Tribunal: Anti-Zionist British Academic Was ‘Unfairly Dismissed’

By Vicki Belovski

Jewish organizations in England have expressed their disappointment and concern over the ruling by the Bristol Employment Tribunal that controversial Bristol University academic Professor David Miller was unfairly dismissed.

Miller was employed by Bristol University as Professor of Political Sociology between 2018 and 2021 when he was fired after making comments considered to be antisemitic, in particular about Jewish students and societies on campus. During this time, there were numerous complaints about his remarks, and concerns were raised by many individuals and organizations including John Mann, MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism. Jewish students said that Miller’s behavior made them feel “unsafe and unprotected” on campus.

Miller, who is now working for an Iranian state-owned broadcast, challenged his dismissal and was mostly vindicated by the Tribunal, who ruled that his anti-Zionist position falls into the category of “protected beliefs” under the UK Equality Act.  However, they said that he had “contributed by his own actions” to his dismissal and reduced his compensation by half.

University Jewish Chaplaincy, speaking about the ruling, said, “We are deeply concerned and disappointed by the Employment Tribunal’s decision regarding Professor David Miller’s case. Despite the tribunal’s acknowledgment of Miller’s own culpability in his dismissal, the verdict may dangerously lower the bar for what is considered acceptable discourse and behaviour on campus, potentially jeopardising the safety and wellbeing of Jewish students.

“University Jewish Chaplaincy will continue its efforts to ensure that Jewish students can enjoy meaningful and safe experiences on campuses, however the primary responsibility lies with universities and educational bodies. These institutions must commit to fostering a secure and inclusive environment that safeguards the rights and wellbeing of all students.”

CST said that they are “extremely concerned about what the Employment Tribunal considers is acceptable for a University Professor to say publicly about Jewish students and Jewish Societies who raised legitimate complaints about him.” Similarly, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) said that they were “disappointed” by the judgement. They said this “may set a dangerous precedent about what can be lawfully said on campus about Jewish students and the societies at the centre of their social life. This will ultimately make Jewish students less safe.”

While the judgement explicitly said that Miller was not antisemitic, the fact that both he and his lawyer Zillur Rahman, referred to Israeli actions as “genocidal” tells its own tale.

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