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Jeremy Corbyn forced to explain his position on BDS

The leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, speaks after the announcement of his victory in the party's leadership election, in Liverpool, Britain September 24, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn [REUTERS/Peter Nicholls]

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has responded to pressure to clarify his position on the global Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement (BDS) against Israel.

The veteran supporter of the Palestinian cause was forced to clarify his position through his spokesperson following a row within the Labour party about its position on BDS. The shadow cabinet appeared split over the global campaign following a tweet by Kate Osamor, in which the MP from Edmonton appeared to show support for BDS.

The tweet put her at odds with Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, who described BDS as a form of “bigotry” during a speech at an event organised last month by Labour Friends of Israel.

Osamor, who is the shadow international development secretary, tweeted: “BDS movement #freedom #Justice #Equality” while also sharing a link to the official BDS movement website.

While Corbyn has not given a statement, a spokesperson clarified the Labour party position saying that BDS was not a party policy. “Jeremy is not in favour of a comprehensive or blanket boycott,” he said. “He doesn’t support BDS. He does support targeted action aimed at illegal settlements and occupied territories.” Asked if Corbyn would be happy to buy Israeli goods himself, the spokesman said: “Yes.”

The spokesperson was reported to have argued against any disciplinary action being taken against Osamor over the matter.

Labour Friends of Israel has reportedly written to Osamor for an explanation of her position.

Read: Find out about attempts to boycott BDS

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