Bristol Professor ‘Spits In the Face of Jews’

On 29 July there was a Zoom meeting where one of the Speakers was Professor David Miller.

Professor Miller contravened the IHRA definition of antisemitism seven times, as follows:

One: At 42.30 he says “The Zionist movement is not interested in dialogue and truth and finding out how best to tackle antisemitism.

Zionism is a historic term which refers to the movement to establish a majority Jewish state in what was then called Palestine.  It moved into history in 1948 when the State of Israel was declared. The 21st century role of Zionism is to support and encourage Jews who want to move to Israel and to defend Israel against baseless attacks in the mainstream media and on social media. Most of the activists in the Zionist movement are Jewish. So Professor Miller is effectively saying “Jews are not interested in dialogue and finding out how best to tackle antisemitism”. This is clearly antisemitic (IHRA: Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective’)

Two: At 43:04 on the recording you can hear him say that Labour Against Antisemitism is “backed by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs in Israel, of course”.

The allegation is an antisemitic conspiracy theory.  It seems that Professor Miller believes that all opposition to antisemitism must be funded by Israel (note that in the same sentence he refers to ‘the Zionist Movement, @GnasherJew, the Jewish Labour Movement’). He cannot accept that people who have no connection with Israel – let alone, who are not in the pay of the Israeli government – abhor antisemitism and actively oppose it. Clearly he does not believe that antisemitism is on a par with other racisms and that those who complain about it are in the pay of the Israeli government in order to suppress criticism of Israel.

This is deeply antisemitic – the IHRA definition of antisemitism which Bristol University has adopted says that “Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective” is antisemitic.

Three: At 44:00 he says “CST – an organisation which has been at the forefront of pursuing the witchhunt [his term for identifying Labour members who have been antisemitic] – a group which is unable to distinguish between antisemitism and anti-Zionism.and which purposely blurs together these two concepts to pursue the Left. That’s been its raison d’etre from the very beginning.”

The CST is the Community Security Trust, a charity that works for the protection and defence of British Jews. To describe the identification of antisemites as a ‘witchhunt’ suggests that Professor Miller does not believe that antisemitism is on a par with other racisms. In other words, that Jewish people act in bad faith when they complain about racism.  ‘Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such’ is by definition (IHRA) antisemitic. His comments about the CST are a complete lie (that it cannot distinguish between antisemitism and anti-Zionism; which “blurs” (?) these concepts “to pursue the Left”; “that’s been its raison d’etre from the beginning”.  CST is complaining about Miller to Bristol University.

Four: At 44.30 he speaks of “the racist foundation of the Israeli state, founded on ethnic cleansing and settler colonialism”. To claim that ‘the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour’ is antisemitic. Israel was not ‘founded on ethnic cleansing’ See the historian Ephraim Karsh: Most of the Arabs who fled in 1948 were told to flee by their leaders. As for ‘settler colonialism’, Jews fled to Israel in the early 20th Century to escape persecution and later to escape from the Nazis. ’Settlers’ have a choice of where to live: these Jews had no choice. And Israel was a product of colonialism (the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire post-World War One) so how can it be ‘colonial’? And the sign of a colonial power is that many people speak the language eg English, French, Spanish. Outside Israel no-one speaks Hebrew as a first language. And colonies have parent-states (England, France, Spain, Turkey) and capitals – where is Israel’s parent state?

Five: At 47.20 Professor Miller says that “the Zionist movement and the Israeli government are the enemy of world peace“. Again ‘Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such’ is by definition antisemitic.  Not only is it antisemitic, there is not a grain of truth in it.

Six: At 1 hour 41 minutes Professor Miller says “I mean … I think …I think there is a strategic problem in discussing this under the rubric of free speech on Israel or Zionism or antisemitism. I mean, there isn’t free speech for racists. No-one ever thinks it’s acceptable for racists to intimidate, coerce and threaten people. There are laws against it, it’s against the law. Nobody believes in free speech for racists (although I did hear Norman and Tony perhaps saying that they do). The problem with defending the principle of freedom of speech on this issue is that we don’t have the freedom of speech and they have the freedom of speech and we’re never going to get the freedom of speech because they’re in power. What we should be talking about is not counterposing our conception of Zionism as racism (which I think most of us are agreed on) with their conception that we’re all antisemites, because that’s a balance which is based on falsehood and is based on a racist understanding of how things are. It’s not acceptable for them to call us racists. It’s untrue. What we should be saying is not how we create slightly more space for the Left to say slightly more things about Palestine and Israel while they at the same time are using their speech to destroy people’s lives, careers, mental health and jobs – as Jackie mentioned – what instead we should be saying is no, we’re not here to end freedom of speech, we’re here to end Zionism………. We cannot win a battle against the racist ideology of Zionism without telling anyone what Zionism is and explaining what it is, how it [inaudible] ideology, and how it requires the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians for its function.”

Zionism is a historic term which refers to the movement to establish a majority Jewish state in what was then called Palestine, an area which was administered by the Ottoman Empire before World War One.

Zionism was supported by political leaders such as Lloyd George and Churchill as well as by all Prime Ministers since World War Two. To call these people ‘racists’ is absurd. Professor Miller’s call for the end of Zionism is a call for the end of the State of Israel. ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour’ is  – by definition (IHRA) – antisemitic.

Seven: In the above passage see how Professor Miller taps into all the shadowy tropes about Jewish Power; “they’re in power”, “using their speech to destroy people’s lives, careers, mental health and jobs”. This is deeply antisemitic.

There have been previous complaints about Professor Miller’s bizarre conspiracy theories, specifically his statement that “parts of the Zionist movement are involved in funding Islamophobia”.

The IHRA Definition must be acted upon. Or did Bristol University adopt it merely to pay lip service to it as a virtue signal?

When the record of an academic is deterring Jewish students from applying to a University – let alone wanting their thesis supervised by them – it is time for action.  Professor Miller must go.

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ADDENDUM:

Miller has given the following quote to Jewish News

Miller August 2020

This is the vilest of antisemitism. He must go and go quickly.