Corbyn ally to keep shadow cabinet post despite support for Israel boycotts

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Corbyn ally to keep shadow cabinet post despite support for Israel boycotts

Kate Osamor will not lose her job despite tweeting her backing for the BDS movement, which is against party policy

Controversial tweet sent by Kate Osamor
Controversial tweet sent by Kate Osamor

A key Labour ally of Jeremy Corbyn looks set to keep her shadow cabinet post despite an apparent show of support for a boycott of Israeli goods – something which is against party policy.

Shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor posted a message on Twitter relating to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement which urges consumers not to buy Israeli goods and pressures firms and institutions to pull money out of the country.

A Labour spokesman insisted it was not the party’s policy to support BDS and Corbyn was “not in favour of a comprehensive or blanket boycott”.

But while refusing to say whether Corbyn was comfortable with Osamor’s message “I’m not saying he is uncomfortable with the tweet either”.

Corbyn would be “happy” to buy Israeli goods and while “he does not support BDS, he does support targeted action aimed at illegal settlements and occupied territories”, the spokesman said.

Stressing that Osamor’s position was not at risk, the spokesman added: “You don’t necessarily consult everybody before you put out a tweet.”

Osamor’s message contained a link to a post by the Institute for Middle East Understanding with the added comment: “BDS movement #freedom #Justice #Equality.”

The Labour spokesman also indicated the party was relaxed about shadow cabinet members being in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) which backs BDS and lists Corbyn as a patron.

He compared the group to other organisations which senior Labour MPs might join, such as the National Trust.

“I’m sure members of the shadow cabinet are members of the National Trust and the National Trust might have policies which aren’t necessarily entirely in line with Labour Party policies.”

Kate Osamor

Osamor’s tweet came just weeks after shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry used a speech to Labour Friends of Israel to hit out at “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,” she said.

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