Top UK Jewish Group Praises Liberal Democrats for Withdrawing London Mayoral Candidate Caught Using Antisemitic Language in Past
A top UK Jewish group praised the Liberal Democrat party on Monday for suspending one of its candidates for mayor of London after she was found to have used antisemitic rhetoric two decades ago.
An expose in PoliticsHome revealed that Geeta Sidhu-Robb made antisemitic comments while running for parliament in 1997 against former Labour MP Jack Straw, who has distant Jewish ancestry.
After being offended by negative campaigning, Sidhu-Robb was caught on video saying, “I am going to get a car and walk around, and drive through town telling everyone Jack Straw is a Jew. How is a Muslim going to vote for someone who is Jewish?”
Footage showed her driving through the area with a megaphone shouting in Urdu, “Don’t vote for a Jew, Jack Straw is a Jew. If you vote for him, you’re voting for a Jew. Jews are the enemies of Muslims.”
After the video emerged, Sidhu-Robb said she was “deeply ashamed” of what she had said, calling it “ignorant and abusive.”
On Sunday, a spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats stated, “Geeta Sidhu-Robb has been suspended from the Liberal Democrats and will not be on the ballot paper to the Liberal Democrat candidate for mayor of London.”
“There is an investigation underway in accordance with due process,” the spokesperson added.
Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl praised the Liberal Democrats for moving so quickly to suspend Sidhu-Robb.
“The antisemitic comments discovered to have been made by Ms. Sidhu-Robb, one of the Liberal Democrats’ proposed candidates for the Mayor of London, were despicable,” she said.
“We were heartened, however, to see that within hours of the story breaking, the Party suspended her and made it clear she would not be on the ballot paper,” Van der Zyl stated.
Sidhu-Robb said that she was now “actively reaching out to the Jewish community to listen and learn.”
“I particularly wish to acknowledge the hurt that these comments and actions would have inflicted on members of the Jewish community and of a Jewish heritage,” she emphasized. “Please know that my regret is sincere.”