The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has said of the disgraced academic David Miller: “I do not expect universities to tolerate racists”.
Mr Williamson made the comments at an Education Select Committee hearing last Wednesday after being asked for his position on the sociology professor by the Chair, Robert Halfon.
Mr Williamson responded: “I would never expect a university to tolerate racists and I would never expect a university to tolerate antisemitism. Where there is racism – whether that is manifested in antisemitic remarks – I would naturally expect there to be a proper and full employment procedure. I wouldn’t expect any form of racism to be tolerated and I would expect those people who are committing antisemitism to be dismissed from the staff.”
Prof. Miller, a Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Bristol, is a conspiracy theorist with a history of controversy relating to Jewish students. In his latest outburst, which is being investigated by the University and the police, he asserted that “Zionism is racism”, declared his objective “to end Zionism as a functioning ideology of the world” and accused the Bristol University Jewish Society of being part of a worldwide Zionist conspiracy, adding that it is “fundamental to Zionism to encourage Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism”. At the same online event, Prof. Miller also observed that the Jewish Society and the Union of Jewish Students are Zionist, thereby implying that Jewish students (and the wider Jewish community) inherently “encourage Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism”.
He also portrayed the International Definition of Antisemitism as an attack on free speech and accused the Israeli Government of engaging in an “all-out attack” on the global Left as part of an “attempt by the Israelis to impose their will all over the world”. In comments reminiscent of the darkest years of the United Nations, Prof. Miller insisted that “Zionism is racism” and asked how “we defeat the ideology of Zionism in practice”, “how is Zionism ended” and about the way “to end Zionism as a functioning ideology of the world”.
Also at the Committee hearing, Jonathan Gullis, the Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent, asked the Secretary of State about the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by universities and whether those that failed to do so would be penalised financially. Mr Williamson said that he backs the campaign for widespread adoption of the Definition, and observed that “We’ve had an exceptionally large rise in the number of universities that have signed up”.
Campaign Against Antisemitism monitors the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by universities. Recently, we passed the threshold of over half of British universities having adopted the Definition.
Mr Williamson continued: “Some [universities] have required a little bit of extra time, but if we’re in a position where there is a complete reluctance to be able to do this, we will look at taking other actions that may be available.”
According to the JC, a spokesperson for the Support David Miller campaign said: “Gavin Williamson and other Government ministers should find their backbone instead of repeatedly giving in to a vast censorship campaign being pushed by Israel lobbyists onto British schools and universities.”
The claim that combatting antisemitism is merely a cover for censoring debate about Israel or is conducted at the behest of the Jewish state are themselves antisemitic tropes.
If any students are concerned about antisemitism on campus or need assistance, they can call us on 0330 822 0321, or e-mail [email protected].