Professor David Miller of Bristol University has just been dismissed by Bristol University DESPITE a favourable Report from a QC that the University hired. In a statement the university admitted that:
an independent report from a leading Queen’s Counsel who considered the important issue of academic freedom of expression (and) found that Professor Miller’s comments did not constitute unlawful speech.
That should have been an end to the matter. But Bristol University was under enormous pressure to dismiss David regardless of what he had said by the Israel Lobby and its echo chambers in Parliament. Quite disgracefully Green MP Caroline Lucas, and Socialist Campaign Group MP Kim Johnson put their names to a statement demanding that Bristol University ‘act now’ and dismiss David Miller. It is therefore important to see what David did actually say:
‘The enemy we face here is Zionism and the imperial policies of the Israeli state… an all out onslaught by the Israeli government on the left… it is how we defeat the ideology of Zionism in practice. How do we ensure that Zionism is ended… how we end the material reality of the jackboot of Zionism on the neck of the Palestinians…
I’ve been attacked and complained about by the head of the Bristol J Soc along with the President of the Union of Jewish Students, both of which organisations are formally members of the Zionist movement. J-Socs are part of the UJS, UJS is a member of the World UJS which is a direct member of the World Zionist Organisation. In its constitution UJS mention being pro-Israel. [Davidmentions similar attacks on other academics at Warwick and other universities against anyone speaking out about the Palestinians or criticising Zionism]… We have to fight back against that and the way to do that is to organise proper debate.’
David called for an end to Zionism, the ideology of the Israeli state. A state which has been conclusively found by both B’Tselem Israel’s principal human rights organisation, and Human Rights Watch to be a Jewish Supremacist, Apartheid state. A State described by its own Prime Minister, Netanyahu as being a state, not of its own citizens but of its Jewish citizens.
David also criticised the attacks of the Union of Jewish Students and the head of Bristol’s J-Soc, ‘liar’ Edward Isaacs on him. David pointed out that UJS is an Israeli funded Zionist organisation that is affiliated to the World Zionist Organisation. It is a body that only represents Jewish students who are also racists/Zionists.
In my blog on UJS I described how in 1986 UJS had attempted to stop me speaking at the London School of Economics by making false accusations against me. At that time my ‘anti-Semitism’ included being a member of the Executive of Anti-Fascist Action, a number of whom testified that the allegations were rubbish. When LSE’s Labour Club investigated UJS’s allegations they were found wanting. LSE J‑Soc then accused the Labour Club of ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘fascism’!
The whole story is described in the lettersand Report in Beaver, paper of the LSE Student Union in its issue of 10 November 1986. James Paget described how a friend was accosted by 5-6 Zionists: ‘When he turned around he was greeted with a viciousness I have rarely seen.’ When Paget defended him he too was labelled a fascist. Paget described how his friend
Has been a supporter of anti-fascist organisations since he was 16 and he has been a strong and fervent activist against all forms of racism. To accuse someone who has fought so clearly and consistently against racism of being a racist naturally causes great distress and I can only describe it as disgusting. My friend was apparently abused because he was involved in the Labour Club’s examination of the Tony Greenstein affair.’
The Labour Club Executive issued a statement which casts a light on what is now happening in Bristol.
Regarding the Friends of Palestine meeting with Tony Greenstein the Labour Club was approached by several members of the UJS. We contacted several national organisations for information about Tony Greenstein and as a result produced a leaflet with the two contradictory accounts of his views and activities. We distributed this outside of the meeting where a speech was made condemning the Labour Club for being racist and anti-Semitic. The members who heard this left in a distressed state after the insults and the ruthless accusations.
One of the Labour Club members who had left earlier was approached in Houghton St. by several members of the UJS who proceeded to insult him publicly, calling him a racist, anti-Semitic, fascist. He was deeply distressed and grossly insulted as he has been involved in anti-fascist groups for nearly 10 years.
We are firmly opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. We utterly condemn this slanderous public intimidation of members of our club.
I also described in an article Vetting in Practice for the Guardian’s Comment is Free, the experience of Emma Clyne, the non-Zionist Chair of the J-Soc at SOAS. Emma described the ‘intense pressure’ from UJS when she tried to organise a meeting:
This led to a furious reaction from UJS which told her: “That’s not what the Jewish Society does. You can’t separate Israeli politics from Jewish identity. It is all the same.”
The antagonism reached a peak after she went to the launch of Independent Jewish Voices in 2007 and found the speakers “honest articulate and inspirational.” When she invited some of the speakers [like Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC] to a meeting at SOAS to discuss “the impact of nationalism on Jewish identity” the pressure on her increased, and she was told that UJS and the Israeli Embassy were very concerned about the meeting.
According to… Emma Clyne, posters for a meeting the society put on were repeatedly torn down. Ms Clyne told a meeting of Independent Jewish Voices on May 15 that she had to put new ones up every day.
The Chair of UJS, Mitch Simmons, said ‘”It is the view of the UJS that certain views are not acceptable under free speech.” This is what UJS really stand for, then and now. You can see the full article here.
UJS is an organisation dedicated to opposing free speech on Palestine and Zionism. Bristol University has just succumbed to their pressure. It is our job to oppose them and secure the reinstatement of David Miller. The first thing you can do is to sign this petition