Tony Greenstein | 23 February 2021 | Post Views:

Open Letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Bristol University, Professor Hugh Brady – It’s Your Job To Defend Academic Freedom not appease racists

David Miller is not the first Bristol University lecturer to have been targeted by the Zionists – the last time it was a Jewish Professor, Rachel Gould

Board of Deputies Member Robert Festenstein appears in a Tommy Robinson propaganda Video

Below is a letter that I have written to Bristol University’s Vice-Chancellor, Hugh Brady, with copies to other senior administrators. Please consider writing yourself because you can be sure that if there is one thing that the Zionists are good at it is getting a letter campaign together.

Also if you are Jewish please sign this letter and everyone please sign this petition. At the moment the Zionists have more than twice as many signatories.

Professor Hugh Brady,
The University of Bristol,
Beacon House,
Queens Road
Bristol BS8 1QU

Email to: [email protected]

Dear Professor Brady,

For the past 2 years Professor David Miller has been subjected to a relentless campaign of vilification by Zionist groups, both on and off campus. In the past week, following his speech at a conference of the Labour Campaign for Free Speech, these attacks have reached a crescendo.

The mob attack on David has been led by those well known anti-racist papers, the Daily Mail and the Jewish Chronicle.

A whole gaggle of Zionist groups have joined in the hue and cry including the Board of Deputies, whose Constitution mandates it to ‘Take such appropriate action as lies within its power to advance Israel’s security, welfare and standing.’

Another group in hot pursuit of David is the far-Right Islamaphobic Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.

Such is the Board of Deputies’s devotion to Israel that it even justified Israel’s use of snipers against unarmed Palestinian demonstrators killing 300 people including 50 children as well as a number of medics.

What was David Miller’s ‘crime’? He called for an end to Zionism. As someone who is Jewish I join him in this call, as do many Jews. There is nothing anti-Semitic in such a call.

Zionism is a political not an ethnic or religious creed. Would it seriously be suggested that someone who calls for an end to socialism, fascism or capitalism be dismissed?

David also pointed out that Jewish student societies are in reality Zionist societies. The Union of Jewish Students, which is the umbrella organisation for all 67 J-Socs in Britain, receives funding from the Israeli Embassy, as Al Jazeera’s The Lobby revealed.

UJS is also affiliated to the World Zionist Organisation, which according to Ha’aretz has a ‘land theft division’. The people whose land it steals are Palestinians.

One of UJS’s ‘core values’ is “engagement with Israel’, which they ‘passionately and proudly’ boast of. Among its Objects is “inspiring students to making an enduring commitment” to Israel.’

No anti-Zionist or anti-racist Jewish student would go within a mile of UJS or their affiliated societies.

In the light of the vicious attacks on David Miller by both the media and pro-Israel groups, the least he is entitled to expect is that Bristol University’s will stand by him and defend free speech.

Yet what has been the response of Bristol’s Administration to date? Have you defended David Miller’s right to speak out on Zionism and Israel without intimidation? No. Instead you have offered to meet David’s student protagonists to discuss the ‘upset’ to them.

Bristol is not located in Israel where people have to be careful what they say. A state where Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was gaoled for writing a poem calling for resistance.

If, 40 years ago, a Bristol University lecturer had called for an end to Apartheid in South Africa and had condemned the attacks on anti-Apartheid activists by supporters of Apartheid on campus, would you have rushed to reassure the racists of your support? That is exactly what you have done to date.

On 12 January 2021 Israel’s most respected human rights organisation B’Tselem, declared that Israel was ‘A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea’ The refusal of Israel to vaccinate 5 million Palestinians whilst inoculating Jewish settlers living in their midst should settle this debate.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated:

“Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and only it.

Sir Stephen Sedley, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, who is himself Jewish, explained that s.43 of the 1986 Education Act places a duty on Bristol to ‘take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees.’

