Bristol University professor fired for antisemitic comments

Sociology professor David Miller was fired after making controversial comments about Israel that many alleged were antisemitic.

Bristol University from Cabot Tower (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Bristol University from Cabot Tower
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A professor of sociology at the University of Bristol in England was fired after making controversial comments about Israel that many alleged were antisemitic.

In 2019, Professor David Miller, who teaches about "how power self-perpetuates through lobbying and propaganda," said in a lecture that the Zionist movement is one of five sources of Islamophobia, presenting a graphic associating Jewish charities with pro-Israel lobbying, The Guardian reported.

Miller has also stated that Israel is "the enemy of world peace" and that the Bristol Jewish Society, a campus Jewish organization, is an "Israel lobby group," according to The Guardian.

Additionally, Miller said that Israel wants to "impose [its] will all over the world" and that Jewish students were being exploited as "political pawns by a violent, racist, foreign regime engaged in ethnic cleansing,” The Jewish Chronicle reported.

PROTESTING OUTSIDE a meeting of the British Labour Party’s National Executive, which was set to discuss the party’s definition of antisemitism, in London in September 2018 (credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)PROTESTING OUTSIDE a meeting of the British Labour Party’s National Executive, which was set to discuss the party’s definition of antisemitism, in London in September 2018 (credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)

Numerous politicians and Jewish groups raised concerns that the comments promoted the antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews covertly control global politics, but the university initially defended Miller's academic freedom. After holding a disciplinary hearing, however, the school concluded that Miller did not meet the behavioral standards expected from its faculty and that his "employment should be terminated with immediate effect," according to the BBC.

The University of Bristol added that it takes "any risk to stifle [academic] freedom seriously," the BBC noted.

This comes amid widespread fears of antisemitism at institutions of higher learning. 50% of Jewish university students have at one point concealed their Jewish identity and 65% have said they do not feel safe on campus, according to a survey conducted last April by the Cohen Research Group and the Louis D. Brandeis Center.