LONDON – Diane Abbott, a high-profile politician in Britain’s main opposition Labour Party, has been suspended for a letter she wrote in which she stated Jewish discrimination was comparable to, but not the same as, racism.


Labour, which polls show is set to form Britain’s next government after an election next year, was accused of discriminating against and harassing Jews under former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The equality watchdog found severe flaws in Labour’s handling of persistent antisemitism allegations in 2020.

Abbott, 69, was responding to a writer’s charges of prejudice against Irish, Jewish, and Traveler people.

She stated that while their experiences were comparable to racism, there were variances.

“They undoubtedly face prejudice.” “This is similar to racism, and the two words are frequently used interchangeably,” she added.

“It is true that many types of white people with points of difference, such as redheads, can experience this prejudice,” she wrote.

“However, they are not subject to racism their entire lives.”

Abbott, a politician since 1987, was the first Black woman elected to the British parliament and is a close ally of Corbyn, for whom she served as the party’s home affairs spokesman.

Abbott stated in her letter to the Observer that “in pre-civil rights America, Irish, Jewish, and Travelers were not required to sit in the back of the bus.” These groups were allowed to vote in apartheid South Africa. And there were no white-looking people manacled on slave ships at the height of slavery.”

She afterwards “unreservedly” apologized and removed her remarks.

“The errors arose as a result of an initial draft being sent,” she explained in a tweet.

“But there is no excuse, and I apologize for any distress caused.”

According to a Labour Party official, she has been suspended pending an inquiry.

British MPs slammed her letter’s statements.

Grant Shapps, the Jewish energy secretary, tweeted that “once again, Jewish people have to wake up and see a Labour MP casually spouting hateful anti-Semitism.”

Corbyn was suspended and barred from running as a Labour candidate in the upcoming general election after asserting that antisemitism in the party while his leadership had been “dramatically overstated” for political reasons.

Britain’s equality watchdog stated earlier this year that the Labour Party had made enough improvements in the last two years to combat antisemitism.




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