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Charedi rabbi comes to Diane Abbott’s defence after antisemitism debate row

Rabbi Pinter told the JC: 'The trouble is most people don’t know what is going on in our community'

    A leading Charedi rabbi has backed Diane Abbott after the Shadow Home Secretary’s controversial comments during a Parliamentary debate on antisemitism.

    Rabbi Avraham Pinter said the Charedi community appreciated Ms Abbott’s efforts to represent her Jewish constituents from Hackney North and Stoke Newington in the Commons chamber.

    Rabbi Pinter, who is a former Labour councillor, came to her defence after she was accused of failing to address concerns raised during her closing speech in yesterday’s debate.

    Ms Abbott faced jeers as she devoted more than half her speech to comments about the Charedi community in Hackney.

    Rabbi Pinter told the JC: “The trouble is most people don’t know what is going on in our community.

    “Diane raised two issues that are important, one was to do with hate crime and the other was to do with what is happening with Ofsted.”

    He said the Charedi community had a problem with Ofsted criticising its schools and that Ms Abbott was right to raise it in a discussion about antisemitism.

    “One should question Ofsted’s motives,” he said.

    “However bad the problem of antisemitism is at the moment we are not in any position to be leaving the country.

    “Even if Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister it won’t be the reason people leave, it will be down to economics.

    “But if people can’t educate their children because Ofsted are shutting down their schools because they don’t like their way of life, then they will consider leaving the country.”

    Ms Abbott was heckled after she ignored the comments made by Jewish Labour MP Alex Sobel when he intervened in her speech.

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