On sait que la reprise en main du parti travailliste par les blairistes s’est traduite par une purge de tous les progressistes, dont des personnalités juives fort connues, comme Moshe Machover, sous prétexte d’antisémitisme. L’offensive s’étend maintenant aux universités, où les enseignants-chercheurs qui essayent de faire comprendre aux étudiants la réalité de la colonisation israélienne et son emprise sur nos sociétés sont l’objet de campagnes médiatiques et de pressions financières. Une première brèche a été faite dans les libertés académiques, car l’Université de Bristol vient de révoquer un professeur de sociologie, David Miller. Une enquête indépendante a conclu qu’il n’avait rien commis d’illégal, mais l’université le licencie pourtant pour motif non précisé. Nos amis du BRICUP, ainsi que les “Jewish Voices for Labour“, nous demandent d’intervenir auprès de l’Université. J’ai écrit hier la lettre qui suit et je vous encourage à en faire autant.
Dear Mr. Vice-Chancellor
As a former University President, I am appalled by the dismissal of Professor Miller from Bristol University. Here on the continent the historical precedents for dismissing university professors are so grave that we feel that it should be done only with the utmost reluctance and after a well-documented and open process.We find that the argument given by Bristol University, namely that “Professor Miller did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff”, do not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from universities. Indeed, the charge is so vague and unsubstiantated that it can apply to anyone, and opens the door to all kinds of wrongful dismissals. We are aware that there is an ongoing campaign to accuse Professor Miller of antisemitism, and the dismissal of Professor Miller without further explanation can only be understood as confirming the antisemetism charge. We understand, however, that the University commissioned “an independent report from a leading Queen’s Counsel who considered the important issue of academic freedom of expression and found that Professor Miller’s comments did not constitute unlawful speech” . In view of this conclusion, in endorsing de facto the antisemitism charge, Bristol University is indulging in what is purely and simply a smear, unworthy of any respectable institution, let alone a university.
I myself am a mathematician, and my work has never put me in conflict with private or public interests: no one cares. Sociologists and political scientists, however, are in a very different situation, since their work, they are bold enough to study their own society, as they should, is bound to go against private or public interests. For this reason, they have to be protected, more than any other field of knowledge. Otherwise, sociology or political science will just wither away, as they did in the Soviet Union, which was a powerhouse for the mathematical and physical sciences, and a sham for the social sciences. The Soviet Union was not saved by its strength in mathematics, and universities cannot afford either not to have independent thinking in the social sciences.
It is in the long-term interest of all universities, including Bristol, that you rescind the dismissal of Professor Miller.
Former President, the University of Paris-Dauphine
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Member of the Academia Europea