Disgraced academic Miller accused of peddling racist ‘nonsense’ at latest event

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Disgraced academic Miller accused of peddling racist ‘nonsense’ at latest event

Sacked Bristol University professor David Miller and the author Asa Winstanley attempted to repeatedly smear the communal charity at event held at Iran-linked IHRC Wembley bookshop

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

David Miller and Asa Winstanley at book promotion event in Wembley
David Miller and Asa Winstanley at book promotion event in Wembley

The Community Security Trust has accused the disgraced academic David Miller of maintaining his “long history of peddling antisemitic nonsense” after he chaired a discussion event with anti-Israel writer Asa Winstanley that featured sustained attacks on the communal organisation.

The sacked Bristol University professor asked the pro-Jeremy Corbyn writer Winstanley to explain what he had “learnt about the Zionist movement, the Israel lobby, the CST” during last Friday’s event at the headquarters of the Iran linked Islamic Human Right Commission  (IHRC) in Wembley, north London.

Winstanley, who was promoting his recently published book Weaponising Antisemitism, repeatedly praised Miller for his own research, which he said showed that “the CST works very closely with the Israeli state in order to delegitimise and attack people considered by Israel to be their enemies.”

Chairing the discussion, Miller announced near the start of the 90 minute long event, that he would “not be talking about” inflammatory posts he made on social media last week, in which he claimed “Jews are not discriminated against” and “are over-represented in Europe, North America and Latin America in positions of cultural, economic and political power.”

Accepting that the CST is “ostensibly a British charity which works to combat racism or bigotry against Jewish people, the Jewish community in this country” Winstanley told the small audience at the IHRC event that the communal organisation had been behind the delegitimisation of religious anti-Zionist groups in this country like the Neturei Karta and “secular anti-Zionists like Naomi Wimborne Idrissi” of the Jewish Voice For Labour Group.

Miller said he had actually first met Winstanley in 2011 as they became involved in defending the Palestinian Islamist Sheikh Raed Salah, convicted in Israel of racial incitement.

Speaking at last week’s HRC event, Winstanley made false claims that the “CST or the Israelis” had fabricated a poem written by Salah, which had been “fed to the Home Office” in an attempt to bar the sheik from entering the UK.

Winstanley claimed the CST is “essentially an Israel lobby organisation” working to oppose issues such as “boycotts.”

Both he and Miller also made claims that left-wing Labour figures under Corbyn, who believed there was an antisemitism problem to be tackled, including the ex-leader’s former aide Laura Murray, of “essentially taking guidance, if not orders from Israel lobby, specifically from Israel lobby groups like the CST and the Board of Deputies, who in the case of the Board in their own words, were incredibly close to Israel state itself.”

Responding to the claims a CST spokesperson said:”David Miller has a long history of peddling antisemitic nonsense and anybody helping him to do it should be ashamed of themselves.”

Other organisations to be criticised for alleged links to Israel by the duo included the Jewish Labour Movement and the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

Elsewhere in the discussion with Winstanley, Miller claimed:”People say quite often, most members of the Zionist movement are not Jewish…they point to the huge numbers of Christian Zionists in the US.”

He then added:”Most of the people who staff Israel lobby groups in this country are Jewish, but there are some who are not. I want to ask you about them… how does that happen?”

Both Miller and Winstanley singled out Labour Party figure Luke Akehurst as being one of the most prominent non-Jewish supporters of Zionism.

The cited Akehurst’s involvement with the We Believe In Israel grassroots campaign group, and Winstanley claimed he was “central to the Israel lobby.”

Friday’s event also saw the audience inside the IHRC bookshop ask their own questions. One female attendee, who said she was from a group called Jews for Justice, bemoaned the fact that only “20 people” and not 500 were present for the talk.

Another male in the audience attempted to defend antisemitic mural in Tower Hamlets that had sparked widespread criticism of Corbyn, after he praised the artist behind it.

He claimed the mural, which featured stereotypical depictions of Jewish bankers, with big noses, sat around a Monopoly board, was not in fact antisemitic, but instead representing an example of “traditional Soviet anti-capitalist” propaganda.

The man said it was an “absolute disgrace” that so many people bought into the claim the mural was antisemitic.

Neither Miller, nor Winstanley objected to this claim.

Earlier in the event Winstanley bemoaned the lack of publicity his book has received after it was published in the mainstream media. He said the only publications to promote the book, which attempts to advance the argument that Israel brought down Corbyn as Labour leader, were the communist Morning Star and Jewish Chronicle.

Ahead of the IHRC staged event, Brent Council had received complaints from local Jewish residents about it going ahead.

The Board of Deputies also condemned the event.

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