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No professor should be antisemitic

Since the recent actions by David Miller and the investigation into whether this leading professor at a top university in the UK is anti-semetic or not, I have decided to share a letter I wrote to Bristol University about my time there. 
I am yet to receive a reply. One of the only times I experienced anti-semitism was during my time at the university including light comments from fellow students about being Jewish & having it easier or direct comments about my Israeli national identity.  My thesis actually received one of the lowest grades in the year. While I was not proud then, I share these words today with concern about the future of academia. Freedom of speech is necessary. Hate speech is not. 

Dear Bristol University Board of Governors,

I have decided to write this in light of everything going on with David Miller.

It takes me back to my own time at Bristol University as a sociology student. I “graduated” in 2010. I did not attend my own graduation since I was so depressed and ashamed when I received my results.

I tried to deny that it could be in any way related to the subject I chose for my dissertation, my last name or place of birth. My dissertation was about the IDF and I even appealed since the grading and feedback made no sense.

I received little help in the matter and actually was even questioned as to whether I have evidence for not attending my graduation ceremony during the appeal process.

I moved back to Israel two months after finishing my studies at Bristol to work on a book after speaking to the historian Martin Gilbert. Today I am an entrepreneur in Tel Aviv with artists and customers from around the world including Palestinians and Israelis.

When I read the news and hear David Miller, I feel saddened. In this video, specifically 5:45, when David says there is not a serious problem of antisemitism in the UK, he is being anti-semitic. By denying it, he is expressing to his audience and followers information that is incorrect. “After the 2019 figures from the Community Security Trust (CST) revealed a record high of 1,805 antisemitic incidents in the UK for the year.” Written by Martin Armstrong in February 2021.

In minute 6:30, Miller explicitly connects between Judaism and Zionism. They are two separate identities. I find it ironic that I need to explain to a sociologist the difference and even more ironic after re-reading my dissertation which is actually diving into the difference.

I actually quote David Miller’s book On Nationality in my dissertation multiple times. Miller argues that even though “every nation must have a homeland, it is by no means that every member should have been born there” and immigrants need to prove to their new society that they are “made of the right stuff” (1975: 26).

I am not proud of all the government’s actions in Israel and await a new leader. I dream of peace. Yet, to quote Miller, I am proud of being “made of the right stuff.” Standing up for my identity, when it is needed. I feel appalled to think I possibly received a lower grade than deserved for a very objectively written dissertation.

11 years later I  stand by those that request for David Miller to be removed from the staff of Bristol University.

Currently, a not-so-proud alumni member of Bristol University, yet grateful that you read these words and also grateful for the friends I made in my time there.

Looking forward to your response and thank you!

Sharonna

While I have not heard back from the University yet, I am optimistic there will be a reply. In the meantime, may the words push the fight towards a brighter light.

About the Author
Sharonna is an arts entrepreneur and co-creator. She is the founder of Dreame; a global collective of artists that create bespoke works of art for commissioners. Dreamers are invited to send a memory, story, vision, dream or imaginative thought on dreame.me. She has created global installations in the US, Israel, Japan, Austria, Norway, China, Tanzania, Japan, Australia, France, UAE, Nepal, UK and even the International Space Station. She also created Rega; a jazz and art salon. Sharonna is an advocate of disconnecting, diving into our subconscious and co-creating.
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