Tony Greenstein | 20 February 2021 | Post Views:

Defend Bristol University’s Professor David Miller – Defend Academic Freedom – Defend Free Speech

 It is no coincidence that as soon as Oxford and Bristol Universities Adopted the IHRA that the Zionists Came for Ken Loach and David Miller


Last Saturday the newly formed Labour Campaign for Free Speech held its inaugural conference.  Among the invited speakers was Professor David Miller of Bristol University.

David was one of a number of speakers including Chris Williamson, the former Labour MP, Norman Finkelstein and Ronnie Kasrils, the Jewish former ANC Minister.

Quite understandably the Israel/Zionist lobby in this country were perturbed by the event. Targeting free speech has become a key priority for them. It is, after all, the only means of defending Apartheid Israel. Their chosen instrument being the IHRA misdefinition of anti-Semitism.


Bristol University in adopting the IHRA recently has all but invited the attack on David Miller. The IHRA is a definition whose sole purpose has become closing down free speech on Palestine and Zionism. It has absolutely nothing to do with anti-Semitism as has been traditionally understood. Indeed it is arguable that the definition itself is anti-Semitic because on the one hand its illustrations say that ‘Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel’ is anti-Semitic and on the other hand it also speaks of Israel as ‘a Jewish collectivity’ and says that ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination’ is anti-Semitic.

Clearly if Israel is a Jewish collectivity and the expression of Jews’ right to self-determination then it cannot possibly be anti-Semitic to hold them responsible for its actions. Would anyone say that it was racist to hold British people who supported the Iraq War responsible for the actions of the British army?

This is why some of the biggest supporters of the IHRA are anti-Semites. Donald Trump, who combined White Supremacism, anti-Semitism and ardent Zionism in equal measures, applied the IHRA through Executive Order. As Vanity Fair observed

Prior to being elected, Trump seemed to suggest to a room full of Jews that they buy off politicians; tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton’s face atop a pile of cash next to the Star of David and the phrase, “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!”; and released an ad featuring the faces of powerful Jewish people with a voiceover about them being part of a “global power structure” that has “robbed our working class” and “stripped our country of its wealth.” After moving into the White House, and just a few short months following his assertion that he is the least anti-Semitic person to walk the earth, Trump refused to condemn neo-Nazis and, just last August, accused American Jews of being “disloyal” to Israel by voting for Democrats.

This was before saying that Jews “don’t love Israel enough” after which he dived straight into a stereotype about how Jews loved money and power. Trump is not alone. Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary is also a supporter of the IHRA. The same Orban who waged an anti-Semitic election campaign in 2017 against the ‘globalist’ George Soros and who considers Hungary’s pro-Nazi leader Admiral Horthy, who presided over the deportation of Hungary’s Jews to Auschwitz as an ‘exceptional statesman’.

The IHRA has been heavily criticised by a host of academics and jurists such as Geoffrey Robertson QC, the noted human rights barrister, who termed itunfit for purpose’. Even its author, Kenneth Stern, stated in testimony to Congress that the way the IHRA was being used, through its use in Title VI cases could ‘only help to chill, if not suppress, their political speech’.

Stern singled out for attention a particularly ‘egregious’ case in which the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism had called for the dismissal of another Bristol University lecturer, Rachel Gould (who is Jewish) for having written an article ‘beyond anti-Semitism’ in which she looked at the way the holocaust was being used by Israel’s supporters to defend its repressive occupation of the West Bank.

David Miller’s Real ‘Crimes’

What then were the heinous ‘crimes’ of David Miller that caused the combined weight of Britain’s Zionist groups to call for his dismissal? Perhaps David praised the Nazis or told us how the Protocols of the Elder of Zion were true? Or maybe he used his 10 minute speech to expound on the finer points of the International Jewish Conspiracy Theory? Well according to the President of the Board, Marie van der Zyl, Miller’s speech “would not look out of place on the pages of Der Sturmer”, a Nazi tabloid.

According to the Jewish ChronicleBristol University professor calls for ‘end’ of Zionism as ‘functioning ideology of the world’. The Jewish News reported that ‘Action urged over Bristol academic who called to ‘end Zionism as an ideology’. In other words his ‘crimes’ were political.

