Dr Rebecca Gould, a lecturer at the University of Bristol, has been caught red-handed having written a sickening article about antisemitism. We first reported on 12th February that an anonymous student at Bristol had written to their student newspaper, The Epigram, alleging that a lecturer had penned a disturbing article about antisemitism and the Holocaust, but the student chose to keep the identity of the lecturer and the article itself confidential, even when we approached them through The Epigram.
Following an appeal for information, we are in a position to reveal the lecturer and the article.
Dr Rebecca Gould’s article titled “Beyond Antisemitism” was published in the radical left wing Counter Punch magazine edition of November 2011. Dr Gould wrote: “Defining the Shoah vis-a-vis the Greek (and, incidentally, Christian) term for a sacrifice to G-d has helped make it available to manipulation by governmental elites, aiming to promote the narrative most likely to underwrite their claims to sovereignty. Claiming the Holocaust as a holy event sanctifies the state of Israel and whitewashes its crimes.” She added: “perhaps the time has come to stop privileging the Holocaust as the central event in Jewish history.” She concluded the article: “As the situation stands today, the Holocaust persists and its primary victims are the Palestinian people.”
This is unambiguously the language of Holocaust denial. Searching for these themes online yields a plethora of Holocaust denial websites claiming that either Jews, Israel or the West fabricated or exaggerated the Holocaust, or that the Holocaust is “manipulated” to generate sympathy of Jews or for Israel. Both of these positions are antisemitic according to the International Definition of Antisemitism, the very definition formally adopted by the British Government on 12th December 2016, and it is very hard to see anything else to which such comments could refer. The definition is equally clear that “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic.
The article appeared on various websites but it has been deleted everywhere, except for one website which offered a PDF download. It is possible that these were attempts by Dr Gould or her supporters to delete and hide the article from the public record and cover her guilty tracks.
According to the University of Bristol School of Modern Languages website, the lecturer has a PhD from Columbia University and is a Reader in Translation Studies & Comparative Literature. She taught previously at New York University, Columbia University, and Yale-NUS College in Singapore and specialises in the literatures of the Persian and Islamic world (especially the Caucasus). She is “happy to supervise in the areas of Middle Eastern and Central Asian literatures and cultures, translation studies, Islamic studies, comparative literature, critical theory, and modern Iran”.
We wrote to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol to register our formal complaint, demanding that Dr Gould be suspended until she clarifies whether she stands by the article she wrote in 2011. If she does not, she should be required by the university to publicly retract he article, perhaps by writing an article for The Epigram explaining why the views are wrong, and why she has come to renounce them. However, if Dr Gould still holds such views she should be dismissed, and her dismissal should be made public so as to clearly signal the University of Bristol’s values.
The university has since told The Telegraph’s Education Editor, Camilla Turner: “Academic freedom, and freedom of speech, are at the heart of our mission at the University of Bristol. Since receiving a letter from the Campaign Against Antisemitism yesterday we are actively looking into this matter. As it relates to an individual member of staff we are not able to comment further.” Dr Gould told Camilla Turner that she did not retract her views and that her article was a “rallying call to action”.
Dr Gould’s article reveals an obsessive delusion that the Holocaust is being claimed as a “holy event”, that it is improper for Jews to pay it much attention and that now Jews are perpetrating a Holocaust. If Dr Gould stands by her sickening views then the University of Bristol must dismiss her. But the University of Bristol’s statement meekly defending “academic freedom” whilst failing to mention antisemitism and the rights of Jewish students leaves us with scant confidence in the adequacy of their response.
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