IHRA vs Jerusalem Declaration

Public meeting, April 21, 6.30pm

with introductions by Moshe Machover and Tony Greenstein

The widely discredited IHRA misdefinition has been used to purge thousands of left-wingers from the Labour Party and continues to “chill free speech” across the globe. But is the ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ better? And should we campaign for it to be adopted by the Labour Party, universities etc?

Join this important debate – register here

  • Jerusalem Declaration here
  • IHRA working definition of antisemitism here
  • Labour Against the Witchhunt: Why we oppose the IHRA misdefinition of antisemitism here

Fantastic lobby in support of Professor David Miller and Free Speech

Labour Campaign for Free Speech
info@labourfreespeech.org.uk, www.labourfreespeech.org.uk 

Press release
March 31 2021

A coalition of Labour Left organisations and speakers came together outside Bristol University on March 31 for a ‘lobby in defence of academic freedom and Professor David Miller’. Around 50 protesters assembled at 2pm outside the Wills Memorial Building to express “solidarity and support for Professor Miller”.

Some of those present then moved on to Senate House to present the vice chancellor of the university with a petition in support of David Miller. Bristol University is currently investigating Professor David Miller, teacher of political sociology, for alleged antisemitism. 

Esther Giles of the Labour Campaign for Free Speech, which organised the event, reminded the audience that, “You don’t have to agree with Professor Miller. The point is that we want to defend Academic Freedom. These attacks on academic freedom are part of a pattern of restrictions advancing in society including attacks on freedom of speech and freedom to assemble and to protest. David Miller is under threat of suspension from his University job because he has expressed views with which some people disagree. Those who seek to get David fired from his job won’t stop there. Other academics will be targeted and possibly fired. And it won’t take much of this to persuade academics to stop speaking out for fear of losing their careers.” 

ESTHER GILES ©Simon Chapman 2021

Tina Werkmann from Labour Against the Witchhunt said: “David Miller merely stated the very unexciting fact that Jewish student societies (J-Socs) and the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) are acting in support of the Israeli government. Surely that’s one of the main reasons why they exist. The UJS constitution states that the organisation’s core values include “inspiring” Jewish students to make an “enduring commitment” to Israel. The Al-Jazeera documentary ‘The Lobby’ showed that the Israeli government helps to fund the Union of Jewish Students.” 

Tina Werkmann ©Simon Chapman 2021

She further explained that “the Union of Jewish Students does not represent all Jewish Students, probably not even a majority. There are thousands of secular and non-Zionist and anti-Zionist Jewish students who are outraged by the crimes committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinians. Just like the Board of Deputies represents only a small percentage of all Jews in Britain, the UJS only represents a percentage of Jewish students. Many supporters of David Miller and the campaign for free speech are indeed Jewish.”

Dr. ELDIN FAHMY ©Simon Chapman 2021

Dr. Eldin Fahmy, Senior Lecturer of Policy Studies at University of Bristol and a colleague of Professor Miller, pointed out that “David Miller is a highly regarded expert on Islamophobia. He has been given pretty much the same lecture for many many years. There have never been any complaints. He has only come recently under fire, because the university has come under pressure and has been forced to adopt the working definition of antisemitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. This conflates anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel with antisemitism. This is an important test case – should David Miller be sacked, this will result in even more attacks on academic freedom.”

Former Bristol graduate and member of Brighton Palestinian Solidarity Campaign Dr. SANDY KENNEDY ©Simon Chapman 2021

Sandy Kennedy, a former graduate from Bristol University, who has worked in an Israeli Kibbutz, made a very moving contribution: “The checkpoints in Israel are not there to check anything. They are there to dehumanise and oppress a whole people. I find it hard to believe that students in Bristol live in fear because of what David Miller has said. Real fear is the little boy, standing in front of one of these checkpoints, clutching the hand of his little sister, while a soldier shoves a gun in his face.”

Other speakers at the event included 

  • Rita Cangialosi, co-founder of Bristol’s Museum for Palestine
  • Dr.  Ron Mendel
  • Dr Rowland Dye
  • Pete Firmin of the Labour Representation Committee
  • Dr. Joseph O’Neill from Interfaith for Palestine
  • Hedley Bashforth, retired academic and chair (suspended) of Bristol North West CLP
  • Tony Gosling, Investigative Journalist from Bristol

Jewish Voice for Labour sent a message of support, which was read out at the lobby:  “The University of Bristol has come under huge pressure to sack one of its senior academics, Professor David Miller. The attack has concentrated on his public statements, which reiterate forcefully his analysis of the role and influence of Israel and of Zionism, its supporting political ideology. The demand for David Miller’s sacking has been substantially based on the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, a widely criticised document that should have no role in university governance. Undoubtedly there are people who have been offended by what he has said. But, in our view there is no supporting evidence to suggest that Miller’s views are motivated by antisemitism. And of course, there is no right not to be offended. Indeed, the freedom of expression of staff, of students and of visiting speakers is expressly protected by law. For the university to “cancel” his job would be a truly extreme case of no platforming. Jewish Voice for Labour calls on the University of Bristol to resist calls to sack David Miller.”

