Martha Osamor to become a peer as “a two-fingered salute” to the community.
The campaigner, who’s a Nigerian-born British civil rights campaigner, has in the past shown public support of Labour members who were suspended over anti-Semitism, including signing a letter protesting against Ken Livingstone’s suspension over claims that Hitler supported Zionism in the 1930s.
Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “By elevating Ms Osamor to the peerage, Mr Corbyn has sent an unmistakable signal to those in the Jewish community who still harboured some hope that he might change.
“Mr Corbyn is telling us not only that he sees her behaviour as unproblematic, but that he sees it as being worthy of the highest honour and a lifelong seat in the House of Lords.”
However, the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, believes Osamor has the right qualities to join the House of Lords, insisting her nomination shouldn’t be blocked, instead, praising her “commendable” track record of service.
Mr McDonnell told Radio 4’s Today programme: “Martha’s wrong on that one [signing the letter]. We disagree on that one. However, Martha has a whole range of experience and qualities that clearly we would welcome in the House of Lords.”
The shadow chancellor said the nomination should not be blocked “because she has the qualities we need to stand up in the House of Lords, particularly to address issues of inequality within our society.”
Saying he wasn’t involved in the appointment, but that it was “her right” to sign the letter, he added: “I think she’s wrong in that respect because I don’t believe in the views that are expressed in the letter.”