I was one of the organisers of the Free Speech conference at which David Miller spoke. Speaking alongside him was noted American intellectual Norman Finkelstein and Ronnie Kasrils, a Minister in Nelson Mandela’s government. Both of them are Jewish.

Trump exhibits his signing of an Executive Order enabling use of the IHRA in Title VI cases – anti-Semites have no objection to the IHRA since it’s not about anti-Semitism

The reason why the Board of Deputies and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism have felt emboldened to call for the sacking of academics is because you recently adopted the IHRA misdefinition of anti-Semitism. As Stephen Sedley observed, the IHRA isn’t even a definition, being open ended. Why wasn’t the OED definition of anti-Semitism: ‘hostility to or prejudice against Jews.’ sufficient?

The IHRA contains 11 illustrations of ‘anti-Semitism’, 7 of which are about Israel. Israel is not a Jew and anti-Semitism is not anti-Zionism. Your decision to bow to Zionist pressure previously has led directly to the current attacks on David Miller.

Islamaphobia and Zionism

The organisations  which have been fronting the current attack on David Miller have particularly objected to his linking of Zionist organisations and Islamaphobia. Israel itself is vehemently anti- Muslim. Israel’s liberal Ha’aretz, wrote about how:

‘The rising tide of Islamophobia across the world… provides a backdrop for the hatred of Arabs in present-day Israel. Earlier this month, Channel 8 broadcast the first episode of Ron Cahlili’s documentary series, “Hate,” about the growing loathing for Arabs in Israel. Cahlili shows how the call “Death to the Arabs” moved from the margins to become a ubiquitous ideology that has infiltrated the Israeli mainstream.

Not only have the organisations calling for Professor Miller to be sacked covered for Israel’s Islamaphobia (a plurality of Israeli Jews support the physical expulsion of Israeli Palestinians) but one of the most prominent, the CAA has a long record of inciting racial hatred of Muslims.

In April 2016 the CAA produced a Report British Muslims and Anti-Semitism. Its Introduction spoke of the

‘growing antisemitism amongst British Muslims. On every single count, British Muslims were more likely by far than the general British population to hold deeply antisemitic views. It is clear that many British Muslims reserve a special hatred for British Jews, rating Jews much less favourably than people of other religions or no religion… It has long been suspected that sections of the British Muslim population harboured hatred towards British Jews… the prejudice is horrifyingly widespread.’

On the cover of the Report was a picture of a Black person holding a ‘Hitler was right’ poster. Not content with portraying Muslims as genocidal anti-Semites the CAA also included a profile of a typical Muslim male accompanied by the caption ‘Sympathetic to terrorism, extremism and violence.’ If ‘Jew’ had been substituted for ‘Muslim’ then who could have doubted that this image was anti-Semitic ?

4 years ago another Bristol University academic, Rachel Gould, who was herself Jewish, was subject to a similar campaign to that against David Miller. Dr Gould’s offence had been to write an article ‘Beyond Anti-Semitism’ which described how the memory of the holocaust was being used to deflect criticism of Israel’s racist policies.

The CAA wrote to you demanding that Dr Gould ‘should be required… to publicly retract her article.’ If however she refused to do so then ‘she should be dismissed, and her dismissal should be made public so as to clearly signal the University of Bristol’s values.’ These are the people you are currently appeasing.

Kenneth Stern, an American academic who was the main author of the IHRA, declared in testimony to the US Congress that the CAA’s behaviour was ‘egregious’ and that ‘the exercise itself was chilling and McCarthy-like.’ Instead of sending the CAA away with a flea in their ear Bristol University then conducted an inquiry into this bogus complaint putting Dr Gould under enormous stress. It is little wonder that she departed for Birmingham University soon after.

None of this stopped Sir Eric Pickles, a Cabinet member from describing Gould’s article as ‘one of the worst cases of Holocaust denial”. A claim Bristol Live calledridiculous and inflammatory.’

