Bristol University has launched an investigation into a professor who called Jewish students “pawns of a racist regime engaged in ethnic cleansing”.
The institution has come in for severe criticism from communal organisations for not taking action against the academic. After the announcement, Jewish students said the probe was launched “far too late”.
Professor David Miller caused uproar after he accused Jewish students of running a “campaign of censorship” on behalf of the Israeli government, branding communal institutions as working for the ‘Israel lobby’, and being “pawns of a racist regime engaged in ethnic cleansing”.
In a statement issued yesterday, Bristol University said: “We are aware of concerns about comments made by David Miller.. and that a written question has also been raised in Parliament regarding Professor Miller’s comments, and the principles of freedom of speech at the University of Bristol.”
We recognise that this matter has caused deep concern for some members of our community, and also that people hold very different views on the issues raised. The University has offered support to both students and staff who have been affected by it.”
We can confirm that the University has already initiated an investigation into this matter. The investigation is being carried out in accordance with the University’s internal process and, as we have explained in a previous statement, that process is confidential. In particular, it is not appropriate for the University to make any comment on this matter while the investigation we have referred to is underway.”
It said Bristol Uni has a commitment to freedom of speech, and that it wants to provide a “welcoming environment for Jewish students.”
The university did not confirm if Miller will remain in his role while the investigation is conducted.
In a joint statement, the Union of Jewish Students and Bristol Jewish society welcomed the announcement, but said it us taking place “far too late, after Jewish students have endured weeks of harassment and abuse, during which time the University has failed to protect Jewish students, who have been singled out and targeted.”
It also accused Bristol university of not setting out “what actual steps it is taking to protect Jewish students on its campus during the investigation. For example, as far as we know, Professor Miller has not been suspended and we still do not understand why.”
We hope the University will take appropriate and speedy action. We will continue to push the University to ensure the safety of its Jewish students.”
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “Bristol’s Jewish students have already had to endure far too much from David Miller, whose antisemitic conspiracy theories aimed at Jewish students have repeatedly brought the University into disrepute.”
We understand the University’s need to properly investigate the matter in a timely manner and hope that appropriate course of action will be taken. The community keenly awaits the outcome.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.