Film director Ken Loach sent a message of solidarity, which was read out: “Universities depend on the freedom within the law to challenge all ideologies and political movements. Professor Miller is renowned and respected for his rigorous analysis and considered judgements. His voice is important.  All are free to challenge his opinions but none should advocate their suppression. Everyone who cherishes free speech should stand with David Miller.”

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters also supports David Miller: “The Israeli Lobby and its supporters in certain factions of Keir Starmer’s “Blairite” apology for a Labour Party, use of false accusations of anti semitism, as its only defense of Israel’s illegal, racist, apartheid policies. That would be laughable were it not so insidious and effective. David Miller, like many other good men and women, who Keir Starmer has purged from the Labour Party, are the life blood of a real labour movement that believes in human rights, a party that must be free from censorship and foreign influence. Support David Miller and the rest of the good and true – the Labour movement depends on it”

For editors:

– Organisations in support of the March 31 action include Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Campaign for Free Speech, Labour Against the Witchhunt, Labour Left Alliance, Labour in Exile Network, Support David Miller Campaign, Labour Representation Committee, Labour International Left Alliance, Bristol and West Labour Left Alliance and a number of local left groups.

– David Miller is also supported by the rapper Low Key, comedian Alexei Sayle, former Labour MP Chris Williamson and Middle Eastern expert, Professor Moshe Machover and messages of support from them were read out – they are available here: https://www.labourfreespeech.org.uk

– Hundreds of academics and Jewish supporters have signed two open letters in support of Miller, which are available on the website here: https://supportmiller.org

– More information about the day of action here:
https://www.labourfreespeech.org.uk/we-will-not-be-silenced-march-31-national-day-of-action-to-defend-academic-freedom-free-speech-and-the-right-to-protest-defend-david-miller/

Press release: Lobby in Defence of academic freedom and David Miller!

Press release

A coalition of Labour Left organisations has called a ‘National Day of Action to defend academic freedom and free speech’ for tomorrow March 31 in Bristol. 

Bristol University is currently investigating Professor David Miller, teacher of political sociology, for alleged antisemitism. “Nothing could be further from the truth”, says Tina Werkmann from the Labour Campaign for Free Speech. “Professor Miller is a highly regarded academic who has spoken out against Zionism. That is why he has come under fire. Professor David Miller’s job at Bristol University is at stake, because he dared to speak out on Zionism. This is an important test case – should he be sacked, this will result in even more attacks on academic freedom.”

Organisations in support of the March 31 action include Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Campaign for Free Speech, Labour Left Alliance, Labour in Exile Network, Support David Miller Campaign, Labour Representation Committee, Labour International Left Alliance, Bristol and West Labour Left Alliance and a number of local left groups.

They will assemble at 2pm outside the Wills Memorial Building of Bristol’s University to express “solidarity and support for Professor Miller”.

Jewish Voice for Labour sent a message of support, which will be read out at the lobby and reads as follows:  “The University of Bristol has come under huge pressure to sack one of its senior academics, Professor David Miller. The attack has concentrated on his public statements, which reiterate forcefully his analysis of the role and influence of Israel and of Zionism, its supporting political ideology. The demand for David Miller’s sacking has been substantially based on the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, a widely criticised document that should have no role in university governance. Undoubtedly there are people who have been offended by what he has said. But, in our view there is no supporting evidence to suggest that Miller’s views are motivated by antisemitism. And of course, there is no right not to be offended. Indeed, the freedom of expression of staff, of students and of visiting speakers is expressly protected by law. For the university to “cancel” his job would be a truly extreme case of no platforming. Jewish Voice for Labour calls on the University of Bristol to resist calls to sack David Miller.”

Dr. Kevin Bean, fellow of the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool, and a member of the steering committee of the Labour Campaign for Free Speech says: “The right to free speech and the right to protest are coming under increasingly brutal attack. The government is already threatening to defund universities who do not adopt the IHRA mis-definition of antisemitism, which even its author Kenneth Stern has described as having been abused to ‘chill free speech’. Together with the proposed policing bill, which would make it illegal to cause ‘serious annoyance’, we are witnessing a very serious, coordinated attack against our basic human and democratic rights.”

