Via gilad.co.uk – June 13, 2019
By Eve Mykytyn
Dr. Ali was dismissed from his job at the University of Essex for alleged anti Semitism. The charges stemmed from his opposition to a new campus society, a branch of the Zionist organization, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and from four of the many posts Dr Ali has made to Facebook over the last ten years. For more: SEE. Dr. Ali’s story makes plain that although the University claimed to dismiss him for anti Semitism, in fact he was dismissed for anti Zionism. The following interview with Dr Ali will be one of the first articles in which he will be able to tell his side of the story, which differs in important ways from the story told in the British press.
EM: Can you give us a brief bio, including where you grew up and your academic background?
MA: My family moved to London from the then newly independent country of Bangladesh in 1975 when I was seven,. We came as refugees, we had lost 22 members of our family including my elder brother who was murdered when he was barely thirteen. My father was a Professor of History and a Barrister (Lincoln’s Inn).
I grew up in the eastern suburbs of London and was educated at Chigwell School in Essex. I earned my PhD in Electronic Engineering at King’s College London. I have spent most of my career as a university lecturer in the UK.
EM: How did you get involved in the debate over the new Jewish society? Were you opposed to the formation of any Jewish group?
MA: At the University of Essex, student union members are invited by email to vote on any new student society, and a favorable vote by a majority is required for formation. Before a vote, the proposed society must clearly state its aims and objectives.
I read UJS’s manifesto and did not agree with their zealous promotion of Zionism and the state of Israel. That was my only concern. I was not voting against Jews, Judaism or their culture. When I was a student, I voted against the formation of political Islamic societies even though I am a Muslim.
The same concerns regarding the political Zionist basis of the UJS were raised by Student Union Committee Members, the University Amnesty Society, the University Palestinian Solidarity Group and 240 other students. I would like to stress that I did not and would not vote against the formation of a Jewish Society that was not politically Zionist.
EM: Did any of your students complain of anti-Semitism? Did the issue ever come up in one of your classes?
MA: I never discuss religion or politics in my lectures nor have the issues of Zionism or anti Semitism ever come up in any of my classes during my career. There has never been any complaint made against me by any student at the University or at any university at which I have taught.
Two former students, one a 50+ year old ex-British soldier, wrote a letter to Human Resources at the University defending me and stating that I was always inclusive, never discussed religion or politics and that I was an excellent lecturer. The other, a woman who is an ex- US marine who heard about my case, wrote to the Vice Chancellor directly. Neither letter was taken into consideration by the University.
EM: Why do you think you were singled out? Were there other opponents of the UJS?
MA: I made a comment on the University Palestinian Solidarity Facebook page that Zionists were trying to create a society at our University. Someone asked why I was against Jews. I replied that I was not against Jews, their religion or their culture. I was opposed to the Zionist ideology presented in the society’s manifesto. In my 10 years on Facebook, have never posted anything supporting the destruction of the state of Israel.
Obviously, I was singled out. The media falsely portrayed me as a ringleader of the 240 students who voted against the UJS. I did not urge these students to vote ‘no.’ I am a part-time Bangladeshi lecturer without powerful connections, and a bearded Muslim Asian – I was a useful scapegoat for their witch hunt.
The media failed to report that the vote was cancelled because of the 240 ‘no’ votes. After that, the UJS changed their manifesto and softened their wording regarding Israel and Zionism. They denied making this change, even though some students had screenshots of the two different manifestos.
I was asked to be part of a second vote, but I declined and did not vote. Part way thorough the second vote, the Vice Chancellor cancelled the election and created UJS as a “University” society. Later on, the Student Union revealed that ‘“some” of the 600 votes in favor of the UJS had been cast “externally” by non-students.
The University tribunal charged me based on the UJS’s second less political manifesto, to which I never objected nor even voted on. Despite my vehement objection the University failed to take notice that it was the first manifesto to which I and others objected.
EM: So all you did was post an objection to the UJS based on their first, more extreme manifesto and then vote against it?
EM: What about the Facebook posts they claimed were anti Semitic?
MA: The tribunal considered six posts and dismissed two of them. Until the tribunal no one had ever complained about a post of mine and Facebook never warned or took any action against me. The posts they considered were as follows.
A post from smoloko.com I made four years ago that a French police officer allegedly killed in terror attacks in Paris was actually a Mossad agent. There are many such theories about the 2015 attacks and I posted it for discussion purposes.
In 2016 I posted that 50,000 Jews in New York protested Israel’s policies and that the event was not really covered by the media. In the tribunal, I pointed out that my post clearly distinguished between Jews and Zionists
Posted on 1 August 2018 and clearly labeled as ‘revisionist history’ was a quote from Edgar Steele that the number of Holocaust survivors receiving pensions exceeded the number of Jews in Europe before the Holocaust.
A post on 17 January 2019 stating that the Jews put Palestinians in concentration camps. The Tribunal said I was comparing Jews to Nazis by the use of the word “concentration.” My Jewish Union rep. objected, pointing out that it was the British who originated the term ‘concentration camp’ when they used them in South Africa.