A University of Plymouth professor defended a Labour activist who railed against the "Jewish problem" and claimed the number murdered the Holocaust was exaggerated for "political reasons", the JC has learned.
Prof Judith Rowbotham, a visiting research fellow and member of the university's Law Department, leapt to the defence of Robin Scott, who resigned from the party rather than face an investigation about his postings on social media.
He had claimed in various posts that last year’s Pittsburgh synagogue attack was “blowback” for Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, that there was a "Jewish problem we need to confront honestly” and that wanting to "re-evaluate" the Shoah was not "antisemitic, it’s just open-minded and objective".
After he posted to Facebook a photo of his resignation letter and the letter that confirmed he was suspended, Prof Rowbotham wrote: "Congratulations Robin on remaining true to your principles and refusing to be bullied.”
In a follow-up message, Prof Rowbotham, a published author, added: "Robin is my cousin, I have known him all my life.
“I know he is not by any valid definition a racist (and I as an academic, a professor of law indeed, am bloody pedantic about the precision of definitions).
“I do not always agree with him by any means - but what appals me is the kind of attempt to shut down debate that your comment and the original letter represents.
“ I am with Voltaire and will continue to defend to the death the right to express views I do not agree with as part of healthy debate. So please do not try this kind of moral bullying on me.”
The JC has learned that among the complaints against Mr Scott was a Facebook post he made in which he said he had “seen more and more information recently that we seriously need to re-evaluate both the Jewish holocaust and the German holocaust that followed it.S"This isn’t antisemitic, it’s just open-minded and objective.”
Referring to “the current behaviour of Zionist Israel”, he wrote: “Quite simply, if this is how Jews behave then I am hardly surprised they have been kicked out of so many countries over the centuries.”
In his resignation letter, Mr Scott, who has a Jewish grandparent, said he was “proudly pro-Semitic and anti-Zionist” and said he had donated hundreds of pounds to Labour and Momentum to support Jeremy Corbyn.”
Describing his suspension letter as a “libel”, he then attacked the “Zionist alliance of Israel and the US and their goal of global hegemony is the root cause of all the war and suffering in the Middle East”.
Following last week’s terrorist atrocity in New Zealand a post on Mr Scott's Facebook page reads: “France, Belgium, Spain (Barcelona), Sweden and other countries also suffered from terrorist acts not long after recognising Palestine....”
The JC has contacted the university for comment.
Prof Rowbotham said: "I do stand by my post giving him support him on the grounds that (certainly as I read it) the tactics adopted by the Labour Party were bullying and as someone who deeply disapproves of bullying and sees it as unprincipled, I congratulated Robin then and do so now on resigning rather than endorsing the tactics adopted by remaining within that party.
"As a final point, I should add that I am not now, and have never been a member of any UK political party. “