The CAA has waged similar campaigns against a host of academics, most of them Jewish. Richard Falk, an American emeritus professor at Princeton University and UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian territories was also subject to the CAA’s attentions. The CAA boasted that

following intervention by Campaign Against Antisemitism, the university (Middlesex) has now decided to cancel the event.’ This development comes hours after the University of East London took action to stop another event at which Falk was due to speak.’

Emeritus Professor Moshe Machover of King’s College was also a victim of the CAA’s McCarthyisn. Machover was falsely accused of having ‘accused Jewish students of being under the control of the Israeli embassy’. A similar accusation to that against David Miller.

The CAA’s letter to to Queen Mary College could have been written by Joe McCarthy. They wrote

‘to ascertain why Professor Machover was allowed to speak and lodge a complaint, and have additionally written to King’s College London and the London School of Economics to ascertain his employment status, and request that disciplinary proceedings be instigated.’

The chutzpah (impudence) of an external organisation demanding to know why a distinguished professor was allowed to speak at a university is illustrative of the contempt of Zionist organisations for free speech. You Professor Grady have only encouraged them.

On no occasion have the gaggle of Zionist organisations currently targeting David Miller dissociated themselves from the CAA’s tactics.

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies, in her letter to Bristol University said of Professor Miller that his ‘rants would not look out of place on the pages of Der Sturmer’, a Nazi tabloid.’

Anyone with any acquaintance with Julius Streicher’s rabidly anti-Semitic pornographic paper would know what a malicious smear this is. Yet instead of terminating the correspondence Bristol University has encouraged this type of rancid complaint, stating that:

“We have received a significant number of calls for Professor David Miller to be dismissed.

“UK law requires that we, like all employers, act in accordance with our internal procedures and the ACAS code of conduct.’

UK employment law does not oblige any employer, least of all a university, to entertain malicious complaints about their employees. This statement is disingenuous.

Mark Gardener of the CST, a Zionist organisation with links to Israel’s Mossad, which collects information on Jewish anti-Zionists (they sent me a file of over 300 pages as a result of a Subject Access Request) accused Professor Miller of a ‘vile slur’ for accusing Zionist organisations of Islamaphobia. Yet this isn’t the first time that the CST has been accused of Islamaphobia.

Another of the organisations accused of Islamaphobia is the Jewish National Fund. The JNF, which owns and controls 93% of Israeli land, refuses to rent or lease this land to non-Jews. It operates solely for the benefit of the ‘Jewish people’. Gideon Levy of Ha’aretz described how Avraham Duvdevani Chair of the JNF, prevented a Jew having to sell land to an Arab by getting the JNF to buy the land. Thus keeping it for the Jewish people. The CST considers this policy of ‘Jewish land’ perfectly acceptable.

The Board of Deputies which is leading the attack on Miller is riddled with Islamaphobia and anti-Arab racists. Roslyn Pine, a deputy for Finchley United Synagogue, shared tweets describing Muslims as “the vilest of animals” calling Arabs “so evil”. Although she was suspended for 6 years by the Board she was later quietly readmitted.

Member of the Board of Deputies, Robert Festenstein, appears as Tommy Robinson’s legal advisor in an Islamaphobic video

The Jewish Chronicle described how Robert Festenstein appeared alongside Tommy Robinson ‘in a politically motivated video made for a right-wing media website.’ Festenstein was introduced by Robinson as ‘a legal adviser’. The Board didn’t even bother to call Festenstein, the Deputy for Prestwich synagogue, to account because it knew that once it set out on this road it would have few members left.

None of this should be of any surprise. The Constitution of the Board mandates it to‘Take such appropriate action as lies within its power to advance Israel’s security, welfare and standing.’ Not once has it condemned Israeli war crimes such as the practice of imprisoning Palestinian children as young as 12 or demolishing Palestinian homes. Even Tory Minister James Cleverly condemned the demolition of Humsa Al-Baqai’a, a village which housed 73 people, including 41 children, who are now homeless.

