Outrage as Professor Miller set to teach ‘offensive’ module despite investigation

Union of Jewish Students accuses University of Bristol of ‘legitimising the targeted attacks he made towards Jewish students’


Professor David Miller is to teach two modules this term despite being under investigation since March after calling the university’s Jewish society “political pawns [used] by a violent, racist foreign regime”.

The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) accused the University of Bristol of assuming his “innocence” and “legitimising the targeted attacks he made towards Jewish students” as the controversial academic looks set to return to work.

Prof Miller was initially placed under investigation after Jewish students said they did not feel safe while he taught at the university.

But module information released for the coming academic year reveals that he is to teach two courses: ‘Understanding terrorism’ and ‘Harms of the powerful’.

UJS said the latter module had been “specifically disavowed by the Jewish community for containing offensive material”.

Leaked lecture slides from the course show Prof Miller classifying a range of British Jewish communal bodies - from the Board of Deputies to the CST - as tools of Israeli foreign policy and causes of Islamophobia.

Furious Bristol JSoc representatives have now written to the university’s School of Policy Studies to demand its director, Esther Dermot, “stand with and protect” Jewish students.

Prof Miller teaches sociology at the university and is a leading member of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media, a group slammed as “apologists for Assad” by The Times.

He was suspended from the Labour Party last year after claiming that Sir Keir Starmer had taken “Zionist” money.

Earlier this year he called for “the end of Zionism” and said Israel “is trying to exert its will all over the world”, leading to a hate crime investigation from Avon and Somerset police and denunciation by 550 academics including Simon Schama and Simon Sebag Montefiore.

In a statement, the University of Bristol emphasised their freedom of speech policy, defending the right of their staff: “to speak openly without fear of censorship or limitation, provided that this right is exercised responsibly, within the law, and with respect for others who may have differing views... 

“We remain committed to providing a positive experience for all our students and staff, including by providing a welcoming environment for Jewish students, and to fostering good relations and an inclusive University community.” 

A spokesperson for the Support David Miller campaign questioned the "claims of ‘discomfort’ made by these pro-Israel campaigners" adding "they should not be allowed to dictate policy to British universities.”

The School of Social Policy has been contacted for comment. 

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