Diane Abbott has been criticised for meeting an anti-LGBT education activist who joined ‘homophobic’ protests outside a school in Birmingham.
The Shadow Home Secretary posed for a photo with Shraga Stern and other ‘community leaders’ after meeting them to ‘discuss local matters’ in her north London constituency.
Mr Stern has been described as a ‘divisive’ Charedi activist who campaigned to exclude religious schools from having to teach LGBT issues as part of the government’s relationships and sex education policy.
It provoked outrage in the Jewish community and Mr Stern was told to stop campaigning by senior rabbis in Stamford Hill – which is home to the largest Hasidic community in Europe, and forms part of Ms Abbott’s safe Labour seat of Hackney North and Stoke Newington.
Jewish Labour campaigners said Ms Abbott’s decision to openly meet Mr Stern will ‘alienate many in the LGBT community’ and LGBT Jews.
After the meeting last night, Ms Abbott shared the photo, tweeting: ‘Pleased to meet with Hackney deputy mayor Antoinette Bramble and community leaders to discuss local matters.’
But she was soon slammed for calling Mr Stern a ‘community leader’.
One person wrote: ‘If he is a community leader, you are a Rabbi!’
National organiser for the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) Rebecca Filer asked: ‘Why is Diane Abbott openly meeting with Shraga Stern who’s been leading a homophobic campaign against Relationships and Sex Education in schools?’
A JLM spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘Shraga Stern may be one of Diane Abbott’s constituents, however Stern has been a divisive campaigner against LGBT inclusive sex and relationships education.
‘Meeting with Stern openly will serve to alienate many in the LGBT community, especially LGBT Jews.’
Jeremy Corbyn was also criticised earlier this year when he was seen meeting Mr Stern in Westminster.
He was called out by former Labour MP Margaret Hodge who took a picture of the meeting in Portcullis House.
Ms Hodge tweeted: ‘Having lunch & wondering why Corbyn wants to be seen talking to an anti-LGBT activist who doesn’t represent the mainstream Jewish community yet chooses to sideline groups like @JewishLabour.’
At the time, Mr Stern told the Jewish Chronicle that he is ‘not a homophobe’ and his campaign was ‘nothing to do with LGBT teaching’, but about continuing the ‘Charedi tradition’ of parents teaching sex education at home.
However, in a video filmed outside Parkfield School in March, Mr Stern talked about the ‘problem of indoctrination and sexualising kids’ and how ‘LGBT lobbies’ have entered the education system.
He said: ‘We parents must stand up for our rights. We must fight for our freedom of religion and freedom to educate the children the way we were educated.’