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”.
One slide shown to students depicted a complex web of Jewish and Zionist organisations along with prominent Jewish community figures. Prof. Miller’s comments led Jewish students to feel “uncomfortable and intimidated”, according to one complaint. The idea that Jews secretly exert extraordinary power over society and hold dual loyalties are longstanding antisemitic canards.
In the past, Prof. Miller has belittled antisemitism in the Labour Party as “mostly false”, condemned Ken Livingstone’s treatment by the Party as a “disgrace” and dismissed concerns about the safety of Jewish students on campus.
Prof. Miller has also set up platforms which promote conspiracy theories. He founded a website called PowerBase, which categorises Campaign Against Antisemitism as in fact being part of the “Israel lobby”. Powerbase is linked to another of Prof. Miller’s websites, Spinwatch, which is funded by various Islamist-linked organisations.
Another brainchild of Prof. Miller’s, a website called NeoCon Europe, has also previously published work by Kevin MacDonald, a supporter and public defender of notorious Holocaust denier David Irving. Mr MacDonald has said that “there are clear apologetic tendencies — tendencies to view the Jewish ‘in group’ in a favourable manner and to pathologise antisemitism as irrational and completely unrelated to the actual behaviour of Jews.” NeoCon Europe eventually pulled the article, which included MacDonald’s suggestion that Jewish characteristics included “Access to prestigious and mainstream media sources, partly as a result of Jewish influence on the media.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “The University of Bristol is failing its students. Universities should be educating students, not inciting them to view Jewish communal groups, leaders and philanthropists as somehow part of a pillar of Muslim-hatred. The false accusation that Jews harm Muslims and Christians has been used to demonise Jews and inflame antisemitic violence for centuries. It is beyond the pale that Prof. Miller has been permitted to indoctrinate students to view much of the Jewish community as a threatening web of dangerous forces. He must be removed from academic staff.”
This is also not the first time the University of Bristol has refused to take action in troubling cases. Two years ago, the university declined to discipline Dr Rebecca Gould over appalling comments about the Holocaust.