Bristol professor: CST is a case of ‘influence-peddling by a foreign state’

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Bristol professor: CST is a case of ‘influence-peddling by a foreign state’

Left-wing academic David Miller hits out at communal organisation after he accuses it of having 'purposely blurred' antisemitism and criticism of Israel

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Professor David Miller speaking at the event alongside activists including Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker, Norman Finkelstein and Chris Williamson
Professor David Miller speaking at the event alongside activists including Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker, Norman Finkelstein and Chris Williamson

A Bristol University professor has claimed the Community Security Trust (CST) is a “straightforward story of influence-peddling by a foreign state”, after speaking at an event with numerous expelled Labour activists.

The communal organisation criticised sociology lecturer David Miller this week with a thread on Twitter, saying it is “extremely concerned” by remarks he made at the ‘In Defence of Free Speech’ talk, organised by Labour Against the Witch hunt.

Miller spoke alongside expelled Labour activists including Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein, former MP Chris Williamson, Marc Wadsworth and anti-Zionist Jewish academic Norman Finkelstein.

Miller claims CST is “at the forefront of pursuing the witch hunt. A group which is unable to distinguish between anti-Zionism & antisemitism which purposely blurs together those two concepts in order to pursue the left, that’s been its raison d’etre… since it was created”

“So the idea that people like that should be engaged in constructive dialogue is a fantasy, these are people who must only be faced and defeated”.

The CST tweeted, it “is a charity that works to protect British Jews from antisemitism, including Jewish students. Professor Miller has power & authority & a duty of care over Jewish students at @BristolUni. What does he mean by saying CST must be “defeated”?

Miller also claims during the clip, that “the Zionist movement and the Israeli govt are the enemy of the left, the enemy of world peace and they must be directly targeted”.

David Miller during the event (Screenshot from CST’s Twitter)

CST branded his language “disgraceful and dangerous”, and said it will lodge a complaint to the university.

Following the event, Professor Miller responded to Jewish News, saying: ‘The CST received £14 million this year from public funds. This is an organisation that exists to run point for a hostile foreign government in the UK. Rather than being funded by the British state, it should be under investigation for its ties with the State of Israel.”

This is a straightforward story of influence-peddling by a foreign state. In particular, a state that has tried to dictate the outcome of the past two general elections, and by any yardstick, succeeded to a great extent.”

A spokesperson for the CST commented, that “professor Miller’s new conspiracy statement shames Bristol University even further. CST is a UK Jewish charity that supports victims of antisemitism and to accuse us of being an agent for a “hostile foreign government” is disgraceful.”

The government funding Miller refers to pays for commercial security guards at Jewish schools because of the terrorist threat our community faces. But in Miller’s conspiracy world, CST “exists” to subvert British democracy on behalf of Israel. This is yet more evidence that Miller should be nowhere near a university lecture hall. What else is Bristol University waiting for before they act?”

The academic has been subject of concern from Jewish students previously. In September 2019, Bristol University rejected a complaint about him after he reportedly taught that parts of the Zionist lobby funds Islamophobia.

The Union of Jewish Students condemned Miller’s comments and called on Bristol to take action against him, saying: “It is shocking that Professor Miller still holds a position of influence over students who have been expressing concerns and lodging complaints and reports of antisemitism about him to the University for too long. The time is now for the University of Bristol to finally say there is no tolerance for antisemitism and remove Mr Miller. Universities have a duty of care for students and need to show that there is no safe place on our campuses for antisemitism. There is no academic freedom for hate.”

When asked for comment, Bristol University said: “We will not be responding on this occasion.”


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