On Thursday, Rt. Hon. Robert Halfon MP called for an urgent statement in the House of Commons on antisemitism at Bristol University after asking the Vice-Chancellor to take the concerns of Jewish students seriously.
In Business Questions, Mr Halfon referred to the reported actions of Bristol University lecturer Professor David Miller, “who has allegedly described Zionism as ‘the enemy’ and referred to the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) as an ‘Israel lobby group’ which makes Arab and Muslim students unsafe. It is also alleged that he criticised Jewish students for manufacturing a ‘charade of false anti-Semitism allegations’”.
“The university management cares nothing, sees nothing and does nothing about this”, he added. “They appear to regard Jewish students as an inconvenience and a nuisance, and refuse to take serious action. Jewish students are clearly not welcome; they do not feel safe or valued at this university, and, sadly, history teaches us where this ends”.
The Leader of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, said “it is appalling to hear that Jewish students have reported antisemitism at Bristol University”.
“It seems to me that, of all prejudices, antisemitism is the most wicked; it has no place in our society, and universities must be part of ensuring that antisemitism ceases to exist”, he said.
In his letter, Mr Halfon urged Vice-Chancellor Professor Hugh Brady “to take these concerns seriously from Jewish students, and the wider public at large, and take the action that is required”.
Following last week’s virtual rally organised by the UJS and Bristol University Jewish Society which was attended by hundreds, Mr Halfon said he was “extremely concerned that young Jewish students feel they are not supported by the University of Bristol and have had to go to such lengths to make themselves heard”.
More than 100 cross-party parliamentarians signed a letter this week to Bristol University, calling for action on antisemitism, coordinated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) against antisemitism.