David Miller was also accused of attacking Jewish students because he criticised Bristol J-Soc which has been waging a campaign of harassment against him for two years and the Union of Jewish Students nationally. Did he advocate boycotting Jewish students on campus? Or attacking them physically? Perhaps he advocated the measures that Poland took pre-1939 when Jewish students were confined to ‘ghetto benches’ i.e. separated from non-Jewish students?

If so then I would be the first to call for David’s dismissal. But what did he actually say? According to the Jewish Chronicle his offence was to say that

“The ‘Jewish student groups’ […] are political lobby groups overseen by the Union of Jewish Students, which is constitutionally bound to promoting Israel.

“There is a real question of abuse here — of Jewish students on British campuses being used as political pawns by a violent, racist foreign regime engaged in ethnic cleansing.

“The UJS’ lobbying for Israel is a threat to the safety of Arab and Muslim students as well as of Jewish students and indeed of all critics of Israel.”

Like me you might be slightly puzzled at the combined Zionist attacks on David Miller. Try as I might I can’t find anything in the least anti-Semitic in what he said. David talks about UJS, which is funded by the Israeli state being a

threat to the safety of Arab and Muslim students as well as of Jewish students and indeed of all critics of Israel.”

It is a strange anti-Semite who is concerned about the safety of Jewish students! David Miller is absolutely correct. The Constitution of UJS states under ‘Objects’ paragraph 2.1.1.

Creating meaningful Jewish campus experiences and inspiring Jewish students to make an enduring commitment to their Jewish identity, Israel, and the community.

UJS is affiliated to the World Zionist Organisation which is responsible for the apartheid structures of the Israeli state including its settlement expansion. Ha’aretz, a liberal Zionist newspaper, spoke of its land theft division writing that

It’s time to investigate, and then shut down, this quasi-governmental agency, which steals both state and private Palestinian lands to realize its sacred goal of settlement construction

This is the racist body responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians yet the Union of Jewish Students are affiliated to it.

The truth is that Jewish students who are anti-Zionists or non-Zionists wouldn’t go within a mile of the average J-Soc. Indeed they would not be eligible to join.

David Miller called for an end to Zionism. So do many Jews. There is nothing anti-Semitic in this. Zionism is a political movement and ideology. The first Zionists weren’t even Jewish but Christian anti-Semites such as Lord Shaftesbury and Arthur Balfour who saw in Zionism a means to be rid of their unwanted Jews. Shaftesbury opposed Jewish Emancipation holding that if Jews wanted to stand for office they should do so in their own state. Balfour introduced Britain’s first immigration law the Aliens Act in 1905 in order that Britain could turn away Jewish refugees from Czarist Russia.

Jews and Zionism

The overwhelming reaction of Jews to the early Zionist movement was one of unremitting hostility. It was only the actions of Hitler and the holocaust that caused a majority of Jews to become Zionist.

As Isaac Deutscher, the biographer of Leon Trotsky, wrote in ‘The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays’

‘to the Jewish workers anti-Semitism seemed to triumph in Zionism, which recognised the legitimacy and the validity of the old cry ‘Jews get out!’ The Zionists were agreeing to get out.’

Similarly the bourgeois anti-Zionist, Lucien Wolf, Secretary of the Conjoint Foreign Committee of the Board explained regarding the Zionist belief that Jews belonged in their own stated that:

I have spent most of my life in combating these very doctrines, when presented to me in the form of anti-Semitism, and I can only regard them as the more dangerous when they come to me in the guise of Zionism. They constitute a capitulation to our enemies.’

To most Jews pre-Hitler Zionism was a form of Jewish anti-Semitism.

Can there be any more blatant attack on free speech than the calls to dismiss David Miller? What would happen if there was a call to dismiss a reactionary academic who called for the end of Communism? The Tories would explode in indignation. Gavin Williamson would pontificate about freedom of speech but when it comes to Zionism this advocate of ‘free speech’ remains curiously silent.

The only possible justification for the attacks on David Miller as anti-Semitic is that Zionism is the equivalent of being Jewish. In other words it is assumed that but for a handful of ‘Jewish self-haters’ and the ‘wrong sort’ of Jews, all Jews are Zionists.

The conflation of being Jewish and Zionist is an anti-Semitic canard or trope in the language of the Zionists. Those who argue that being Jewish and Zionist are one and the same are arguing that Jews are therefore responsible for the actions of Israel, a state whose ideology is Zionism. Ironically it is that which is anti-Semitic.

