Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

UK professor who called Jewish students ‘pawns’ of Israel fired over comments

(JTA) — A professor at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom was fired Friday over his past comments about Jews and Israel.

In remarks during a lecture in February, David Miller, a professor of political sociology, called Israel “a violent, racist, foreign regime engaged in ethnic cleansing” and referred to Jewish students who protested against his previous comments about Israel as Israel’s “pawns.”

There’s “a real question of abuse here — of Jewish students on British campuses being used as political pawns by a violent, racist, foreign regime engaged in ethnic cleansing,” Miller said.

Miller’s comments during the February lecture provoked protests from Jewish students at the university as well as condemnations from members of Parliament and leaders of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom. In an open letter in March, several hundred academics, including linguist Noam Chomsky and gender theorist Judith Butler, voiced their support for Miller. An opposing letter condemning Miller’s remarks also garnered hundreds of signatures.

In March, local police said they would investigate whether Miller’s comments constituted a “potential hate crime” and the University of Bristol said an internal investigation into Miller’s conduct was already underway.

In a statement Friday, the university said it did not find Miller’s comments to be “unlawful speech” but that Miller was fired because he “did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff.”

Responding to the decision, Miller called the investigation a “shambolic process that seems to have been vetted by external actors,” according to the Guardian. He added: “Israel’s assets in the UK have been emboldened by the university collaborating with them to shut down teaching about Islamophobia. The University of Bristol is no longer safe for Muslim, Arab or Palestinian students.” Miller said he planned to appeal the decision.

The Union of Jewish Students, an organization representing Jewish students in the United Kingdom, celebrated the decision in a series of tweets. “This announcement concludes months and years of tireless campaigns and actions by students to try and get the university and authorities to listen, and we are pleased that action has finally been taken,” they wrote.

— The post UK professor who called Jewish students ‘pawns’ of Israel fired over comments appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.