Letter to Bristol University re David Miller dismissal

Professor Hugh Brady

Vice-Chancellor and President

University of Bristol

11 October 2021

Re: Dismissal of Professor David Miller

Dear Professor Brady,

We, the undersigned, are writing to protest in the strongest possible terms your decision to sack Prof David Miller.

Prof Miller’s dismissal followed a concerted campaign by the pro-Israeli groups against him for his impeccable research in the areas of Islamophobia and Palestine and the Israel lobby.

We are appalled by the fact that although Prof Miller was cleared of the charge of anti-Semitism laid against him by pro-Israel organisations, your institution elected to dismiss him anyway on the grounds that he did not respect contrary views being criticised. In other words, his comments offended some of those whom his work identifies as racists, upholders of an apartheid regime and perpetrators of systematic oppression. 

In firing Prof Miller, you have chosen to take sides with a foreign state that has left no stone unturned in its determination to silence voices that criticise its abominable racist behaviour at home and in the international arena. This is evident from the fact that you have given credence to complaints from the forces ranged against Prof Miller (inter alia Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Zionist Federation, the Jewish Labour Movement and the Community Security Trust) all of whom are apologists for the Israeli state.

The dismissal is also an affront to the right of Prof Miller, and the wider university population, to freedom of speech, a principle that is held even more sacred in academic settings and without which intellectual enquiry cannot properly take place. Censuring academics because their views offend people on the opposing side of the debate sets a dangerous precedent for universities that cannot be allowed to stand.

The upshot of your decision is that Bristol University is no longer a safe space for Muslim, Arab and Palestinian students, and staff. Likewise, all those who criticise the Israeli state and its apologists as racist. None of these groups can now expect to express critical views on Israel without fear of reproach.

We hereby serve notice that unless Prof Miller is reinstated, we intend to bring the full force of civil society and public opinion to bear on your institution for as long as it takes to redress this injustice. This will include persuading national and international students and academics to boycott Bristol University because it cannot be relied upon to guarantee freedom of expression for racial and religious minorities, as well as political dissent which offends its targets.

cc:

Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost

Professor Sarah Purdy, Pro Vice-Chancellor, (Student Experience) 

Professor Philip Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor, (Research & Enterprise)

Professor John Iredale, Pro Vice-Chancellor

Professor Tansy Jessop, Pro Vice-Chancellor

Mr Jack Boyer, Chair, Board of Trustees 

Yours sincerely,

Massoud Shadjareh, Chair, Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC)

Daud Abdullah, Middle East Monitor (MEMO)

Samir Al-Haidari, Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission (AIM)

Abbas Ali, Inminds Human Rights Group

Azad Ali, Operations Director, CAGE

Robert Andrews, EuroPal Forum

Professor Hatem Bazian, University of California, Berkeley

Zaher Birawi, Chairman, Palestinian Forum in Britain

Professor Hagit Borer, Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), QMUL

Professor Haim Bresheeth, SOAS University of London

Jonathan Boud, Harrow Law Centre

Sara Callaway, Women of Colour, Global Women’s Strike

David Cannon, Jewish Network for Palestine (JNP)

Rabbi Ahron Cohen, Neturei Karta 

Abbas Edalat, CASMII

Prof Ramón Grosfoguel – University of California, Berkeley

Richard Haley, Chair, SACC

Ibrahim Hewitt, Senior Editor, Middle East Monitor (MEMO)

Sandew Hira, Decolonial International Network (DIN)

Ahammed Hussain, CEO, Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK

Selma James, International Jewish Anti Zionist Network UK

Dr. Olsi Jazexhiu, Assistant professor, international Islamic University, Malaysia

Mohideen Abdul Kader, Citizens International, Malaysia

Michael Kalmanovit, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK

Raza Kazim, Middlesex University

Dr Les Levidow, Senior Research Fellow, Open University

Yasser Louati, President, Committee for Justice & Liberties, Paris, France

Ilana Machover, The London Support Group of Israeli Conscience Objectors

Gareth Murphy, Branch Secretary, Unite Community Camden LE/00018

Mick Napier, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Professor Ilan Pappe, Director of the European Center for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter

Ismail Patel, Frends of Al,Aqsa

Roshan Salih, 5Pillars

John Tymon, Football Against Apartheid

Imam Dawud Walid, Islamic researcher and author

Sam Weinstein, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK