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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Welsh Labour under fire for 'aborted' anti-semitism inquiry

Despite attempts by Welsh Labour to close down an investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism on the part of Cardiff Central Assembly Member, Jenny Rathbone, the issue stubbornly refuses to go away.

As the BBC reports, Rathbone was investigated after suggesting security fears of Jewish people at a Cardiff synagogue could be "in their own heads". She subsequently apologised and was given a formal warning, but details of the investigation have not been published.

Now Welsh Jewish representatives have spoken out, accusing Welsh Labour of failing to take into consideration the feelings of the Jewish community in the way they handled the investigation:

"We're concerned at the lack of transparency," said Laurence Kahn, chairman of the South Wales Jewish Representative Council.

The Cardiff Central AM was suspended from the Labour assembly group and referred for investigation by the UK Labour Party after her remarks were revealed by the Jewish Chronicle in November.

But she was readmitted to the group before the party investigation was complete.

The investigation has now concluded and Ms Rathbone has been given a formal warning and ordered to undergo training.

"The question is: are they trying to satisfy the Jewish community and deal with our concerns?" Mr Kahn asked.

"And if the answer to that is yes then obviously they ought to be giving us the information that is lacking at the moment."

Mr Kahn claimed the readmission of Ms Rathbone to the Labour assembly group before the investigation had finished was "inappropriate":

"They should have had a little bit more consideration for the local Jewish community," he added.

First Minister Mark Drakeford should explain the timing of Ms Rathbone's readmission, according to Stanley Soffa, representative for the Cardiff Reform Synagogue on the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Labour has not explained why Jenny Rathbone was readmitted before the investigation was complete.

Whatever, the process that was followed or the outcome it does seem clear that yet again Labour have failed to deal with a complaint of this nature in a sensitive and satisfactory manner. This, in turn, adds to the dossier that is building up against the party on this issue and feeds into the wider story reported a few days ago by the BBC.

They have discovered that in the ten months between April 2018 and January 2019, the Labour Party received 673 complaint alleging acts of anti-Semitism by its members, whilst the Parliamentary Labour Party have complained about a lack of information:

The data published revealed:
It is not a pretty picture.

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