by Asa Winstanley, article first published in the Middle Eastern Monitor here
I first met sociology professor David Miller a decade ago. His depth of knowledge and thoughtful research impressed me right away.
At the time, I was reporting on the story of Raed Salah, a Palestinian Muslim preacher and political activist who was doing a small speaking tour in the UK. He had been the victim of a deliberate smear campaign and was briefly imprisoned.
Salah, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, had been granted a visa to the UK and entered the country in the normal fashion. But soon after, something changed. Israel’s agents and proxies in the UK were used to mount a smear campaign against Salah.
Disturbingly, it turned out that a British charity called the Community Security Trust (CST) was used as a go-between from Israel to the Home Office. Much of the information that the Home Office relied on upon its decision to rescind Salah’s visa seemed to have come from Israeli disinformation campaigns. For example, a poem that Salah wrote was mangled and twisted to make it appear anti-Semitic.
Israel’s long disinformation war against Salah was ultimately successful, and he is currently a political prisoner in Israeli jails, convicted on trumped-up charges of “incitement”. In reality, Israel considers any form of Palestinian existence to be “incitement” and any form of Palestinian resistance – no matter how non-violent – to be “terrorism”.
David Miller provided an expert testimony in Salah’s trial. He was able to give the proper context to the CST’s particular slanted views on Palestinian political activism, which has a long history of smearing and attacking. As Miller put it, the CST has a: “Tendency to treat denunciation of Israel or Zionism as evidence of anti-Semitism.”
Salah was ultimately vindicated by the British court system. He never intended to stay in the UK, but after being arrested, he knew that if he were to be deported, it would have been used by the Israeli occupation authorities against him back home. So he fought the case, enduring almost a year of house arrest.
The judge finally ruled that the then-Home Secretary Theresa May had been “misled” as to the facts on Salah’s poem. Somewhere along the lines, the word “Jews” had been inserted into a translation of Salah’s poem – a word he had not used and, as the original Arabic showed, he had not implied. It was a poem criticising “oppressors”, implicitly denouncing Israeli occupation forces as criminal bombers of mosques.
Miller played a key role in thwarting the Israeli plot to have a popular Palestinian leader deported from the UK. But today, Israel and its lobby are running an all-out campaign to have Miller fired from his job at Bristol university.
It’s hard to escape the impression that they have long memories – long and vindictive.
Since 2011 Miller, an expert researcher into the shadowy machinations of corporate and state lobbying and influence networks, has commissioned and written a series of major reports on the Israel lobby.
In 2013, his organisation Spinwatch published an important report on BICOM, a major Israel lobby group in the UK. Contrary to the Zionist smears which falsely claim that Miller and people like him (including this author) promote “conspiracy theories” about some “all-powerful Jewish lobby”, Spinwatch’s report on BICOM showed how the group has actually lost the battle to influence British public opinion and was actually retreating on that front, which had been its initial main goal.
In 2016, Spinwatch published another ground-breaking report, this time on the Israel lobby in the European Union. This one showed how anti-Muslim groups in the US had funded the Israel lobby in Europe. The links between the Zionist movement and the global anti-Muslim network have been a major theme in Miller’s work for years.
As revenge for Miller’s exposure of their activities, pro-Israel networks in the UK are currently waging a war against Miller. This is part of what he, accurately, describes as Israel’s war on British universities.
Pro-Israel activists, both on and off campus, are demanding that Miller be fired. Emboldened by their successful campaign to purge Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party and hold veto power over the party’s membership, the Israel lobby is growing in ambition.
It now demands nothing less than the power to veto membership of British academia. Any opponent of Zionism, Israel’s racist state ideology, is to be purged. Make no mistake: Miller is merely a test case.
This is nothing less than an attempt at state capture by a hostile foreign power.
But despite the powerful forces arrayed against Miller, including influential MPs and academics, there is a growing groundswell of support for the professor, including from his academic colleagues at British university.
An important online rally with rapper and activist Lowkey, journalists Jonathan Cook and Matt Kennard and anti-Zionist Israeli Moshe Machover will be held at 5 pm on Saturday afternoon.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.