Labour politician's shul security comments 'extremely offensive', says Cardiff rabbi

Rabbi Michoel Rose confirmed Jenny Rathbone apologised to him personally, after the JC reported her 'insensitive' comments


The rabbi of a synagogue singled out by a Welsh Assembly member for having a “siege mentality” over security has said her comments were “extremely offensive”.

Rabbi Michoel Rose told BBC Wales that Jenny Rathbone, the Labour member for Cardiff Central, apologised to him in person on Wednesday after the JC reported her comments, which she admitted were “insensitive”.

Asked about bolstered security at Cardiff United Synagogue in November 2017, Ms Rathbone also suggested that the actions of the Israeli government had contributed to growing hostility towards Jews in the UK.

She went on to say: “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.”

Rabbi Rose said on Thursday that the comments did not consider "the reality of what the Jewish community in this country is facing", saying police and ministers had warned them of "the need for bolstered security".

He added: "The comments that seemed to imply that the Jewish community in this country was to blame for violence and hatred in this country was extremely offensive.

He said Ms Rathbone was "very apologetic for what she'd said" when they met on Wednesday evening.

Ms Rathbone has since apologised publicly.

Her comments have been referred to the Labour Party's general secretary for investigation, while the Labour group in the Welsh Assembly is considering disciplinary action against her.

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