David Miller is also supported by the rapper Low Key, comedian Alexei Sayle, former Labour MP Chris Williamson and Middle Eastern expert, Professor Moshe Machover. Hundreds of academics and Jewish supporters have signed two open letters in support of Miller, which are available on the website here: https://supportmiller.org

Film director Ken Loach has said: “Universities depend on the freedom within the law to challenge all ideologies and political movements. Professor Miller is renowned and respected for his rigorous analysis and considered judgements. His voice is important.  All are free to challenge his opinions but none should advocate their suppression. Everyone who cherishes free speech should stand with David Miller.”

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters has said: “The Israeli Lobby and its supporters in certain factions of Keir Starmer’s “Blairite” apology for a Labour Party, use of false accusations of anti semitism, as its only defense of Israel’s illegal, racist, apartheid policies. That would be laughable were it not so insidious and effective. David Miller, like many other good men and women, who Keir Starmer has purged from the Labour Party, are the life blood of a real labour movement that believes in human rights, a party that must be free from censorship and foreign influence. Support David Miller and the rest of the good and true – the Labour movement depends on it”

For editors:

More information about the day of action here:
https://www.labourfreespeech.org.uk/we-will-not-be-silenced-march-31-national-day-of-action-to-defend-academic-freedom-free-speech-and-the-right-to-protest-defend-david-miller/

The Support David Miller Campaign is here: https://supportmiller.org

The lobby takes place at 2pm outside Bristol University (Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1QE).

We will not be silenced! March 31: National day of action to defend academic freedom and free speech! Defend David Miller!

Download the leaflet here in PDF format

The right to free speech and the right to protest are coming under increasingly brutal attack. Professor David Miller’s job at Bristol University is at stake, because he dared to speak out on Zionism. This is an important test case – should he be sacked, this will result in even more attacks on academic freedom.

Organisations in support include Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Campaign for Free Speech, Labour Left Alliance, Labour in Exile Network, Support David Miller Campaign, Labour Representation Committee, Labour International Left Alliance, Bristol and West Labour Left Alliance and a number of local left groups.

The government is already threatening to defund universities who do not adopt the IHRA mis-definition of antisemitism, which even its author Kenneth Stern has described as having been abused to “chill free speech”.

The proposed policing bill would make it illegal to cause “serious annoyance” – with punishment of up to 10 years in jail. Worse than that, the law is to be applied even if “somebody is put at risk” of so-called “serious harm” (like ‘annoying’ somebody) – ie, if no action has taken place. The bill would make it an offence if just one person complains about feeling “serious distress…annoyance…[or even] inconvenience”.

Wednesday March 31
2pm: Lobby outside Wills Memorial Building, Bristol University, Queens Rd, Bristol BS8 1QE

Right to protest under attack: We are more than ‘seriously annoyed’!

The right to protest, like the right to free speech, is coming under savage attack by the Tory government. 

The government’s 296-page policing bill would make it illegal to cause “serious annoyance” – with punishment of up to 10 years’ jail. Worse than that, the law is to be applied even if “somebody is put at risk” of such so-called “serious harm” – ie, when no action has actually taken place! 

The bill would make it an offence if just one person complains about feeling “serious distress…annoyance…[or even] inconvenience”.

This law could open the floodgates to vexatious complaints similar to what happened with the antisemitism smear campaign in the Labour Party – somebody could for example report “feeling at risk” by a criticism or a protest, which could result in police action and a prison sentence. 

We are more than ‘seriously annoyed’ by the bill – and because of the brutal enforcement of Covid restrictions by the police, we are not even allowed to protest against the plans (at least until March 29, when the ban on public demonstrations will be lifted – watch this space!)

The ruthless policing of the women’s protests at Camden, and the detainment of pro-Palestine protesters in Wolverhampton who were on their way to a protest, show that the government is already massively tightening the screws.

The right to free speech and to protest are the fundamental cornerstones of any democratic society. If we cannot protest, we are robbed of the most basic and elementary method of holding government to account.

Free Speech Commemoration Quilt

As agreed at our founding conference, a working group is now taking forward this project – here is an outline of their work:

Are you seeing red at the moment? You’re not alone! So – come and get creative with See Red Sew Loud! Join us to create a digital commemorative quilt –  then sew it for real!

https://www.instagram.com/see_red_sew_loud/

What this quilt does

  • Brings all the resistance together in one virtual pictorial space 
  • Gives creative expression to our anger  – we can even have fun!
  • Shares feelings and experiences  so as to reduce isolation and fear
  • Creates a permanent memorial of a historic injustice 

Why a quilt?

