Welsh community leaders blast Plaid Cymru candidate over her ‘bigoted, hateful views’

Party urged to reconsider reinstatement of Welsh Assembly hopeful


RHONDDA, WALES - APRIL 06: A rosette worn by Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood as she campaigns in Ton Pentre on April 6, 2015 in Rhondda, Wales. Britain goes to the polls in a general election on May 7. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Leading figures in the Cardiff Jewish community have called on Plaid Cymru to reconsider their reinstatement of a candidate who had been suspended over alleged antisemitic posts.

Sahar Al-Faifi is now standing as a candidate in next year’s Welsh Assembly elections following an investigation into a series of posts which she herself admitted “crossed the boundary of criticism of Israel into antisemitism”.

A joint statement from representatives of Cardiff Reform and Cardiff United Synagogues, as well as Laurence Kahn, chair of South Wales Jewish Representative Council, said Ms Al-Faifi had undergone antisemitism training in Cardiff and had “agreed to delete or modify the posts and apologised for any offence caused”.

However, they described her reaction to being reinstated as “shocking”, as it showed “how little Ms Al-Faifi has learnt from the whole affair and her antisemitism awareness training”.

After announcing her reinstatement, Ms Al-Faifi shared a quote from a Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) article on her reinstatement, 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.”

The joint statement from the Welsh Jewish community added that Ms Al-Faifi “clearly still believes that it is acceptable to make antisemitic statements and comments, apologise and then blame her comments on the Middle-East conflict.

“She takes any challenge to her bigoted, hateful views to be an attack on her right to speak out on events in the Middle-East, when in fact, she has been saying hateful things about Jews worldwide. Coming from someone who purports to be an activist for human rights, freedom and tolerance, this is very regrettable.

“In light of Ms Al-Faifi’s comments and her unrepentant attitude to the whole affair and investigation, we call upon Plaid Cymru to reconsider their decision.”

One social media post by Ms Al-Faifi from 2017, after the London Bridge attacks, linked “pro-Zionists” to the atrocity, which was carried out by supporters of Al-Muhajiroun and Isis and left eight dead.

A 2013 tweet by Ms Al-Faifi, who is a geneticist, asked: “What about the Rothschild Jews and their branches in Palestine, would such genetic research effect [sic] their banking empire…” Counter-extremism organisation Qulliam described the tweet as a “conspiracy theory” akin to those espoused by David Icke.

A Plaid party spokesperson told the JC the party “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.”

Ms Al-Faifi did not respond to a request for comment.

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