Lib Dem hopeful for London mayor dumped by party after ‘don’t vote for a Jew’ diatribe surfaces

The UK’s Liberal Democrats have suspended Geeta Sidhu Robb after old footage emerged of her making anti-Semitic remarks in public. She was among the final two candidates for the party’s nomination to run for London mayor in 2021.

The lawyer-turned-nutritionist coach is of South Asian extraction and ran for Parliament in Blackburn in 1997. During that election, she was filmed by a BBC documentary crew saying she would “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?” 

She made good on that promise, too, as the very next scene shows her driving through Blackburn with a megaphone, saying “Jews are the enemies of Muslims” in Urdu. 

The documentary made it clear her action was a “furious” response to Labour’s campaign telling Blackburn residents she was “not Muslim” and “against Islam,” though she was married to a Muslim at the time.  

“This is making it racist, it’s making it personal,” she said. “So, we are just going to pull the gloves off.”

Though the documentary aired at Christmas in 1997 and has been available on YouTube since 2017, the incident became problematic after Sidhu Robb was shortlisted for the LibDem mayoral nomination last week.

Sidhu Robb tweeted out an apology on Sunday evening, saying she was “deeply ashamed of the ignorant and abusive language I used on one occasion,” regretting her “abhorrent actions” and arguing she was now “committed to eradicating inequality and discrimination in all its forms.”

It did not save her from suspension by the party, however. “The Liberal Democrats take all allegations of this nature extremely seriously. A complaint has been received by the party and will be actioned in accordance with our processes,” a party spokesperson said. 

Straw, who had held the Blackburn seat since 1997, beat Sidhu Robb in that election and went on to serve in Labour cabinets under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for the next 13 years. He retired from Parliament in 2015. 

Despite his own partial Jewish heritage, Straw was accused of anti-Semitism himself. An Israeli politician accused him of “prejudice of the worst kind” in 2013, after Straw criticized the influence of American Jewish organizations on US foreign policy.

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