A Plaid Cymru activist suspended over alleged antisemitic social media posts has been reinstated by the party following an investigation and is now standing to be a member of the Welsh General Assembly.
Sahar Al-Faifi had, by her own admission, “made a handful of social media posts that… crossed the boundary of criticism of Israel into antisemitism”.
One post from 2017, after the London Bridge attacks, linked “pro-Zionists” to the attack, which was carried out by supporters of Al-Muhajiroun and Isis and left eight dead.
When allegations about the posts came to light, Ms Al-Faifi said she had “deleted the tweets more than 5 years ago, and issued an apology to Jewish organisations and others.
“I have also undertaken antisemitism training, both formally through the Board of Deputies and informally with Jewish colleagues in order to ensure I never repeat the same mistakes.”
However, the Board of Deputies distanced itself from Ms Al-Faifi’s claims at the time, stating: “We met Sahar Al-Faifi to confront her over concerns we had over antisemitic social media postings.
“Ms Al-Faifi apologised to us and made some amendments to her social media output. However, we were clear that the situation still remained unsatisfactory.”
Board of Deputies Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb (who is also the Deputy for Cardiff United Synagogue) told the JC: “We raised concerns about two social media posts that she had refused to delete, despite 18 months of attempts to persuade her.
“It appears that she has now finally relented and deleted them, but Ms Al-Faifi’s reluctance to do so raises serious questions about her judgement, and the genuineness of her apology.”
In a statement released on Twitter last week, Ms Al-Faifi said that a party panel had decided on January 8 that there was no need for sanctions against her and that her membership had since been reinstated in full.
She added that she was “more committed than ever before to creating a more just, inclusive and welcoming Wales.”
She also shared a quote from an article on her reinstatement by the organisation Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend), which read: “While antisemitism must never be tolerated and should be challenged wherever it is found, the use of the term as a political tool for shutting down criticism of the Israeli government devalues the experiences of those who face antisemitic abuse on a daily basis.”
Ms Gewolb described Mend as “a highly challenging organisation whose activity risks increasing hostility and suspicion between the Jewish and Muslim communities”, adding: “Taking all of this into account, we do not feel that Sahar Al-Faifi has learned sufficiently from her experience or taken the actions that would indicate she is truly sorry.
“We therefore do not understand why Plaid Cymru has reinstated her and we would urge them to look into the case again.”
A Plaid spokesperson confirmed that Ms Al-Faifi was a member of the party, adding: “Plaid Cymru rejects all forms of discrimination.
“Several years ago, Sahar Al-Faifi made a handful of social media posts that she has deeply regretted and which she has acknowledged were antisemitic.
“The tweets were deleted and an apology was issued.”
At her campaign launch for the Welsh Assembly on Tuesday, Ms Al-Faifi was joined by former Plaid leader Leanne Wood, who said it been a “pleasure”. She will be standing in the South Wales Central region in next year’s General Assembly elections.