Charedim attack Diane Abbott for 'not getting' concerns over hate crisis


Diane Abbott has come under fire from strictly Orthodox Jews in her London constituency over the antisemitism crisis engulfing the party.

Rabbi Abraham Pinter, an ex-Labour councillor and a prominent figure in the large Charedi community, said Ms Abbott "didn't understand" Labour's problem with antisemitism.

"Not for one moment do I think Diane condones antisemitism, but if you don't understand that people in the community feel uncomfortable, then you have a problem."

Rabbi Pinter was responding to remarks made by the Shadow International Development Secretary, who is MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, in which she said the crisis was a "smear" against party members.

His view was supported by Levi Shapiro, of the Charedi activist group, the Jewish Community Council. Mr Shapiro said: "Charedim in her community joke 'they have no MP'.

"Her recent comments have frustrated a lot of people. She claims to represent us but to be honest when it comes to this issue she doesn't get it."

Mr Shapiro said the MP "could learn" from new London Mayor Sadiq Khan who he said had "made the effort to speak out and show he supports the community's concerns".

However Ms Abbott denied she had dismissed concerns about Labour and antisemitism, saying her comments had been misreported by some newspapers.

"On the contrary, antisemitism is racism and racism has always been at the core of my political concerns," she said.

"Antisemitism is a problem throughout society and in all political parties and I welcome the fact that the Labour Party has suspended everybody who has been accused of antisemitic behaviour within 48 hours."

The concerns of Labour-supporting Charedim were heightened last week after a motion conflating Zionism with Nazism was put forward at a local party meeting.

Rabbi Pinter was at the meeting, as was Hackney councillor Michael Desmond, who said: "It was totally unacceptable. There was uproar among many Charedi members and a lot nearly walked out."

The motion was withdrawn.

Asked about the incident, Ms Abbott said: "It happened when I was out of the country. I understand Hackney party officers are looking into it."

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