Using the English Language Correctly

I am sure you will be aware, as a senior academic, of how important it is to use the English language correctly. When someone is accused of anti-Semitism then this is a term that should be used accurately and not used to defend the abuse of Palestinian human rights. Anti-Semitism is about hatred, hostility and discrimination against Jews as Jews not hatred or opposition to Zionism.

When Zionist students at Bristol University say they feel ‘unsafe’ because of a speech made by Professor Miller at a conference that none of them even attended, what they are doing is using the English language as a weapon of deceit. Perhaps these snowflakes should spend a few days on the West Bank where they might come to appreciate exactly what the word ‘unsafe’ really means. Since the Administration of Bristol University is too timid to enlighten them perhaps I might give you an indication of what this word means:

  • unsafe is not knowing when your house is going to be bulldozed
  • *unsafe is not knowing if your child will return from the shops because he/she may become a victim of an Israeli sniper
  • unsafe is not knowing if you are going to be arrested everyday for just being of a different ethnicity
  • unsafe is not knowing if you’ll have any water today because the tank may get riddled with bullets
  • unsafe is when you have to pay a $20,000 fine for a bulldozer that has destroyed your village. This practice originated with the Nazis. Jews who were deported to Auschwitz had to pay the cost of the trains that took them to their deaths.
  • unsafe is when in order to get to your class at Bir Zeit university you have to negotiate army checkpoints at any of which you could be harassed and delayed.
  • unsafe is not knowing what has happened to your 12 year old child after he had been arrested in the early hours of the morning, blindfolded with painful plastic handcuffs put on him, deprived of food and water for hours and then subject to violence by armed soldiers.
  • Unsafe is not knowing whether your girl, who has been taken by the Israeli military will be one of those 40% of girls subject to sexual abuse.

An Israeli flag flies along with Confederate flags amid a sea of neo-Nazi proud boys. Most fascist groups today see Israel as a model Islamaphobic state

Members of Bristol J-Soc don’t know the meaning of the word ‘unsafe’ and neither it would appear do you. Below is the description of one such arrest by Amnesty International (a group described by Donald Trump as ‘anti-Semitic’).

At about 2am on 24 October, a dozen Israeli police, armed with machine guns, came to arrest Bakr Sa’id, a 15 year old boy, at his home in Kufar Kana. Four armed police officers went to where Bakr Sa’id was sleeping and arrested the boy. Bakr Sa’id was reportedly interrogated for several hours in the early morning by three interrogators in civilian clothes who shouted and threatened him. Later in the day he was brought to court, but his father was not allowed to speak to him. Another detainee in court said he saw a police officer slap Bakr Sa’id in the face.

A Report for UNICEF on the treatment of Palestinian Children in Israeli Military Detention describes a standard interrogation of children, who are not allowed access to lawyers or their parents.

The interrogation mixes intimidation, threats and physical violence, with the clear purpose of forcing the child to confess. Children are restrained during the interrogation, in some cases to the chair they are sitting on. This sometimes continues for extended periods of time, resulting in pain to their hands, back and legs. Children have been threatened with death, physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault, against themselves or a family member.

Of course such treatment would not be meted out to Jewish children. This is why Israel is an Apartheid police state for Palestinians.

Your students’ description of themselves as ‘unsafe’ should be treated with contempt. The only question is whether you have the honesty and integrity to call out these false accusations against Professor Miller for the lies that they are. Academic freedom is something that people have given their lives for in other countries. Do you have the courage to stand up to these orchestrated smears against a member of staff or are you going to appease these apologists for Israeli war crimes?

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein


Prof Sarah Purdy,    Pro Vice Chancellor Student Experience, [email protected]        

Prof. Tansy Jessop, [email protected], Pro Vice Chancellor Student Education

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 and Law [email protected]

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