Labour's Jenny Rathbone suspended for suggesting Jewish community's fears were 'in their heads'

She said security at a shul reflected a 'siege mentality'


The Welsh Labour politician who questioned whether fears over the safety of Cardiff’s Jewish community were “in their own heads” has been suspended by the party.

The Welsh Assembly's Labour group decided to suspend Jenny Rathbone on Tuesday over comments made in a recording, leaked to the JC last week. 

In the recording, which was made last year, Ms Rathbone was asked about increased security measures measures at Cardiff United Synagogue in the city’s Cyncoed suburb.

She said: “The fact that the Jewish synagogue in Cyncoed is, is become one of these, you know, fortress is really uncomfortable.

“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 it.”

Ms Rathbone also said that hostile behaviour towards Jews was driven by the behaviour of the Israeli government, and that British Jews had a “responsibility” to promote peace in the Middle East.

Rabbi Michael Rose of the Cardiff synagogue, to whom Ms Rathbone apologised, later said her comments were “extremely offensive”.

A National Assembly Labour Group spokesperson told the JC: “Jenny Rathbone was today suspended from the National Assembly Labour group pending a decision by the UK Labour Party under its disciplinary procedures. “

After she was suspended, Ms Rathbone said: “I hope this matter will be dealt with by the party as quickly as possible.”

She will now face further scrutiny by a panel on Labour’s National Executive Committee.

In August this year, Ms Rathbonealso  tweeted that the “Israeli Govt" was pursuing a "relentless campaign" against Jeremy Corbyn.

She asked: “Why are our media not investigating this level of foreign interference in UK politics?”

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