A Jewish candidate for Britain’s Labour Party is being bombarded with death threats, half of which are anti-Semitic, she said.
Ruth Smeeth told local news outlet StokeonTrentLive that she is afraid to leave her home due to the constant threats. When she does leave the house, she carries a panic button in case she is attacked, according to the report.
She does not go anywhere alone and has not ridden public transportation in 18 months, she said.
Smeeth said the threats have come from both the far-left and the far-right. Last week, after months of threats in emails and on social media, a threatening essay describing how the author wanted to murder her was hand-delivered to her constituency office. The letter prompted her to go public about the threats.
“I’m not asking for sympathy, I just feel like I need to put down a marker to say this is not normal and it is not acceptable,” she said. “I won’t be bullied by anyone. We need to find a way back to respectfully disagreeing with each other, not threatening to hurt each other.”
She received anti-Semitic death threats during the campaign for the 2015 election and more death threats in 2016, which required her to go under police protection and install surveillance cameras at her home.
She has represented the Stoke-on Trent North constituency in Staffordshire in central England since 2015. The next general election is scheduled for December 12.
Labour party chief Jeremy Cobyn sparked a row this week by repeatedly declining to apologize for his handling of anti-Semitism in the party in an interview with the BBC.
The BBC’s Andrew Neil pressed Corbyn six times to apologize to the Jewish community, in the wake of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’s statement that Britain’s Jews were “gripped by anxiety” over the future of the community in the country, amid the prospect of a Labour win in the December 12 election.
After being slammed for the interview, on Wednesday Corbyn tried to tamp down the flames by saying that the party had already apologized for anti-Semitism in its ranks.
Polls suggest that just six percent of UK Jews plan to vote Labour. Nearly half say they would “seriously consider” emigrating if Corbyn — a man 87% of those polled believe is an anti-Semite — gets to Downing Street.
Jewish groups have accused Corbyn, a far-left politician, of allowing a massive rise in anti-Semitism within the ranks of the party that was once considered the natural home of British Jewry. Thousands of cases of alleged hate speech against Jews have been recorded within Labour since 2015, when Corbyn was elected to lead the party.