Antisemitism in Universities

University of Bristol

International Definition of Antisemitism

University

The University has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism in full, including all of its examples.

The Definition was adopted on 22nd November 2019.

The University has told Campaign Against Antisemitism that it does apply the Definition in disciplinary matters, confirming that: “All such definitions will be applied by the University in a manner which is consistent with our legally-binding commitments to freedom of speech and to the rights of all students and staff to discuss difficult and sensitive topics.”

This information was obtained after Campaign Against Antisemitism submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 on 14th July 2020. On 30th September 2020, the University responded.

As part of its response, the University provided minutes of a meeting of its Board of Trustees on 22nd November 2019, which show that the Definition was adopted (see item 16). Additionally, the University published a statement on its website on 6th December 2019.

Students’ Union

When asked on 8th August 2020, Bristol Students’ Union failed to confirm whether it has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism.

Incidents

The following are recent incidents that have been reported to us, however we recognise that antisemitism is chronically underreported and it is possible that there are incidents that have not been reported. To report an incident, please contact us.

Professor David Miller, an academic obsessed with anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, has been fired by the University of Bristol one month after Campaign Against Antisemitism commenced a lawsuit on behalf of current students against the institution.

Police reportedly opened an investigation into Professor David Miller for hate crime over inflammatory comments that he made about Jewish students, while his ongoing public activism undermined the University’s claimed that he was on sick leave.

The University of Bristol confirmed that it opened an investigation into Professor David Miller following antisemitic statements by the controversial academic.

David Miller, a Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Bristol with a history of promoting conspiracy theories, asserted that “Zionism is racism” and declared his objective “to end Zionism as a functioning ideology of the world”.

White supremacist posters appeared on the campus of the University of Bristol as well as in Bristol’s town centre and in the city of Hull.

International Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the University of Bristol.

The University of Bristol has rebuffed Jewish students’ concerns over a lecture course titled “Harms of the Powerful”, in which a conspiracy theorist sociology professor suggested that the “Zionist movement” is one of the “five pillars” of hatred of Muslims (redolent of the five pillars of Islam) and is bankrolled by “ultra Zionist funders”.

The University of Bristol has decided to take no action against a lecturer, Dr Rebecca Gould, over an article in which she claimed that “privileging the Holocaust as the central event in Jewish history” should end and that “the Holocaust persists and its primary victims are the Palestinian people.”

Jewish life on campus

The incidence of antisemitism on a university campus and how the university and its students’ union address antisemitism are matters of serious concern. At the same time, they do not represent the totality of Jewish life on any campus. For further information about Jewish life on campus, please contact the local Jewish Society or Jewish chaplain.

No student should have to endure antisemitism. Campaign Against Antisemitism provides specialist help to students who have experienced antisemitism, including free legal representation. For assistance with antisemitism on campus, please contact us.