Concern Bristol’s Prof Miller may get protection from freedom of speech proposals

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Concern Bristol’s Prof Miller may get protection from freedom of speech proposals

Antisemitism Policy Trust director Danny Stone told a Parliamentary committee he did "worry" the academic would not be held to account for his alleged antisemitic comments

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Professor David Miller
Professor David Miller

Bristol University academic David Miller – currently under investigation over allegations of antisemitic comments directed at Jewish students – could be given protection under new freedom of speech proposals by the government, a leading charity chief has warned.

Speaking to parliamentary committee assessing the planed Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, Antisemitism Policy Trust director Danny Stone said he did “worry” that the proposals could provide cover for academics, especially if they were passed over for promotion.

Asked by Labour MP Charlotte Nicols if he was concerned that this Bill “would actually protect” someone like Miller, Stone replied: “I do think that needs looking at. I do worry bout it.”

The charity head then went on to explain to the committee that he feared Miller could highlight his official area of expertise – “the Zionist movement, Israel lobby and racism.”

Stone said:”One could see, using the Miller case as an example, how this might present an issue in the future.

“An academic has the right to protest, if for instance he had been passed over for a job or promotion because of free speech they had used in their area of expertise.”

Danny Stone

Stone said he feared “there will be academics who have a particular area of expertise – and that are will potentially give cover for them saying particular things.

“I do think that needs looking at – those particular complexities in the Bill.”

Stone added that  “across parliament” it had “been recognised” that Miller had made “antisemitic statements” such his reference to Jewish students as “politcal pawns” of a regime “engaged in ethnic cleansing.”

During Monday’s session in Westminister one university professor , who supported the government’s proposals, admitted he would be prepared to invite speakers from the far-right British National Party or National Front to address students on campus.

Professor Matthew Goodwin, from the University of Kent School of Politics, was asked if he would be prepared to allow fascists to speak to students.

He said: “I have invited people from cross the political spectrum to speak to my students over the years …. I would have invited somebody from the BNP or National Front where they available.

“Experience has taught me and demonstrated clearly students were more than capable of being exposed to a range of views, and challenging these views.”

He added: “We are not here to put students in idelogical monocultures that only give them one view of the world.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

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 Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

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.

read more: