Antisemitism in Political Parties

Arfon Jones

2016-present: Plaid Cymru Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales

2008-2017: Plaid Cymru councillor, Gwersyllt West ward, Wrexham Borough Council


  1. On 30th July 2014, Arfon Jones shared a post on Facebook which included a quotation from an op-ed published in the Jerusalem Post at the time of Operation Pillar of Defence (November 2012), in which the son of the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed his view that it was necessary to “flatten all of Gaza” in order to prevent such intense rocket attacks on Israeli towns by Hamas as had given rise to the action. The originator of the post had commented: “One of those rare moments – usually only when addressing their own crowd – when Zionists are honest about their intentions.”
    It should be noted that the article was followed by a statement which explicitly distanced the newspaper’s editors from the views expressed by Mr Sharon.
  2. On 2nd August 2014, Mr Jones shared a blog post to a Wrexham-based Facebook group. The post included an open letter to then-MP for Aberconwy Guto Bebb, and appears to have been prefaced by the comment: “Guto Bebb MP is without doubt an agent of a foreign power and should be arrested as should the rest of the Zionist MPs of all party’s [sic].” Mr Jones recommended the post, writing: “cracking letter.”
    It should be noted that the blog post in question caused considerable controversy, which eventually led to the blog itself being closed down. The text of the letter purportedly from “C. Thomas” has been preserved elsewhere, although without the preface shown in Mr Jones’ post.
  3. On 9th August 2014, Mr Jones shared a photograph on Facebook of a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event in Chester, which showed an individual holding a placard which read: “Zionism = Nazism” and included a quotation falsely attributed to former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin: “[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs.”
  4. On 8th March 2015, Mr Jones shared a video on Facebook which bore the title: [a] “Going Underground: Friendly dictators, hostility to homeless, & silenced by ‘Jewish power’”.
    The video — part of the ‘Going Underground’ current affairs series produced by the Russian state propaganda site RT featured [circa 22:00] Gilad Atzmon, who has denounced what he calls “the Holocaust religion”: has suggested that burning down a synagogue might be a “rational act”; and has suggested that the Grenfell fire was the work of ‘Jerusalemites’. His claim that Campaign Against Antisemitism fabricated cases of antisemitism for financial gain led to his being successfully sued for libel. The notion of supposed “Jewish power” is a recurrent theme in his writing. Mr Atzmon had been scheduled to perform at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), but the College had cancelled the engagement following expressions of concern brought by members of the local Jewish community. A petition had been created, outlining Mr Atzmon’s long history of antisemitic discourse, although the RNCM stated that their decision to cancel Mr Atzmon’s performance had been made before its creation.
    In the video, Mr Atzmon stated: [b] “The venue was blitzed by a lot of extremist Zionists’ threatening messages…” before going on to suggest that the objections were due to his intention to play a song entitled Gaza, mon amour, saying “it’s a big concern for them”.
    Responding to the interviewer asking how he thought his experience would affect “British artists when they think about criticising Israel”, Mr Atzmon replied: [c] “What I can see is that they try to silence me or to threaten me or to threaten or to terrorise there in Manchester a very famous venue in order to make sure that artists in this country are silenced and don’t express any views that may interfere with their hegemony…I think that it is very important…[that] we are entitled to examine what it is in Israel or Jewish identity that makes AIPAC in America such a powerful lobby…”
    Asked whether he had sympathy for the RNCM, he responded: [d] “I feel that they are to a certain extent a victim in this saga: they were terrorised, bullied by a group of extremist Jews…If a group of die-hard Zionists are terrorising you and your 800 students, this is not an issue with cancellation of Gilad Atzmon gig, this is a national security issue.”
    Mr Jones also shared the video on Twitter.
  5. On 30th June 2020, Mr Jones tweeted a link to a blog post by Councillor Carrie Harper in which she stated: “There would seem over recent years to be a determined attempt by the right in both the UK and US in particular, to label anyone who criticises this Israeli Government policy as ‘anti-semitic’ [sic]. More generally it is in my view, often a rather sinister example of a smoke and mirrors tactic designed to shut down discussion and debate about very real human rights violations.”
    It should be noted that Cllr Harper stated on or around 10th October 2020 (in the Facebook thread recorded in [6]), that this blog was written in response to an article in Nation.Cymru about Sahar Al-Faifi, whose history of antisemitic discourse had become a matter of public record and was reportedly a source of concern both for the Jewish community in Wales and for current and prospective members of the Welsh Assembly.
  6. On 10th October 2020, an article was posted by the Nation.Cymru news site on its own Facebook page, entitled “Adam Price should take a leaf out of Keir Starmer’s book and show he is serious on anti-semitism [sic]”, criticising the party for its failure to take action against would-be Welsh Assembly candidate Sahar Al-Faifi. Mr Jones commented: [a] “Criticism of the state of Israel is NOT anti semetic [sic] and neither is support for a two state solution and opposition to Israeli seizures of Palestinian homes.”
    Another contributor commented: [b] “Don’t make the same mistake as Corbyn and try to appease the Israeli them out and make it 100% clear that to critisise [sic] the STATE of Israel is not antisemitic no matter how much they’ll try to spin it as antisemitic!” Mr Jones ‘liked’ this.


Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis is that Mr Jones’s actions and statements amount to breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism and qualify as antisemitic discourse according to our methodology.

By sharing a post in which Zionist Jews were characterised as habitually lying, especially to non-Jews, and in which the view of one individual was presented as representative of the opinion of all Zionist Jews [1]; by sharing a post in which Zionist MPs (which necessarily includes Jews) were characterised as “[agents] of a foreign power” who should be punished as criminals, thereby suggesting that Israel secretly exercised control over British politics [2]; and by sharing a video whose title alluded to the nefarious action of supposed “Jewish power” [4a], in which it was claimed that Jews would try to “silence”, “threaten” or “terrorise” those who attempted to “interfere with their hegemony” and that there was something in “Jewish identity” which made Jewish groups powerful [4c], and in which British Jews were characterised as “[extremists]” who were a danger to national security [4d], Mr Jones was making, or disseminating material which was making “mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

By sharing a post in which Zionist MPs in all political parties (which necessarily includes Jewish MPs) were characterised as “[agents] of a foreign power” who should be subject to arrest [2], he was using “Zionist” as a term of abuse, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” and sharing material which was “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”

By sharing an image in which it was stated that “Zionism = Nazism” in the context of a pro-Palestinian event [3], he was “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

By sharing a video in which it was claimed that British Jews calling for the boycott of an individual on account of his egregious and well-documented antisemitism were, in fact, doing so because they objected to the pro-Palestinian content of one of his songs [4b]; by sharing a blog alleging that claims of antisemitism are made indiscriminately against “anyone who criticises this Israeli Government policy” and that this was “a rather sinister example of a smoke and mirrors tactic” which was “designed to shut down discussion” [5]; by responding to an article which criticised the action of Plaid Cymru in failing to discipline an individual with an acknowledged history of antisemitic discourse by suggesting that her comments had merely been “criticism of the State of Israel”, thereby bringing into question the motives of those members of the Jewish community who had objected to her discourse [6a]; and by endorsing a statement which characterised those who made claims of antisemitism in the Labour Party (which necessarily includes Jews) as “Israeli apologists” who were making false claims [6b], he was deploying, or endorsing and disseminating material which deployed the so-called ‘Livingstone Formulation, by accusing Jews who cite evidence of antisemitism of lying, conspiring or having deceitful motives in doing so, when there is clear evidence that there have been breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism. This further constitutes “making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews…” under the definition.

We further note that the report of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) following its statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party, in which Campaign Against Antisemitism was the complainant, includes a section entitled “Types of antisemitic conduct that amounted to unlawful harassment” with a subsection entitled “Suggesting that complaints of antisemitism are fake or smears”. This subsection states that: “Labour Party agents denied antisemitism in the Party and made comments dismissing complaints as ‘smears’ and ‘fake’. This conduct may target Jewish members as deliberately making up antisemitism complaints to undermine the Labour Party, and ignores legitimate and genuine complaints of antisemitism in the Party. These comments went beyond simply describing the agents’ own personal experience of antisemitism in the Party.”

Additionally, in its report, the EHRC made clear that its judgements apply to all political parties and emphasised that the European Convention on Human Rights does not protect racist speech, which may include antisemitic speech.

On this basis, the EHRC found that denying antisemitism in the Labour Party and making comments dismissing complaints as “smears” or “fake” — such as allegations  that complaints of antisemitism are “part of a smear campaign by ‘the Israel lobby’ to stigmatise critics of Israel as antisemitic, and … intended to undermine and disrupt the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn MP” — are not protected by the fundamental right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In other words, such comments are not protected as freedom of speech at all, but amount to unlawful harassment of Jewish people.

Furthermore, the EHRC specified certain examples of antisemitic conduct which would be unlawful on the same basis within the relevant context.

Mr Jones’s comments in which he deploys the so-called ‘Livingstone Formulation as described above; his dissemination of material accusing British Jews of greater loyalty to Israel than Britain [2]; and his dissemination of material referencing “Jewish power” [4] appear, under our analysis, to be captured within the examples given in the EHRC’s report.

Moreover, by deploying the so-called ‘Livingstone Formulation as described above; by disseminating material accusing British Jews of greater loyalty to Israel than Britain [2]; and by disseminating material referencing “Jewish power” [4], Mr Jones, as an agent of his Party, may therefore have caused Plaid Cymru to breach equality legislation.


At the time of writing, on 9th December 2020, we do not know whether any disciplinary action has been taken by Plaid Cymru against Mr Jones.

In December 2020, Campaign Against Antisemitism put this matter to both Mr Jones and Plaid Cymru. Mr Jones did not respond, but a Plaid Cymru spokesperson said: “Plaid Cymru is committed to building a Wales where all members of society feel safe and valued, and we are completely opposed to any form of discrimination.”


Campaign Against Antisemitism has rated the Party’s handling of this matter as “bad”. Our rating system is explained in our methodology. This case was last updated on 1st Monthember 2019.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has rated the Party’s handling of this matter as “unsatisfactory”. Our rating system is explained in our methodology. This case was last updated on 1st Monthember 2019.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has rated the Party’s handling of this matter as “good”. Our rating system is explained in our methodology. This case was last updated on 1st Monthember 2019.