Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott
Jeremy Corbyn and Diane AbbottREUTERS

A senior member of the UK Labour Party defended her controversial use of a doctored image showing an Israeli fighter plane bombing Tehran to illustrate a social media comment on the recent joint strike on Syria by the UK, US, and France.

Over the weekend, the US, UK, and France launched 105 missiles at eight pre-selected targets in three Syrian compounds. The attack came following the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in Douma, east of Damascus.

On Monday, Labour MP and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott slammed the Conservative-led government of Theresa May for not putting the attack to a vote in Parliament.

“Shocking to hear Tory minister on @BBCr4today claim that you can’t allow Parliament to vote on war because that would be to “outsource the decision to people who don’t have all the info” Do these people understand what parliamentary democracy is?”

To illustrate her tweet, Abbott included the doctored image of an Israeli Air Force F-15 flying over a residential area in the Iranian capital city of Tehran, with explosions tearing through a housing complex.

Conservative lawmakers hit Abbott over her use of the image, which they said suggested that civilians had been targeted in a bombing raid.

“To imply that this was an attack on civilian homes, as the picture does, is a vile misrepresentation and dishonors the RAF personnel involved,” said Tory MP James Cleverly, who demanded Abbott apologize for the tweet.

Jewish leaders also criticized Abbott for her use of a picture of an Israeli fighter jet to illustrate an attack which was conducted by American and European forces.

“We are entitled to an explanation for @HackneyAbbott using a fake image of an Israeli plane bombing Tehran,” tweeted Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

"Did she know it was faked up, or is this yet another case of a @UKLabour figure being remarkably careless? And where did @HackneyAbbott find the image? Over to you Diane."

The image, originally created in 2012, was featured on a blog called The Aviationist, which included a caption describing the doctored image as an illustration of a hypothetical war between Israel and Iran.

Abbott refused to backtrack, mocking the criticism of her use of the image.

"Apparently, my use of this pic is ‘important news’,” Abbott tweeted. “Yes, UK goes to war without UN approval or even parliamentary debate. But the most important news is what pics I use in a tweet. Pathetic."

MP Abbott has in the past expressed support for radical anti-Israel positions, and spoke at an anti-Israel demonstration in 2014.

Moments before she took the stage, an organizer described Abbot as “a great friend of Palestine and an advocate and outspoken campaigner against the illegal occupation of Palestine.”