12 Sep 2019 by Mark Gardner
The original article, by CST's Director of Communications Mark Gardner, appeared in the Jewish Chronicle on 12 September 2019:
A Bristol University lecturer, Professor David Miller, is apparently teaching his students that a wide range of British Jewish groups are one of the most important causes of Islamophobia today. This vile slur includes the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council, CST and others, including groups that focus on Israel, such as BICOM, UJIA, ZF and JNF.
Jewish individuals also stand accused. The late Lord Janner, who conducted interfaith throughout the Muslim world, is named, as is Lord Levy, despite his own extensive pursuit of Israeli-Arab peace. They are joined by other leading British Jews, including the late Jo Wagerman, the late Brian Kerner and the late Eric Moonman.
Bristol refuse to give us an audio recording of Miller’s Islamophobia lecture, from his “Harms of the Powerful” course, so we only have his powerpoint slides to follow. “Israel government” sits atop one flowchart, with these communal groups and leaders underneath, described as “Israel lobby groups” and “key individuals”, rather than as Jewish community groups and leaders, which is what many of them are.
Miller strongly denies that any antisemitism is afoot and Bristol is standing by their man.
Bristol is one of the most popular universities for Jewish students, so CST and the Union of Jewish Students have tried, since March, to approach this sensitively and constructively. John Mann MP also tried. We addressed the utter poverty of the teaching, how widespread the false allegation is, and its likely detrimental impact upon Jewish and non-Jewish students.
In response, Bristol lectured us on “academic freedom” and insisted upon defining antisemitism as “hostility towards Jews as Jews”, which reduces racism to such banality that academics need not study or teach it. Besides, antisemitism is actually the opposite of hating Jews as Jews. It hates us not for what we are, but for what we allegedly represent, be that Christ killers, child killers, capitalists, communists, eternal enemies of Islam, race polluters, or whatever today’s accusation is.
To justify his Islamophobia chart, Miller has now tweeted “the slide does not list ‘Jewish’ organisations. Rather it portrays the ‘British Zionist scene’. It was taken from our 2013 report on BICOM, the pro Israel lobby group”. Miller has damned himself with this tweet.
The BICOM report is pretty poor, but it does not claim that BICOM and others (whether Jewish or Zionist) are key pushers of anti-Muslim racism. In fact, it does not even mention “Islamophobia” in its 96-page length, but on this basis Miller justifies telling students that all of these Jewish, Zionist and pro-Israel groups and individuals promote Islamophobia. This is the “academic freedom” to accuse us of Islamophobia that Bristol is defending.
Unlike other institutions, Bristol refused to allow CST any meaningful role, not for the upset Jewish students, nor on our own behalf. The University says that as a third party, there is no “formal process” for us to intervene.
Presumably Bristol takes the same approach with Syrian dissidents, furious at Miller’s role in the small ‘academic’ group defending President Assad from charges of using chemical weapons. Others may object to Millers’ role, supported by Diane Abbott MP, in opposing the Prevent anti-terrorism programme. Or, there is Miller’s fundraising for Chris Williamson MP, contesting his Labour suspension on antisemitism charges.
Bristol told John Mann MP it “does not intend to respond further to the complaint from CST”. All CST has is Bristol’s letter from April saying Miller, his “line manager” and the “Head of School”, will “consider…whether any changes might be made…to clarify the points that you have raised and to correct any information that is out of date, ensuring…[it] is suitable for undergraduate training”.
This is an outrageous reply. Bristol refuse to give us the lecture recording and will not speak with us again, so how can we measure the changes? But anyway, the entire ghastly accusation of pushing racism is the problem, not some revisions here and there. Fundamentally, Miller says this because he believes it, so what will he tell students in lectures, tutorials, essay consultations, or his next Twitter postings?
Jewish communal groups and leaders do not push Islamophobia: not in our own right, not under Israel and not because of Zionism. We have a proud record of interfaith with Muslims and of opposing anti-Muslim racism. It is not our reputation that is on the line here, it is that of Bristol University.
6 Sep 2019 by CST
This week, CST hosted approximately 200 volunteer personnel, security guards and Police at the pre-High Holy Day security briefing. The briefing takes place annually to ensure that we are prepared to protect our Jewish community during one of the community’s most visible times. Read more…
15 Aug 2019 by Mark Gardner
The angry reactions to CST’s recent report, Engine of Hate: The online networks behind the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis, show exactly why such research is necessary. The reactions denied what the report said, whilst demonstrating the behaviours that caused it to be written in the first place. Some might call that ironic. Attacks have misrepresented what the report actually says. Similarly, CST has also been attacked and misrepresented. CST expected these reactions. Nevertheless, the misrepresentations are worth noting and exposing. Unfortunately, doing so requires some length, so as the points can be explicitly demonstrated. Read more…
4 Aug 2019 by CST
The problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party over the past three years has been fuelled by a flow of antisemitic tweets and posts on social media, done in the name of the Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Many of these tweets use hateful language to attack Jewish Labour MPs or other people who raise concerns about antisemitism; other tweets claim that any mention of antisemitism is part of a conspiracy to ‘smear’ Corbyn and Labour. Read more…
1 Aug 2019 by CST
CST has today published our January-June 2019 Antisemitic Incidents Report, which shows that CST recorded a record high total of 892 antisemitic incidents in the UK in the first six months of 2019. This is the highest number of incidents CST has ever recorded in the January to June period of any year and is a ten per cent increase from the 810 incidents recorded during the same period in 2018; which was itself a record high for this six month period, and formed part of a record annual total of 1,688 antisemitic incidents for the whole of 2018. CST has recorded antisemitic incidents since 1984. Read more…
23 Jul 2019 by Dave Rich
You always know when criticism of the Labour Party’s handling of antisemitism has reached an intolerable level, because that is when the party announces a new raft of measures promising that this time they really will address the problem. Read more…
16 Jul 2019 by CST
Today, CST has published a new report, 'Iran & Hizbollah’s global terrorism: patterns and methods'. Iran and Hizbollah's operations have been a security concern long before al-Qaeda, ISIS and other Salafi-Jihadis started attacking diaspora Jewish communities. Hizbollah and Iran possess international terrorist capabilities, and they continue to pose a viable threat to their primary targets: Iranian dissidents living abroad, diaspora Jewish communities and Israeli interests worldwide. Both Iran and Hizbollah operate globally and have a history of engaging in covert terrorist activities and criminal endeavours. In fact, the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division assessed that Hizbollah “possesses a vibrant global network with cells operating on five continents”, including networks and terrorist infrastructures in Europe, United Kingdom, USA, Canada and elsewhere around the globe. Read more…