The Convivencia Alliance and its constituent organisations – Jewish Network for Palestine, Islamic Human Rights Commission and Peacemaker Trust, condemn the recent attacks on Prof. David Miller by some organisations also committed to the protection of the rights of the Palestinians. The latest attacks follow two legal inquiries by different KCs appointed by the University of Bristol, where David Miller was a professor of Political Sociology, examining an accusation of antisemitism against him, over the period since September 2019. Both inquiries have cleared Prof. Miller, concluding that he could not be accused of antisemitism. The university, under pressure by pro-Zionist lobby organisations, has nevertheless ignored the finding of its own legal experts and sacked Prof. Miller, despite having no proof for the accusation.
Prof. Miller is now facing an Employment Tribunal looking at his complaint against unfair dismissal. The latest press release by Jewish Voice for Labour has criticised his tweet of August 7, 2023, without claiming it was antisemitic, while the one from BRICUP went further, claiming, inter alia:
“Miller ignores the persistence of antisemitism across Europe and in the Americas, and its increase over recent decades with the rise of populist movements, and the resurgence of fascist organisations. Moreover, his supposed ‘facts’ are highly susceptible to an antisemitic interpretation; indeed, for historical reasons they are almost bound to be interpreted this way. He uses some of the most historically prominent elements of antisemitic rhetoric. His assertion of ‘over-representation’ inevitably encourages hostility towards Jews. And in treating ‘Jews’ as a homogeneous entity, his post deploys the characteristic feature of all racisms.”
We disagree with the sentiment above as did some in BRICUP – resulting in the resignation of three of its committed and long-standing members, Dr. Ghada Karmi, Prof. Haim Bresheeth-Zabner, and Dr. Deepa Govindarajan Driver. They resigned from the BRICUP Committee because they found BRICUP’s statement both unfounded and deeply offensive. While one may argue with Prof. Miller about his tweet, there is no
proof or factual foundation for the accusation of racism (meaning antisemitism) in the tweet. Many UK Jews, and most of their grass-roots organisations, are committed to combatting Israeli racism, and openly support the rights of the Palestinians; as does Prof. Miller, but this does not make his tweet either antisemitic or counter-factual.
The Convivencia Alliance finds these reactions by progressive solidarity organisations inaccurate and extremely unwise, especially at a moment in time when even more than half of the Israeli population is questioning the policies and actions of the Israeli Apartheid regime. At a time that senior Israeli politicians, ex-generals and former Mossad and Shabak heads are condemining Israeli Apartheid – and when international commentators condemn the process of Normalisation of Israel. For example, Thomas Friedman pointing out that “You cannot have normalization with an Israeli government that is not normal. It will never be a stable U.S. ally or Saudi partner. And right now, Israel’s government is not normal”.
It is regrettable that JVL and BRICUP seem to be ignoring the situation in Palestine and instead allowing the Israel Lobby to set their agenda and accepted the discredited IHRA “Working Definition of Anti-semitism”, which has been weaponized to silence the critics of Israeli racism and war crimes in Palestine. Instead, progressive solidarity organisations should focus their attention on demanding an end to Western financial, military and diplomatic support for Israel, and offering support to the Palestinians.
Dr. Stephen Sizer, Chair of CA, Peacemaker Trust
Mr. David Cannon, Chair 0f JNP
Mr. Massoud Shadjareh, Chair of IHRC
Prof. Haim Bresheeth-Žabner, JNP and CA