Analysis comment

Newbon’s fans cry foul at uni disciplinary – but he helped try to get academics sacked

Deceased anti-left, pro-Israel agitator and his pals targeted academics – including Michael Rosen and others – while he was alive, but after his death his supporters claim it’s unacceptable that anyone complained to Newbon’s university employers about his dangerous smears

The pro-Israel right’s smear assault against renowned Jewish author Michael Rosen continues, including attempts to link him – against the evidence – to the death of anti-left activist Dr Pete Newbon, who was ruled in April to have committed suicide in early 2022 after a row with his wife. The coroner at the inquest into Newbon’s death made no link whatever between Newbon’s suicide and Rosen’s justified anger at Newbon’s abuse of his work.

Newbon’s former colleagues in the ‘Labour against Antisemitism’ (LAAS) attack group also vilified Rosen well before Newbon’s death, attempted to have the BBC sack him and even in at least one case suggested they might have physically attacked him given the chance. One person who was cited as being a ‘consultant’ for LAAS has been convicted of threatening behaviour toward left-wing supporters of Palestinian human rights and has reportedly turned up, with associates, on a number of occasions at children’s events organised by Jewish organisations where Rosen was reading poems and stories.

Since his death, Newbon’s fans have tried to portray him as a Jewish saint, even though he was, according to at least one report in the Jewish press, not Jewish – and was being sued by James Wilson, a victim of his smears whose life and safety were put in danger by the lies Newbon and others told about him.

And a part of the smear campaign against Rosen has been faux-outrage at the idea that Rosen dared to complain to Northumbria University – where Newbon worked and whose details he included on his social media profile – about Newbon’s foul smear bastardising Rosen’s work to attack both former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Michael Rosen himself.

But the outrage is very definitely ‘faux’ – because Newbon and his chums were themselves eagerly trying to get academics they disliked sacked for saying anything they could use against them.

At some point after his death, Newbon’s Twitter account was locked and his posts cannot now be viewed by the public. However, a reply to Newbon on the social media platform by a right-wing account set up to attack any academic who dares challenge the right’s antisemitism smear campaign shows clearly that Newbon himself was happily ‘grassing up’ those he disagreed with to their employers:

A thread by the so-called ‘University Antisemitism Map’ shows Newbon was trying to help have fellow academics sacked – and the quoted tweet is by another LAAS figure who separately appeared to indicate he would have physically attacked Michael Rosen when he saw him in person, had the would-be attacker’s wife not been with him

Newbon was not the only enthusiastic participant in this attempt to obtain the sacking of a left-wing academic whose ‘crime’ had been to say he hated both antisemitism and false accusations of antisemitism:

Others had, fortunately, refuted the nonsensical accusations – and the targeted academic had been forced to report the ‘map’ account to the social media provider because of its smears and lies:

And the troll account’s foul ‘map’ website shows the extent of the vile – and hypocritical – attempt to remove academics up and down the country who dare to challenge the narrative of pro-Israeli pressure groups:

And, oh the irony, the ‘Uni AS map’ attempts to smear a professor – apparently himself Jewish – who worked at the same Northumbria University as Newbon:

The Jewish professor’s supposed crime was to sign an open letter condemning attacks and smears against Jewish people who didn’t agree with the pro-Israel right’s narrative.

Far from being the ‘saint’ he is posthumously portrayed as by his right-wing fans, Newbon was a serial troll and defamer who had been repeatedly disciplined by Northumbria to the point of a final warning before his death – and who, at the time of his death, was facing massive damages and legal costs, in a case he and his accomplices were losing, for posting lies and smears that had put victim James Wilson in physical danger.

And the evidence shows that, for all the protestations of his cheerleaders now about the unfairness of complaining to Northumbria about the atrocious conduct of a serial offender who had been disciplined several times by his employer, Newbon and his right-wing fellow-travellers were more than happy to do exactly the same, on far less grounds, to anyone they didn’t like or whose views were a threat to the antisemitism smear narrative.

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