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Tribunal rules that expressing anti-Zionist views is a ‘philosophical belief and a protected characteristic’

In the case of Dr D M v University of Bristol a tribunal has made a landmark ruling that anti-Zionism is a legally protected characteristic as it found in favour of a sacked university professor.

In the case of Dr D M v University of Bristol a tribunal has made a landmark ruling that anti-Zionism is a legally protected characteristic as it found in favour of a sacked university professor.

Dr DM was ‘unfairly dismissed’ from his post at Bristol University following remarks he made about Israel, it said.

The 108-page ruling found that expressing anti-Zionist views is a ‘philosophical belief and a protected characteristic’ under the 2010 Equality Act.

This sets a legal precedent that anyone expressing anti-Zionist beliefs is legally protected and cannot be sacked from their jobs.

Dr DM was sacked in 2021 after it was found his comments did not meet the ‘standards of behaviour’ expected from staff. This followed complaints by Jewish students who claimed he made them feel ‘uncomfortable and intimidated’.

The first was made in 2019 after he gave a lecture describing the ‘Zionist movement’ as one of the ‘five pillars of Islamophobia’. On the Electronic Intifada website, he also wrote: ‘There is a real question of abuse here, of Jewish students on British campuses being used as political pawns by a violent, racist foreign regime engaged in ethnic cleansing.’

In an ‘on the record’ email to Ben Bloch, a student and news editor of The Bristol Tab university newspaper, Dr DM said: ‘Zionism is and always has been a racist, violent, imperialist ideology premised on ethnic cleansing. It is an endemically anti-Arab and Islamophobic ideology. It has no place in any society.’

Since being dismissed, Dr DM, who works for Iranian state-owned television channel Press TV, has described Israel as ‘the enemy of world peace’.

He has also claimed that ‘Jews are not discriminated against’ and described the Bristol University Jewish Society as an ‘Israel lobby group’.

Dr DM said he felt ‘vindicated’ and ‘very proud’ at the employment tribunal’s ruling from Judge Rohan Pirani. He added: ‘This is not just a victory for me, but also a victory for pro-Palestine campaigners across Britain.’

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