(JTA) — Remarks by a leading city official in Cardiff, Wales, dismissing Hamas attacks as “toy rockets” have spurred calls for his resignation or dismissal.
The Israeli honorary consul for Wales and the opposition leader of the Cardiff City Council have demanded that Ali Ahmed, the deputy lord mayor of the Wales capital and a councilman, step down over remarks he made at an Aug. 30 “No NATO” rally held in Newport, Wales, according to a report by WalesOnline.
In his remarks, which were posted online, Ahmed declared, “The Palestinians — they complain they’re throwing rockets. They’re toy rockets!”
He also said, “We all talk about democracy. When Hamas was elected in Palestine, we said no. Where’s the democracy stance here?” Ahmed closed by twice saying “Freedom for Palestine.”
Ahmed was introduced at the rally as the deputy lord mayor of Cardiff but opened by declaring that he was speaking in a personal capacity. The rally was held in advance of the NATO 2014 Summit on Sept. 4-5.
Philip Kaye, a Cardiff businessman who serves as Israel’s honorary consul in Wales, said, “To refer to the rockets launched against Israel as ‘toy rockets’ is appalling,” according to WalesOnline. “One of them killed a 4-year-old child.”
In an email to the Cardiff City Council chief executive, Kaye reportedly said that Ahmed “should step down immediately from his post or be dismissed.”
Judith Woodman, the leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats on the City Council, likewise called for Ahmed to resign or be fired, noting that his opposition to the NATO summit was contrary to the council’s official support.
Ahmed told WalesOnline, “I made it clear that I was speaking at the rally in a personal capacity, and not as Deputy Lord Mayor. As a citizen of this country I have a right to express my views.”