Anonymous letter suggests Charedi rabbi should be killed for speaking out about Labour antisemitism

Rabbi Avraham Pinter fears those behind it may 'encourage someone to do something stupid'


A leading Charedi rabbi is living in fear after a letter was circulated within his community implying he should be killed for speaking out about antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Rabbi Avraham Pinter, an ex-councillor in Stamford Hill, criticised Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, last month for “being totally out of touch with the reality” of how Jews in her constituency feel.

He said she should not “use the Charedi Jewish community for political gain” after she suggest that Charedim did not share the same concerns about antisemitism as mainstream Jewish communal organisations.

The letter, which appears to have been sent anonymously, has been distributed to members of the Charedi community and calls on people to treat him like a “rodef”.

In halachah, a “rodef” is one who is "pursuing" another person to murder them. If a “rodef” ignores warnings to stop what they are doing, bystanders must intervene to kill them.

Written in Yiddish, the letter which was translated by the counter-extremism organisation Nahamu, says: “A fellow Jew who presents himself as an activist from Jewish Stamford Hill community has been busy over the last few weeks to antagonise the senior leadership of the Labour party against the will of the rabbis of our community.

“He does all this in the name of our community. How long do we have to stay silent? It is high time to come out and scream rodef!!!”

The letter went on to say it was made “on the orders of our leading rabbis from here in this city and abroad”.

It warned: “If this activist fails to stop his activities in the next few days major action will be started against him that will stand out in the wider press.”

A Labour spokesperson told the JC: “Nobody should face threats or intimidation for raising concerns about racism.

“Jeremy Corbyn has made clear in video messages, emails to members, articles and speeches that anyone who denies the existence of antisemitism is wrong and is contributing to the problem.”

Rabbi Pinter said he felt very "alone" and had been “avoiding going to certain places” out of fear.

“I am not getting the support I would expect. And I feel very much on my own,” he said.

He said he feared those behind the letter “would encourage someone to do something stupid.”

He added he felt it was part of a wider harassment campaign against him for speaking out about the problem.

Last month his mobile number was sent out to members of the community anonymously and people began calling him to urge him to be quiet.

The JC understands the Community Security Trust is aware of the letter the Shomrim, the strictly Orthodox security group, is investigating.

Rabbi Herschel Gluck, president of Shomrim in Stamford Hill, said the letter was “beyond the pale and it is totally out of order and serious to suggest that anyone carry out such activity.

“Rabbi Pinter is a devoted servant of the local community and has given sterling support of the community in his years and the only thing he is worthy of is praise.”

He urged anyone with information to inform Shomrim or the police.

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