Having learned of The Times of London’s intention to write an article attacking some of David Miller’s comments at last December’s Islamophobia Conference, the organisers have issued the following statement:
Statement from IHRC, SACC and DIN
“David Miller’s comments came towards the end of a panel discussion with the theme “Working in the Academy: Can Transformative Knowledge be Produced in the Western University?” He was responding to a comment from panelist, Sandew Hira, that attached central importance to the well-known quote by Audre Lorde that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.
“Sandew Hira argued that colonised peoples seeking forms of knowledge that can liberate them need to substantially overturn the categories of knowledge created in Enlightment Europe. David Miller picked up on the metaphor of the master’s house and pointed out that the house can indeed be destroyed by tools likely to be found in the master’s possession. He is by no means the first person to take that as a starting point for a discussion of Lorde’s thinking. On this occasion, both David Miller and Sandew Hira were using the master’s house as a metaphor for structures of knowledge. David Miller argued that the Enlightment search for a model that underlies reality and can liberate humanity is something he is happy with. He had been asked to comment on how the metaphor of the master’s tools might apply to his own struggle to defend himself from allegations of anti-semitism. He characterised the IHRA definition of anti-semitism as the Zionists’ tool but insisted that it isn’t necessary to abandon logic and critique in order to destroy it. He argued that racism against Jews can be distinguished from anti-Zionism, that Zionism is itself a form of racism, that these things are reality and that reality is distorted by the powerful in order to pursue their own interests.
“It should be perfectly clear to anyone listening to the discussion that it isn’t a discussion about the legitimacy of political violence. It doesn’t suggest at all that David Miller “approves of using violence to ‘destroy’ political opponents”. What it shows is that David Miller advocates the use of reason, critical thinking and empiricism to destroy bad political ideas. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is nothing more than a cynical bid to create a talking-point that might catch the attention of people unaware of the background. Presumably the intention is to make it harder for pro-Palestinian activists to get a public hearing. It is in any case a breathtakingly egregious example of the kind of distortion of reality that David Miller was talking about.”
IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Telephone: (+44) 20 8904 4222