Rabbi Avrohom Pinter said he found it “very disappointing” that the Hackney MP, who is a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, had dismissed allegations within the Labour Party.
Abbott, who is a shadow cabinet minister, said: “It’s a smear to say that Labour has a problem with anti-Semitism. It is something like a smear against ordinary party members.”
She added that 12 instances of alleged anti-Semitism have all resulted in a suspension, including former mayor Ken Livingstone.
Rabbi Pinter, who has previously stood as a Labour council candidate, responded by saying: “Representing one of the largest Jewish communities in the UK, she must be aware of some of the prejudices shared by some of her colleagues towards that community.”
He continued: “I’ve always found her very supportive towards the community but found it very disappointing that she doesn’t recognise that the issue of anti-Semitism is more than on the fringes. Suggesting it’s just a smear is an insult to her intelligence.”
This comes after former Labour Mayor of London Ken Livingstone sparked fury among colleagues by claiming that Hitler had supported Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”.
Rabbi Pinter criticised Livingstone who he said he had “always been a very close friend of”, by suggesting he had made a mistake. He said: “It wasn’t Hitler who went mad, it was Ken!”