Diane Abbott loses her job whip for saying Jews don’t suffer from racism

Diane Abbott has suspended the Labor Party whip after suggesting that Jews, Irish and Travelers have never been ‘subject to racism’.

The former shadow home secretary later apologized “unreservedly” for any “distress” and said she had withdrawn the comments.

But a Labor Party spokesman said on Sunday: ‘The Labor Party fully condemns these comments which are deeply offensive and wrong.

“Whip boss has suspended Labor whip from Diane Abbott pending an investigation.”

It means the veteran MP will now sit in the House of Commons as an independent.

In a letter to The Observer, Abbott responded to an article by Tomiwa Owolade headlined: “Racism in Britain is not a black and white issue. It’s much more complicated”.

Abbott said: “Owolade says the Irish, Jews and Travelers all suffer from ‘racism’

“Undoubtedly they experience prejudice. This is similar to racism and the two words are often used as if they are interchangeable.

“It is true that many types of whites with points of difference, such as reds, can experience this bias.

“But they are not subject to racism for life. In pre-Civil Rights America, the Irish, Jews, and travelers weren’t required to sit in the back of the bus.

“In apartheid South Africa, these groups were allowed to vote. And at the height of slavery, there were no seemingly white people handcuffed on slave ships.

The comments were labeled “scary, offensive and ignorant” by Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Grant Shapps, the energy secretary, said: “Once again, Jews need to wake up to a Labor MP casually spewing anti-Semitism.”

Jon Ashworth, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, said Abbott’s comments “sounded absolutely offensive”.

Jon Lansman, who founded the pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaign group Momentum, said: “Shameful comment from @HackneyAbbott for which she was rightly suspended by the Labor Party. Racism is not a competition!”

Labor MP Margaret Hodge said Abbott’s letter “was deeply hurtful and deeply depressing”.

“Keir Starmer’s answer is right. No excuses. No delays,” he said.

In his apology, released after the protests, Abbott said: “I wish to fully and unreservedly withdraw my remarks and dissociate myself from them.

“Errors came up when sending an initial draft. But there is no excuse and I wish to apologize for any distress caused.

“Racism takes many forms, and it is completely undeniable that the Jewish people have suffered its monstrous effects, as have the Irish, the Travelers and many others.

“Again, I probably publicly apologize for the remarks and any distress caused by them.”

Abbott has been MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington in London since 1987.

A close ally of Corbyn, she served as shadow home secretary during his time as Labor leader.

Corbyn was formally barred from standing as a Labor candidate in the next election after he claimed that anti-Semitism in the party while he was leader had been “exaggerated” by his political opponents.


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