The Electronic Intifada / October 22, 2021
A lawyer hired by the UK’s University of Bristol to investigate allegations of anti-Semitism against Professor David Miller concluded that the academic had “no case to answer,” a leaked document shows.
The document, obtained by The Electronic Intifada, shows the investigation concluded that, “there is no basis for any disciplinary action against Professor Miller.”
Despite this, the university fired Miller on 1 October, citing unspecified “standards of behavior.”
The university’s statement firing Miller earlier this month stated only that an independent report by a leading lawyer had “found that Professor Miller’s comments did not constitute unlawful speech.”
But the document itself explicitly concludes that Miller is not guilty of anti-Semitism.
It states that “Professor Miller is at pains to distinguish between Zionism and Israel, on the one hand, and Jewish people, on the other.”
The lawyer concluded that “his conduct cannot reasonably be categorized as misconduct.”
The document also shows that the complaint which resulted in Miller’s firing was instigated by two pro-Israel lobby groups and only later adopted by two pro-Israel students on campus.
The two students acted in collusion with the Community Security Trust – which has links to Israel’s deadly spy agency Mossad – and the Union of Jewish Students – which is funded by and acts as a front for the Israeli embassy in London.
You can read extracts from the leaked document on this page.
David Miller has previously told The Electronic Intifada that he will be taking the university to an industrial tribunal for unfair dismissal if they do not reinstate him.
The Support David Miller campaign group said: “It could not be clearer: the University of Bristol has worked hand-in-glove with the UK’s Israel lobby to terrorize one of its own academics.”
The spokesperson accused the university of breaking its own rules to sack Miller even though there was no case to answer.
The group told The Electronic Intifada that the lawyer’s report “blows the lid off the University of Bristol’s corrupt indulgence of the political campaign against Professor Miller. The university now has serious questions to answer over its failure to protect its academics.”
A spokesperson for Bristol university declined to answer when asked why they had fired Miller despite the lawyer’s findings.
They claimed that Miller “is fully aware of the reasons why the decision was made to terminate his employment,” claimed this was “confidential” and said “we do not intend to make any further comment at this time.”
The 47 page document examines the complaints against Miller. These began in March 2019, with the Community Security Trust, or CST.
While the CST portrays itself as the guardian of Britain’s Jewish community, in fact, as The Electronic Intifada has reported for years, it also lobbies for Israel.
In 2012, the CST helped established the Fair Play Campaign Group, which was set up to campaign against boycotts of Israel.
The leaked document shows Bristol university rejected the CST’s initial complaint against Miller on the basis that it was made by an outside group rather than a Bristol student.
The next day, the document says, the university “received a complaint from two individuals one of whom identified themselves as a university student. I refer to those individuals as AA and BB.”
But the document makes clear that neither AA or BB were in any of Miller’s courses and had not even talked to anyone who was.
The Union of Jewish Students is an Israel lobby group whose constitution commits it to “inspiring Jewish students to making an enduring commitment” to Israel. In 2017, an undercover investigation by Al-Jazeera revealed that the group is directly funded by the Israeli embassy in London.
The lawyer’s investigation shows that the pro-Israel groups’ claims that Miller’s Jewish students were “terrified” of the professor were baseless.
The document states that “no complaints have been made against Professor Miller to the university by any of his students.”
The lawyer interviewed AA and found that “the entire focus of AA’s discussion” of their complaint was on a lecture by David Miller “which AA had not attended [and] which AA did not appear to have discussed with any other student who did attend.”
“Entirely without merit”
The leaked document also shows that AA acted in collusion with Israel lobby group the CST, who had made the initial, rejected complaint, as well as Israel lobby group the Union of Jewish Students.
The lawyer recounts that, “AA stated that CST had made a third party complaint about Professor Miller and then AA, being aware of the CST complaint, had decided to make a complaint [too].”
“This was done in conjunction with the national UJS which had helped AA to write the complaint.”
In other words, AA was effectively acting as an on-campus front person for two Israel lobby groups – themselves acting as cut-outs for the state of Israel.
“This complaint was not brought in relation to matters which had affected AA in his/her capacity as a student,” the lawyer concludes, explaining that all except one of the talks and articles by David Miller that AA was complaining about had occurred before AA was even a student at Bristol.
One of these articles was a long 2013 piece co-written by Miller and three others for the website OpenDemocracy.
The lawyer concluded that in their view, the statements in the article “do not appear to me to be properly characterized as tropes or conspiracy theories but are, instead, specific and apparently defensible assertions of fact.”
The only part of the complaint which had to do with anything Miller had taught in class was an optional essay question he had set: “Critically discuss the idea that lobbying might be considered a form of corporate harm.”
Although the question didn’t even mention Israel or Zionism – let alone Jewish people – AA claimed that the question could lead to a discussion of “anti-Semitic tropes.”
The lawyer concluded that this aspect of AA’s complaint was “entirely without merit.”
Indeed, the lawyer, who was hired by the University of Bristol to look into the case against Miller, concluded that there is, in fact, “no basis for any disciplinary action … in connection with any of these matters.”
Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London