David Miller’s criticism of UJS is wholly warranted. UJS is a Zionist not a Jewish organisation or more precisely a Zionist Jewish organisation. In the words of Liron Velleman, UJS’s Campaign Organiser

We are a proud Zionist organisation, supporting Jewish students to develop their own personal relationship with Israel and embolden them to feel comfortable discussing it on campus.

What does Zionism mean in practice?  Well B’Tselem, the largest Israeli human rights organisation has recently made its position crystal clear.  Israel is a Jewish Supremacist Apartheid Society.

If you have any doubt about this then watch these 2 videos.  One from the Palestinian solidarity group Makan and another is what happened when an Israeli Arab citizens had a picnic on the West Bank.  Not only did a group of settlers tell them they were not allowed there, because they weren’t Jewish, but when the Israeli army was called, the soldiers enforced the wishes of the settlers. No one from the army has been punished for this and no one will be punished because racism against Palestinians and Arabs is part of Israel’s DNA.

This is Zionism and this is what UJS supports and this what the calls for the dismissal of David Miller are about. Let us be absolutely clear that those who are calling for the sacking of David Miller are calling for an end to academic freedom in Britain and for the policing of speech by academics and students.

The Community Security Trust and Islamaphobia

That Zionist groups such as the Community Security Trust, whose remit is allegedly the safety of the Jewish community, are calling for the dismissal of Miller demonstrates that all these Zionist organisations are singing from the same hymn sheet.

The CST protests that at David Miller’s claim that parts of the Zionist movement are Islamaphobic is anti-Semitic. Can there be any doubt that Israel is viciously anti-Muslim? There are a plethora of pro-Zionist organisations that are also Islamaphobic such as the Gatestone Institute and the Henry Jackson Society. No better example of this phenomenon was there than Donald Trump himself.

Zionism and the Far-Right

Who can forget the flying of an Israeli flag outside Capitol Hill on January 6th alongside the Confederate flag and an assorted group of neo-Nazis and White Supremacists? Our own fascist groups such as the EDL fly the Israeli flag at demonstrations. Tommy Robinson and his Football Lads Alliance have worked closely with a group of far-Right Zionists led by Jonathan Hoffman, a former vice chair of the Zionist Federation without any criticism from the Board. That darling of the far-Right, Katie Hopkins, was a guest at an Israeli Embassy dinner and had her picture taken with the Ambassador Mark Regev.

The Shameful Response of Bristol University

What is disappointing is the utter failure of the Bristol University to defend Professor Miller. The University has said they “do not endorse the comments made by Professor David Miller about our Jewish students”. Where is the defence of academic freedom?

Their comment to the Jewish Chronicle that ‘We are speaking to JSoc, Bristol SU and UCU about how we can address students’ concerns swiftly, ensuring that we also protect the rights of our staff.’ is disgraceful. Nothing Miller said is in the least a threat to Jewish students and to imply otherwise is a betray of the legal duty of mutual trust and confidence which underlies every employment relationship.

Chris Williamson has written an excellent letter to Professor Hugh Brady, the Vice-Chancellor of Bristol University. I can only suggest that you also write to Bradey at:

The University of Bristol, Beacon House, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1QU OR

email him at [email protected]

Other people at  Bristol University to email are:

Prof Sarah Purdy     Pro VC (Student Experience)          [email protected]

Prof. Tansy Jessop Pro VC (Education) [email protected]

Mr Jack Boyer Chair, Board of Trustees [email protected]

Dr Moira Hamlin Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees [email protected]

Judith Squires Provost [email protected]

Jane Bridgwater Director of Legal Services [email protected]

Prof. Simon Tormey Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences [email protected]

                                 and Law

Perhaps the most disgusting response of all comes from the scab ‘Labour’ MP Thangam Debonair @thangamMP who has condemned what she calls the ‘appalling behaviour’ of David Miller for exercising his right to freedom of speech. You have to wonder. Do these New Labour MPs have any principles? Does Thangam, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and all the other Labour racists have no commitment to the most basic principles of a democratic society? Wherein the principles of John Stuart Mill and Voltaire?

Let us be clear of one things.

We will not allow Bristol University to make Professor David Miller a sacrificial victim on the altar of Zionism.

Please Sign and Share the Petition Supporting David Miller. There are already 2 Zionist petitions up calling for his dismissal.

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Tony Greenstein

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