Welsh Labour politician suspended following anti-Semitism remarks

A Welsh Labour politician has been suspended after she was recorded questioning weather anti-Semitic hate crime was “real”.

Jenny Rathbone AM suggested increasing threats to Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Cardiff could be “all in their own heads”.

Ms Rathbone’s suspension from her party’s assembly group comes as she awaits a decision from the UK Labour party about possible disciplinary action.

On Tuesday, a National Assembly Labour Group spokesperson released a short statement about the decision, which said: “Jenny Rathbone was today suspended from the National Assembly Labour group pending a decision by the UK Labour Party under its disciplinary procedures.”

Ms Rathbone, who represents Cardiff Central in the Welsh Assembly, said she was “deeply sorry” last Wednesday after her remarks, which were recorded at a constituency event in 2017, were published online by the Jewish Chronicle.

The recording featured the politician responding to a question about increased security at the Cardiff United Synagogue in the Cyncoed area of the city as a result of anti-Semitism fears.

Ms Rathbone is heard saying: “The fact that the Jewish synagogue in Cyncoed is behind this fortress is really uncomfortable.

“And how much of it is for real and how much of it is in their own heads is really hard for an outsider to judge. But I think siege mentalities are also part of this.”

She also said she believed hate crimes against the Jewish community were a reaction to “the failure to come to a peace settlement around Palestine and Israel”, and said Israel’s behaviour “drives people to be hostile to the Jewish community in this country”.

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