Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations tells Diane Abbott it believes she 'wholeheartedly opposes antisemitism'

Friday's letter attacks contradictory reports, describing them as 'the views of one individual'


The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC) has written to Diane Abbott telling her that it believes she "wholeheartedly opposes antisemitism", contrary to “certain media reports”.

In a letter to the shadow home secretary on Friday, Rabbi Yaakov Conrad, registrar of the Union’s rabbinate, dismissed what he called “allegations” about Ms Abbott’s attitude towards antisemitism, saying that these “are in no way shared by our Rabbinate, nor by the community in general.”

Earlier this month, the JC reported Ms Abbott failed to challenge a motion in her Hackney North Constituency Labour Party (CLP) dismissing claims that Labour was “institutionally antisemitic”. Jewish Labour members were left “in tears” as it passed.

Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, a member of the strictly Orthodox community in Stamford Hill, said he was "shocked" by Ms Abbott's failure to intervene, adding that he "no longer feels welcome" at CLP meetings and that “the atmosphere is absolutely toxic these days."

The UOHC, which describes itself as an “umbrella body representing the interests of strictly orthodox Jews”, did not name Rabbi Pinter but attacked media reports “which have alleged that you do not whole heartedly oppose antisemitism” as “the views of one individual".

“Many of the senior Rabbinate members, including our Principal Rabbinical Authority, reside locally and are your constituents”, the letter continued.

“We are aware that you often spend much time and trouble to assist constituents and others with their personal and other problems, and that the ethnicity and religion etc., of those that you assist makes not an iota of difference to the assistance that you generously provide.”

The letter comes just a day after Shloime Sinitsky resigned as the chairman of Kedassia, the kashrus division of the Union, suggesting a deepening chasm between moderates and hardliners within Stamford Hill's strictly orthodox community.

Rabbi Pinter had expressed strong support for Mr Sinitsky, telling the JC he was "irreplaceable" and that he supported him "one million percent".

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