We were compared to Nazis, says councillor

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts said she would recommend her party adopt the IHRA definition


A Liberal Democrat councillor in Wales said that he had experienced antisemitism used against him as a local politician. 

Rodney Berman, a member of Cardiff City Council, said “the worst was in a council debate when my administration was likened to the Nazis, which was something a councillor said and subsequently wouldn’t withdraw.” 

He was taking part in a digital hustings organised by the Board of Deputies on Monday night ahead of next month’s election to the Welsh Parliament. 

Politicians needed to set a good example, he said, otherwise they would be giving “carte blanche” to others. 

Vaughan Gething, Health Minister in the Labour-led administration in Wales, acknowledged there had been “a significant failing on antisemitism” in Labour nationally and Wales had not been immune. 

It had been a “matter of real shame” that the party had been investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, he said. 

There had been a failure at leadership level, “a failure to recognise the importance of the issue” and “a choice by some people in the previous leadership to see this as an attempt to smear the leadership in a factional fight rather than recognise there were people in the Labour Party who simply should not have been.” 

He pointed out that a member of the Labour group in Wales had been suspended over comments. 

Andrew R T Davies, leader of the Conservatives in the Senedd, said that his party had signed up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism in 2016. 

But he added, “We’re all guilty as parties of sometimes not reacting quickly enough to some of the concerns that are raised.” 

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts said that reviewing her party’s own position on antisemitism, she would now recommend it adopt the IHRA definition. 

She highlighted the need to develop training, particularly on social media use. 

On boycotts of Israel, the Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Labour representatives stated their opposition. 

“This broad-brush campaign… often seems like trying to punish the whole of Israel,” Mr Vaughan said. 

Ms Saville Roberts said the IHRA definition did recognise “the need to be able to hold the Israeli government to account in the same way as you would hold any other similar government to account as well”. 

But she emphasised the need to be aware of the impact on the local Jewish community. “When certain things come into the public domain, the threat that the Jewish people feel in Wales increases,” she said. 

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