Our quilt draws on centuries of tradition of protest and commemorative textiles. In  war zones these have come to be known as conflict textiles. 

Everyone knows about the Aids Memorial Quilt – this is similar  

I’m in! What next?

Email us at seeredsewloud@gmail.com for further information

Who we are

The project is an initiative from South West Wiltshire CLP.  We needed something creative to deal with the anger we have, and to improve our mental health!

We aim to showcase the quilt at the Labour Party Conference 2021 in Brightone where we will also run more quilting workshops to build the project. 

Quilt instructions

1. Background fabric

Fabric comes in 90cm, 115cm or 140cm width (old money 36” 45” 54”)

  • Red material as background or borders – suggest cotton weight 110gsm (polycotton) or 128gsm (cotton)
  • Cut out a 60 cm (24”square) to allow for seams (2cm) ie finished size 58cm (23”) square

Cost should not be a problem. You can use existing fabrics eg a red skirt or shirt or t-shirt

You can dye old sheets red. Contact us if you need fabric.

2. Design

Please try and feature something about the locality eg. Brighton Pavilion, harbour at Hartlepool. Liver birds for Liverpool. 

Make sure you have the name of your CLP or group prominent.

Think about the message you want to send and what you want to memorialise.

It may be a particular local event that stands out in the chronology of suppression of democracy eg. The Bristol South West zoom CLP meeting; the Hartlepool election crisis.

Or it may commemorate the experiences of your local members or CLP as a whole.

How to do it:

  • Stencil, transfer, drawing, applique, embroidery – anything you like!
  • You can also print designs directly onto fabric, 
  • or we can organise this for you if you get in touch
  • You can write onto fabric and then stitch (which is what I did for the Westbury White Horse panel)

3. Please get in touch when you have finished your panel, and we will tell you where to send it.

Approval

Our guidelines are as you would expect – relating to abuse (anger and strong language is fine!), human rights and equality and diversity legislation. We may come back to you for clarification or further comment.

Data protection

We will not share your email or personal details with anyone else.

ALSO 

Please contribute an image to the digital quilt.

The digital quilt is made up of square panels of images that you send in.

The images can be…. photos, words, quotes, logos, images of documents, artwork, photos of something you have made- anything you like that represents or reflects what is happening and your response to it.

  • RED needs to feature prominently as a colour in the image you send – background, border or text colour
  • Add a caption if you wish for interest and explanation
  • The name of your organisation or CLP should be on the image. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that is fine, but we would like to commemorate the names of resisters as far as is possible, so please identify yourselves if you can. We will not post names of individuals unless you put it on your image.
  • The story – please send an accompanying word file -or email text – that describes the background to your image – what happened to you, date, place, names of those involved (if appropriate and you have their consent.) why you chose this image and who created it.

Please send to seeredsewloud@gmail.com, with SRSL IMAGE in the subject line.

For example, see:

https://www.aidsmemorial.org/interactive-aids-quilt

https://afsp.org/chapter/montana-lifekeeper-memory-quilts

For ideas on easy making of panels (in the context of banners) see

https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/1o1bCt5pBJS5P9ITUHSTMkPH2ZbrLAWzLrHj4BPEJ28I/mobilebasic

Asa Winstanley: Don’t let the Israeli lobby fire David Miller

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”.

READ: Israel seeks diplomatic allies against the ICC

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.

Please register and join here if you can.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210313-dont-let-the-israeli-lobby-fire-david-miller/

Ken Loach, Alexei Sayle etc: We stand with Professor David Miller!

Ken Loach: “Universities depend on the freedom within the law to challenge all ideologies and political movements. Professor Miller is renowned and respected for his rigorous analysis and considered judgements. His voice is important.  All are free to challenge his opinions but none should advocate their suppression. Everyone who cherishes free speech should stand with David Miller.”
Continue reading Ken Loach, Alexei Sayle etc: We stand with Professor David Miller!

Press release: Support for David Miller grows; Ken Loach and Alexei Sayle speak out

Labour Campaign for Free Speech
www.labourfreespeech.org.uk

PRESS RELEASE
March 12 2021

Free Speech campaign grows to defend Bristol Professor David Miller – public figures including Ken Loach and Alexei Sayle speak out in his support

A campaign is growing to defend Professor David Miller against attempts to get him sacked from Bristol University. 

Continue reading Press release: Support for David Miller grows; Ken Loach and Alexei Sayle speak out