Corbyn cabinet concern
JEREMY CORBYN has asked two MPs with critical views of Israel to lead his party’s efforts to repair relations with the Jewish community.
It is believed Kate Osamor and Sarah Champion will informally share the role vacated by Dawn Butler when she quit as Shadow Minister for Minority Ethnic Communities.
Ms Champion has campaigned for the government to set up a “watchlist” of Israelis who are “known war crime suspects”.
Last year Ms Osamor signed a letter attacking the government’s plans to curb boycotts of Israel. She put her name to the call for an end to arms trading with Israel, claiming Israel “attacks Palestinians with impunity”.
She was also forced to suspend a Parliamentary aide last September after discovering the advisor had posted an image on social media of dead children alongside a swastika imposed next to an Israeli flag.
The Labour leader’s office confirmed on Wednesday that the two MPs would take on the work, but there was later confusion over whether they had been appointed to official roles.
A senior Jewish communal source said: “Past track-records do not make these two obvious candidates for this sensitive role. In any case, personnel changes risk appearing like mere window dressing if the party does not tackle the problem of antisemitism with clear determination and concrete action.”
A senior figure in Mr Corbyn’s office later attempted to clarify the confusion over the roles but was unable to confirm whether there would be one appointment or two. He also admitted Ms Butler had been “carrying on some of the work” she had earlier undertaken.
On Ms Osamor and Ms Champion’s respective past comments on Israel, he added: “Neither are ‘anti-Israel’ but have opposed actions taken by the government, as many in Israel and the Jewish community have as well.”