Jewish students have demanded action from Bristol University after one of its professors called for ‘“an end” to Zionism and attacked the university’s Jewish Society.
Sociology professor David Miller’s remarks are the latest in a string of incidents which have seen formal complaints by Jewish community groups and students lodged with the university.
Speaking at a ‘Building the Campaign for Free Speech’ rally online at the weekend, Miller labelled Zionism “the enemy.”
“The enemy that we face here is Zionism, and the imperial policies of the Israeli state,” he said.
“[There] is an onslaught by the Israeli government … on the left globally.” He also claimed there was an “attempt by the Israeli government to impose their will all over the world.”
“It’s a question of how do we defeat the ideology of Zionism in practice?” he added. “How do we make sure Zionism has ended essentially? The aim of this … is to end Zionism as a functioning ideology of the world.”
WATCH Prof David Miller of @BristolUni
"The enemy that we face here is Zionism" there is "An all out onslaught by the Israeli government…on the left globally"
This is Soviet antisemitism, the assertion that there's a global Zionist conspiracy against the left pic.twitter.com/jgjKILAJoj
— Harry's Place (@hurryupharry) February 13, 2021
The university’s Jewish Society say their members have now been abused after being singled out as “part of the UJS which is a direct member of the World Zionist Organisation.”
“For a member of staff to abuse his position and launch a personal attack on our JSoc President is unjustifiable,” said the society. “Prof. Miller’s words led to our President being targeted for abuse online.
“We will not sit by in silence and allow this hatred to be spread by representatives of our university towards Jewish students.”
The Union of Jewish Students has condemned the university for “two years of inaction” over Professor Miller, saying it was another example of students being targeted for “for their imagined part of his global Zionist conspiracy fantasy.”
"Its fundamental to Zionism to encourage islamophobia and anti Arab racism too." pic.twitter.com/mfr0kMcboV
— Harry's Place (@hurryupharry) February 14, 2021
“This is not the first time that this has happened and until appropriate action is taken, sadly, we believe, it will not be the last,” said a UJS spokesperson.
“How many more times must Jewish students be made to feel unsafe and uncomfortable within their own university community?”
Sabrina Miller, a student at the University, told Jewish News that the university’s bureaucratic response to complaints was “the most draining thing.”
“A good first start would be for the university to communicate with the wider Jewish body about the complaint,” she said. “For them to have a level of transparency and updates about the complaint and a recognition that they need to take it seriously.”
Professor Miller was suspended by the Labour Party after claiming leader Sir Keir Starmer took money from “the Zionist movement.”
He later quit the party, alleging “targeted harassment.”
A Bristol spokesman said university officials would now meet with the Jewish Society over the comments, which “have caused upset.”
“We would urge anyone who feels that they have been discriminated against or subject to hate speech or harassment, to contact our support services so we can offer appropriate help and support,” he said.
Miller told Jewish News he believed there “is a censorship campaign by a foreign regime targeting Britain’s universities, political parties and public institutions to shut down criticism of it.” He also denied singling out the Jewish Society.
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