Stephen Doughty – the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth – has stepped into a major row in the Labour Party over allegedly “racist” remarks said to have been made by about Jews by Cardiff Central Labour AM Jenny Rathbone.
The BBC reports that the Labour Party – whose own leader Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of anti-Semitism – is now “considering disciplinary action” against Ms Rathbone.
The Jewish Chronicle has received a recording of comments made by Jenny Rathbone in which she seems to say “I think that the Israeli government’s behaviour in occupying Palestinian lands [indistinct audio] and generally behaving like a conqueror is conducive to peace. And I think that’s what drives people to be hostile to the Jewish community in this country.”
She then goes on to criticise the security precautions taken to defend a synogogue in Cyncoed, Cardiff – by saying “I think the Jewish community has a responsibility to try and promote peace in the Middle East. …Coming back on the fact that the Jewish synagogue in Cyncoed is 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 a part of this.”
First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones has called Ms Rathbone’s comments “totally unacceptable” and has submitted the matter to the general secretary of the Labour Party for “investigation”.
Carwyn Jones – who now has less than a month left in office – said “The chief whip, whose role this is, will be looking at what disciplinary action to take and will make a report to our group on Tuesday.”
Meanwhile Jewish leaders have described Ms Rathbone’s comments as “inexcusable.“
Now Cardiff South and Penarth AM Stephen Doughty has published a message on “Twitter”
Doughty’s condemnation of Ms Rathbone may surprise some who recall Doughty’s participation in a pro-Palestinian anti-Israeli demonstration in Cardiff in 2014 – a march which in its later stages (after Doughty had left it) led to one of the worst outbreaks of violence ever seen in the city.
Penarth AM and Welsh Labour leadership candidate Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) said: “I do not agree with Jenny Rathbone’s comments. We have to demonstrate leadership that is consistent with our values and stamp out anti-Semitism” .