In October 2021 sociology Professor David Miller was dismissed by Bristol University after a full scale campaign by a number of bad faith actors. Leading the charge was the Israeli funded Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and backing them were Conservative MPs on the Education Select Committee and a petition from over 100 parliamentarians which alleged that comments Miller had made concerning UJS, were threatening the safety of Jewish students on campus.
Apparently Jewish students, or rather Jewish students who are Zionists, are so fragile that the exercise of free speech by anti-Zionists poses a threat to their well being. The Conservative Party, which has introduced a Free Speech Commissioner to protect free speech for bigots on campus, is all in favour of removing the right of free speech when it comes to supporters of the Palestinians.
Bristol University had commissioned not one, but two senior lawyers to investigate Miller’s statements and both found that what he had said “did not constitute unlawful speech”. That should have been the end of the matter but Bristol University by that time was determined to put an end to the government and Zionist pressure on them and if that meant ending Miller’s contract, so be it.
The pretext for Miller’s sacking was that he “did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff”. This was a travesty of justice. The allegations of anti-Semitism against him had been the reason for his suspension yet the disciplinary panel chose in the absence of any proof of anti-Semitism to make vague and unsubstantiated allegations concerning his behaviour.
The panel hearing the allegations against Miller dismissed him, not because of the allegations made against him but because of concerted political pressure from the Zionist lobby and pro-Zionist politicians.
- Jews are not discriminated against.
- They are over-represented in Europe, North America and Latin America in positions of cultural, economic and political power.
- They are therefore, in a position to discriminate against actually marginalised groups.
These comments could have been more carefully phrased but there was nothing anti-Semitic about them.
Today Jews are not discriminated against as Jews. Unlike the 1930s there is no state racism directed against Jews in the West. They are not discriminated against in employment, the media or academia. Jews are not subject to police violence and deaths in custody. Jews do not come into conflict with the immigration authorities and nor are they deported because they are Jewish. There is no Jewish Windrush Scandal when Black British citizens were deported to the West Indies despite having lived here for decades.
Miller said that Jews are overrepresented in public life. The evidence is clear. It is a fact that Jews have seven times more members of parliament, 3.4% (22 out of 650) than their size as a percentage of the population (0.5%) warrants. They are over represented in The Sunday Times Rich List.
20% of all Nobel Prize winners are Jewish despite Jews constituting perhaps 0.2% of the world’s population. There are good reasons for this. Historical reasons for this success but nonetheless Jews are overrepresented in certain fields.
Today there is no evidence that Jews suffer discrimination in the employment field or in the professions in the West. Quite the contrary. Jews are prominent in all the major professions and areas of public life.
The third point Miller made is more problematic and speculative but it isn’t anti-Semitic.
Miller’s comments that Jews in the West and Britain in particular are a privileged part of the White community are made because ‘anti-Semitism’ has been used to target the left and in particular the radical Jeremy Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party. It was suggested that Jews are an oppressed ethnic minority suffering from anti-Semitism. There is no reason not to interrogate this allegation. Especially when Zionist groups say that Jews (Zionist Jews of course) have the right to define their own oppression, which just happens to be anti-Zionism.
The facts about the sociology of Jews in Britain are quite clear. William Rubinstein, a past President of the Jewish Historical Society, wrote in the ‘The Left, the Right and the Jews’ that ‘British Jewry has migrated into the upper-middle class.’
Professor Geoffrey Alderman wrote in The Jewish Chronicle (28.3.36) that London Jewry is ‘arguably more bourgeois now than at any time since the mid-nineteenth century.’ In The Jewish Community in British Politics (p.137) Alderman wrote that ‘The Jewish proletariat has virtually disappeared. By 1961, over 40% of Anglo-Jewry was to be found in the upper two social classes compared to less than 20% of the general population.’
Rubinstein went even further. He held that ‘The rise of Western Jewry to unparalleled affluence and high status has led to the near-disappearance of a Jewish proletariat of any size; indeed, the Jews may become the first ethnic group in history without a working class of any size.
It is quite clear that Jews in Britain and elsewhere in the West are a privileged section of the White community. Yet if Miller had said any of the above accusations of anti-Semitism would have come thick and fast. Telling the truth it appears can also be anti-Semitic!
Post-war socio-economic changes have seen the Jewish working class migrate from the East End of London to the middle class suburbs of north London.
Politically, these changes have been reflected in support for Israel and western imperialism. This in turn has resulted in Israel defining what it is to be Jewish for the majority of Jews. Jewish identity is no longer about the struggle against racism and oppression but about the oppression of others.
Alderman argued that support for Israel had ‘acquired a centrality rivalling, and perhaps even surpassing, that of the synagogue.’ (The Jewish Chronicle 28.3.86) It was even suggested by American neo-conservative Norman Podhoretz that the destruction of Israel would destroy the Jewish religion in the diaspora.
Many of Miller’s supporters in 2021 were unhappy about his research into Zionist power networks and in particular its pivotal role in the growth of Islamaphobia. Groups like Jewish Voices for Labour were unhappy with the focus on Zionism because of the conflation of Jew and Zionist by their political opponents.
It is easy to declare one’s support for the Palestinians but more difficult to declare one’s opposition to Zionism. It is as if supporters of Black liberation in South Africa had refused to oppose Apartheid on ‘cultural’ grounds.The days when Europeans defended colonialism and the accompanying racism by proclaiming that they were racially superior have gone. The Nazis discredited the ‘science’ of racial supremacy. Today’s racists proclaim that their identity is cultural not political or racial. Generation Identity and others on the far-right have adapted their language accordingly. It’s not that they hate Black or Muslim people it’s just that they prefer to keep to their own kind. This is the argument Zionism uses for a Jewish state.
This is why prominent members of the far-right, from Geert Wilders to Donald Trump love Israel. It is exactly the kind of state they wish to create. What is there not to like about Israel if you are a racist?
JVL and also Bricup (British Universities Palestine) have used the occasion of Miller’s tweet in order to distance themselves from him. See for example this week’s The Jewish Chronicle, Academic support for David Miller starts to wane after ‘Jews are over-represented’ claim. In so doing both JVL and Bricup have given comfort to the ardent supporters of Israeli apartheid and Zionism.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.