Police investigate professor’s call to ‘blow up’ Jewish Labour meeting

Academic apologises as universities strip her of emeritus and honorary status

Jane Dalton
Friday 08 December 2023 17:55 GMT
Comments

Related video: Sir Keir Starmer apologises for antisemitism in Labour

Police are investigating a post by a retired university professor calling on someone to “blow up” a Jewish Labour Movement meeting.

The University of Bristol has stripped Harriet Bradley of her emeritus and honorary status, and it’s understood the University of West England has done the same.

Prof Bradley, a former Labour councillor and sociology lecturer, has apologised “to all people who’ve been hurt” by the post on social media, which she later deleted.

She said she deeply regretted writing the post “in a moment of anger”.

The Metropolitan Police have recorded a “massive increase” in antisemitic hate crimes since the eruption of violence between Israel and Hamas militants.

Avon and Somerset Police said they were investigating the post as “an incident of malicious communications”.

It was in response to a meeting by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) next month, where speakers include shadow health secretary Wes Streeting.

Ms Bradley quoted that post, adding: “Somebody blow up the venue!”

The Campaign Against Antisemitism said it had reported the post to counterterrorism police.

But the academic admitted it had been a mistake, telling LabourList: “I would like to apologise to anybody hurt or frightened by my tweet. It was a remark made as a joke but I can see now it was a terrible mistake in awful taste.

“I am of Jewish heritage, had a Jewish partner for many years and many of my extended family are Jewish.

“I feel great respect for the Jewish people but I deplore what Netanyahu and the Israeli Defence Force are doing in Gaza, killing and mutilating thousands of children and babies.”

She said her “ill-thought joke” reflected her anger at the Labour Party’s position on Israel.

“Of course I do not want to harm anyone…I repeat my apology which is sincere and hope you will make it clear that I wish no harm to British Jews.”

Shadow culture secretary Thangam Debbonaire said she was putting pressure on the University of Bristol to take action.

The university said: “We are deeply dismayed by the inflammatory comment on social media from a former employee who has long retired and are taking appropriate action.”

On Friday, the university added: “We can confirm that we have withdrawn the Emeritus and Honorary Status of retired employee Professor Harriet Bradley with immediate effect.”

The University of West England said on Wednesday that it would investigate further.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust charity said: “It is utterly shocking that anyone would make a threat like this against Jewish people, at a time when anti-Jewish hate crime is at record levels.

“It’s even worse that this comes from a former councillor and academic who ought to know better.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in