More than 500 academics have signed a letter supporting Jewish students and criticising a Bristol professor who called to “end Zionism”.
Academics including Sir Simon Schama, legal expert Anthony Julius and David Feldman of the Pears institute, said they “wholly condemn” recent statements by Bristol Professor David Miller.
This comes after the sociology lecturer accused Jewish students of running a “campaign of censorship” on behalf of the Israeli government, and branding Israel a “violent, racist, foreign regime engaged in ethnic cleansing.”
Organised by the Union of Jewish Students, the letter said Miller’s “depiction of Jewish students as Israeli-directed agents of a campaign of censorship is false, outrageous, and breaks all academic norms regarding the acceptable treatment of students.”
They criticise Miller for describing Bristol Jewish Society and the Union of Jewish Students “as part of a movement he has described as an “enemy” to be “targeted”… emphasises the threatening nature of his remarks.”
Signatories also said his comments “represent the latest manifestation of a long and ignoble tradition of conspiracy theories concerning Jewish individuals and institutions”, including accusations of dual loyalty.
They added his remarks are “counterproductive to any good cause, and in particular, counterproductive to the cause of the Palestinians.
This comes after more than 190 professors signed a letter last week backing Professor Miller, who they called an “eminent scholar”, saying it was their due to “oppose such efforts to crush academic freedom”
The Union of Jewish students said it “welcomes this significant intervention by over 350 academics condemning the actions of Professor Miller and demonstrating their overwhelming support to Jewish students. This letter states that Miller’s conduct breaks all academic norms regarding the acceptable treatment of students and this type of behaviour has no place on any campus. The University has a duty of care to ensure Jewish students are safe and supported on their campus. They are failing this duty.
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