A virtual rally will be held next week against the “hateful” views of a Bristol academic accused of using “antisemitic tropes”, as pressure mounts on the university to take action.
In a video released on Friday, the university’s Jewish society (Jsoc) president, Edward Issacs, made a call to action amid a row over sociology professor David Miller’s comments about Zionism and Jewish students.
The clip by Bristol Jsoc says: “Today we say Enough. We have tolerated this hateful speech on our campus for far too long, and we are exhausted. We are tired of silence, tired of inaction, tired of hate. David Miller and his views have no place on our campus. Action must be taken.”
The online protest, endorsed by the Union of Jewish Students, will take place next Wednesday.
This comes amid calls for the lecturer to be sacked, after it was revealed that he had called to “end Zionism as an ideology” and branded it “the enemy.”
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When Jewish students complained about the remarks, he doubled down, using countless “antisemitic tropes”, including an accusation that students were running a “campaign of censorship” which is “directed by the state of Israel”.
On Tuesday Bristol University Student Union released a statement saying it is “deeply concerned” by his comments, and “will always support students who call for action against discrimination on our campus. Antisemitism is unacceptable.”
Despite this, no action has been taken, leading to Jewish students launching a petition urging Bristol to sack Professor Miller, which has been signed by more than 1,000 people.
Community leaders condemned Miller’s comments and his response to Jsoc complaints, with Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West offering assistance to students.
A spokesperson for the University of Bristol said: “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. Any action which we might take as an employer is a private matter. We are under obligations of confidentiality in relation to all of our students and staff, which we will continue to comply with.
“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.
“We do not endorse the comments made by Professor Miller about our Jewish students. We are proud of our students for their independence and individual contributions to the University and wider society.”
Today we say Enough.
We have tolerated this hateful speech on our campus for far too long, and we are exhausted.
We are tired of silence, tired of inaction, tired of hate.
David Miller and his views have no place on our campus.
Action must be taken. pic.twitter.com/3rlBSXv5qj
— Bristol JSoc (@BristolJsoc) February 19, 2021
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