Britain’s Shadow Home Secretary has dismissed allegations of widespread anti-Semitism as a “smear campaign” against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Jewish Chronicle reported Thursday.
Diane Abbott sparked anger after comments were leaked from a meeting with her shadow Home Office team in which she “ranted” about Corbyn being the victim of a systematic campaign to bring him down. The Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies on Monday organized a protest in front of parliament to flag anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
One source said: “Diane could not have made her feelings any clearer on how she believed anti-Semitism was being used as a smear on Jeremy in the meeting. The most surprising thing was that she was surprised people who were in the team meeting spoke about them afterwards.” He added: “A few people were angry with how she spoke in the meeting.”
Abbott reportedly dismissed charges of anti-Semitism as a “smear campaign against Jeremy” on at least two separate occasions this week.
If Labour were elected to govern, Abbott would serve in Corbyn’s cabinet as Home Secretary, a position which would put her in charge of hate crime, including anti-Semitism.
In May 2016, Abbott said in an interview with the BBC that it was a “smear against ordinary party members” to suggest “that the Labour Party has a problem with antisemitism”. Earlier this week, she shared a tweet on social media, which claimed people were flocking to join Labour because they were “disgusted” by the “constant smearing of Jeremy Corbyn.”
In a comment to the Jewish Chronicle, Abbott dismissed the allegations and said, “No-one who was at the meeting could accurately suggest that I dismissed the accusations of antisemitism…any other suggestion is false.”
The Labour Party has been under fire all week for not adequately addressing anti-Semitism in its ranks, after Corbyn defended an anti-Semitic mural in east London. The same week it emerged that he had been the member of at least five Facebook groups in which members shared anti-Semitic material. Corbyn denied knowledge of the content despite being an active member in some of the groups.
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