A major British political party in the United Kingdom has suspended a candidate running for mayor of London who was filmed in 1997 telling voters not to support a Jew.
The Liberal Democrats suspended Geeta Sidhu-Robb, who was vying to become their candidate in London’s 2021 mayoral elections, the Jewish News of London reported.
Over the weekend, a video emerged on Twitter showing her during her 1997 general election campaign for the constituency of Blackburn in northern England. In that campaign, Sidhu-Robb was running as a member of the Conservative Party against Jack Straw, a former Labour lawmaker.
“Don’t vote for a Jew. Jack Straw is a Jew. If you vote for him you’re voting for a Jew,” Sidhu-Robb is seen saying in Urdu into a loudspeaker in Blackburn.
In the video, taken from a documentary about the 1997 elections, Sidhu-Robb explains that she decided on this tactic because her rival’s campaign staffers were saying she’s “against Islam,” making the issue “racist, it’s making it personal.”
So, she added, “we’re going to get the gloves off” and “get a car drive to round through town telling everybody Jack Straw’s a Jew.”
Sidhu-Robb later said she regretted that action, and this week she apologized, writing on Twitter: “I am deeply ashamed of the ignorant and abusive language.”
Straw has himself denied past accusations of antisemitism after he reportedly said during a 2013 debate in the British parliament that the greatest obstacles to peace between Israel and the Palestinians and her Arab neighbors are the “unlimited” funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US, as well as Germany’s “obsession” with defending Israel.
In a statement, the country’s EJC affiliate, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, welcomed the decisions of the Liberal Democrats. Marie van der Zyl, Board of Deputies President said: “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. 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.”