Ex-councillor who called for Jewish Labour event to be blown up loses title

An academic and former Labour councillor who called for someone to “blow up” a one-day conference planned by the Jewish Labour Movement has been stripped of an honorary title by Bristol University.

A screenshot shared online suggests Harriet Bradley, a former Bristol councillor whose profile on X describes her as an academic focused on the study of inequalities of class, gender and ethnicity, posted on X: “Somebody blow up the venue!” above a tweet advertising new speakers confirmed for the JLM conference in London next month. Speakers planned include shadow cabinet members Wes Streeting, Bridget Philipson and Pat McFadden and a range of other high-profile Labour figures.

Bradley later apologised for what she called a “joke…in awful taste”, but Mike Katz, JLM’s national chair, told Jewish News: “At a time of rising antisemitism and increasing hate on our streets, we take these threats very seriously. Using social media to encourage people to endanger Jewish lives is reckless and racist.

“You don’t need to be a professor to understand this. We are liaising with the Community Security Trust and Metropolitan Police to ensure that our Conference will be safe and welcoming. We are proud of our programme and look forward to gathering together.”

The conference venue had not been publicly advertised for security reasons already. The latest figures from CST, which focuses on Jewish security and antisemitism, suggest at least 1890 antisemitic incidents have been reported to it since Hamas’ attack on Israel, the “highest ever total” in such a period.

Bristol University said on Friday it had “withdrawn the Emeritus and Honorary Status” of its former employee Harriet Bradley with “immediate effect” after the incident. Katz had written to the university saying it was an “opportunity to act with speed and certainty when it comes to antisemitism” and show “zero tolerance” by rescinding Bradley’s title.

A spokesperson for the University of the West of England said it would “investigate further” when approached by LabourList, as she has held the honorary title of emeritus professor there since she left permament employment there in 2018, according to the university. She carried out short-term work there earlier this year, however, according to the university.

Bradley told 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 and anger at the Labour party’s position on Israel and Palestine, at her reported expulsion and the suggestion some of the speakers listed had been involved in “the demonisation” of Jeremy Corbyn.
“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.”


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