The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) voices profound concern and staunch disagreement with the recent judgement that has enshrined anti-Zionism as a protected belief in the workplace. The Bristol Employment Tribunal has ruled that academic David Miller was discriminated against at Bristol University due to his anti-Zionist views, a decision that has far-reaching consequences for the fight against antisemitism.
The crux of the NJA’s concern lies in the judgement’s assertion that anti-Zionism qualifies as a philosophical belief and a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. The NJA firmly believes that this equation is deeply flawed. Anti-Zionism serves as a thinly veiled form of antisemitism, rooted in the denial of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. To equate it with protected beliefs not only fails to protect genuine philosophical beliefs but also threatens to legitimize hatred.
This judgement inadvertently weakens the ongoing battle against antisemitism by blurring the lines between legitimate criticism and hate-driven ideologies. By recognizing anti-Zionism as a protected belief, it sends a dangerous message that may embolden antisemitic individuals and groups who exploit anti-Zionist rhetoric to target Jewish communities.
The NJA finds it extremely telling that many pro-Palestine protesters have taken to social media to voice their support for Miller and interpret the verdict as a validation of the decades-old trope that “Zionism is racism,” as well as their own hate-filled, antisemitic, and pro-Hamas sympathies.
Furthermore, the NJA remains deeply concerned about Professor David Miller’s continued promotion of extremist ideologies, exemplified by his recent sharing of videos on social media depicting Hamas in a positive light. Hamas is a recognised terrorist organisation responsible for countless acts of violence, including its massacre of Israelis on October 7. To portray such an organisation positively is not only misleading but also highly offensive.
The NJA calls upon academic institutions and lawmakers to critically evaluate the implications of this judgement on their campuses and within society at large.