A Professor at Bristol University facing allegations of Antisemitism has this week been criticised by the UK Government, as the University announced an investigation into his remarks.
Lord-in-Waiting, Lord Parkinson, said that the “Government considers Professor Miller’s views to be ill-founded and wholly reprehensible, and wholeheartedly rejects them”. Reiterating that the Government “abhors Antisemitism” and “expect higher education providers to be at the forefront of tackling” it, Lord Parkinson said that the “University of Bristol could do more to make its condemnation of that conduct clear to current and future students and to show its commitment to creating a welcoming environment for Jewish students”.
The Professor courted controversy after reportedly accusing Jewish students of running a “campaign of censorship” on behalf of the Israeli government, branding communal institutions as working for the ‘Israel lobby’, and being “pawns of a racist regime engaged in ethnic cleansing”.
Concerns have been raised by a number of Conservative Parliamentarians in recent weeks, including Chair of the Education Select Committee, Rt. Hon. Robert Halfon MP, CFI Parliamentary Chairman (Commons) Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP and Leader of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg MP. A hundred cross-party Parliamentarians also wrote to the university’s Vice Chancellor Professor Hugh Brady through the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism.
Bristol University has launched an investigation into the professor after weeks of criticism for not taking action against the academic. Responding to the probe, the Union of Jewish Students and Bristol Jewish Society said it had come “far too late, after Jewish students have endured weeks of harassment and abuse, during which time the University has failed to protect Jewish students, who have been singled out and targeted”.
In its announcement, the University said: “We are aware of concerns about comments made by David Miller… and has also been raised in Parliament regarding Professor Miller’s comments, and the principles of freedom of speech at the University of Bristol”. It added that the University “recognise that this matter has caused deep concern for some members of our community, and also that people hold very different views on the issues raised”.
The university has not confirmed whether Professor Miller will remain in his role while the investigation is conducted.