An amusing tale of blah blah and substance…FUCU deja vu: #hasbarafiafail
Formal and informal statements following the kind of conciliation process that the Board and Stephen Sizer have engaged in invariably consists of a small amount of substance and a great deal of blah blah. In this case, the agreement consisted almost entirely of blah blah. If it were a food label it would read…substance: trace.
What it boils down to is this. It is pretty much “as you were”. The Board formally accused Revd. Sizer of “conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to a clerk in Holy Orders.” This is sacking talk, the end of ministry and total destruction of reputation talk. This is the substance of the entire business. The formal action taken was mendacious, wholly out of proportion, narcissistic and reckless. However, in the case of someone that was less secure in his faith and his calling than Revd. Sizer, and who was not afforded the same support that the Diocese gave him, it could have been very dangerous indeed. The whole thing is indicative of the insecurity currently felt by the Board illuminati, each fretting about what their place will be, when the JLC completes its takeover, if any. Arkush’s future in “community politics” looks especially bleak, after incredibly and stupidly making an enemy of Mick Davis. It’s almost impossible to believe that someone like Mick Davis would want to work with someone like Jonathan Arkush. This insecurity makes them prone to catastrophic misjudgements. This tendency was most recently demonstrated by them recklessly setting up an inter-party parliamentary group without consulting the JLC and other organisations, on whose toes they were stepping. Needless to say, the JLC grandees, on whose largesse the BoD’s financial future (if any) depends, are furious.
As the process developed, Arkush’s confidence gradually ebbed away. He desperately needed a confession that admitted “unbecoming“, “inappropriate“ or both. He was never going to get it and in that event, he didn’t have the balls to go for a conviction at trial, revealing himself to everyone as the toothless tiger we have always known him to be.
So after all the time, trouble and money, Jonathan “it has nothing to do with Israel“ Arkush is left with Revd. Sizer acknowledging a measure of human frailty to take back to the crazies at the next Board plenary (plus a canary). So far as we are aware, the Church of England does not require its priests to be wholly without such.
Of course, if the substance is so bad, you need to distract attention from it at all costs, and you frantically spin the blah blah. We knew and predicted that the dissembling spin was coming. What we didn’t anticipate was that the spin would be so blatantly transparent and sprinkled with obvious, transparent and deliberate “factual inaccuracies.”
The Bishop of Guildford issued a press statement on the outcome, complete with full text of the agreement, and placed an embargo on publishing until 6.00 a.m. Wednesday, 23rd October. By 6.10 a.m., a report appeared on the JC website with a startling headline and wildly inaccurate content. The web site “neglected” to publish the full text of the agreement. The following day the hard copy paper with an even more misleading and erroneous account was distributed again with no publication of the text of the agreement .
Here is the response of an eminent lawyer that was approached for an opinion:
“You are quite right that the title (JC hard copy headline) is factually inaccurate. In fact, it is grossly misleading and worse even than the headline on the digital version which was bad enough. It is the kind of thing that the JC often engages in but I don’t think that it is actionable. It is very difficult to sue for libel where one is accusing a newspaper of grossly distorting the meaning of a text (as opposed to making a factual allegation which is untrue). It was always the case that the JC would print something like this, but there is much less coverage of the case than I would have expected. I think this is because the BoD have got relatively little out of the complaint, certainly compared to what they were expecting. The conciliation agreement looks like a climbdown on their part, particularly when one reads the whole document and considers the implications of what they have agreed to – so they are trying to make the most out of what they’ve got and hoping that everyone moves on. That’s one of the reasons that they haven’t printed the text of the agreement itself in the paper – the other of course is that it would show that their report is a misrepresentation of what happened.”
While the lawyer is of the opinion that the JC distortions are not at this time actionable, Pollard is not the kind of man to leave well enough alone and can be expected to push the boat out too far. It won’t be the first time under his “leadership” that the paper has had to issue a grovelling apology and pay substantial damages.
The pieces were written by Marcus “got it wrong again“ Dysch who is both wholly without scruples and hopelessly incompetent. It has been said the first priority of the new JC board should be to give Dysch one more month to get something right.
This kind of gutter press behaviour is typical of what the JC has become under Pollard’s editorship. Pollard is smart but wholly unable to control his bovver boy, far right wing, street yob instincts. He will be forever famous for declaring Jonathan Hoffman to be a “tireless worker for Middle East peace.” This is the same Hoffman that cohorts with the EDL and who was prominent in helping remove from a Board resolution, the words “……the well being of all the people of the region” (the ME). The paper has become a kind of sheltered work place for a bunch of neocons of the Euston Manifesto variety. This goes a long way to explaining the paper’s circulation going into a nose dive and the consequent drastic cost cutting, including the vacating of its historic home in Furnival Street.
Doing all the briefing, of course, was……Jonathan Arkush.
Jonathan Arkush is a case and threequarters, a one man walking disaster and increasingly an embarrassment to the Board which desperately needs to keep on the right side of Mick Davis and the other JLC grandees. Curiously it turns out, that one of the conciliators in the Board/Sizer conciliation process was Sir Gavin Lightman. Lightman was a tutor and mentor to Arkush during Arkush’s university days and they remain friends. Further, he was spotted socialising with Arkush while the conciliation process was taking place. How did that happen? Keep reading.
Very soon after the embargo was lifted, Arkush published a statement on the Board web site, together with the text of a press statement. He begins by telling us that that it was he who decided that “something had to be done about Sizer“ and that he came to this conclusion “a year ago“. The first part of this assertion is misleading and the second part is false. In fact the decision was taken at least eighteen months ago.
Now you might think a year ago, eighteen months ago, so what? However, the difference is significant. A year ago puts plenty of clear blue water between the complaints conception in the immediate aftermath of the disaster of March/April 2012, and its connection with that fiasco. See here. Further, it obfuscates the involvement of the ex (mercifully) Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch. There is no doubt that the execrable McCulloch fed Arkush the idea of a conduct unbecoming charge. We have no doubt the idea occurred to him in consequence of a CDM charge on conduct unbecoming grounds being laid against HIM. This related to his spinning of the police response to his charging Revd. Sizer with stirring up racial hatred. In essence, the police told McCulloch to quit playing silly buggers. The CDM charge against McCulloch was eventually dismissed, not because it lacked merit, but on the grounds that the complainant had insufficient personal interest.
In any event, David Gifford, the CEO of The Council of “Christians” and Jews, was emailing Arkush in August 2012, expressing his trustees’ frustration at the slow progress being made in compiling the CDM complaint against Revd. Sizer, Obviously, Natan Levy and Marcelle “screen shot” Palmer, who, between them “authored“ the complaint in the sense of bringing together and organising the “material“, were falling down on the job.
Arkush goes on to tell us that the Bishop of Guildford “held that there was a case to answer.” He did? When? Where? Does the Bishop know about this? We have to call this one for what it is. A lie.
He repeats it later. “……ruled that there was a case to answer”.
The Bishop, of course, did no such thing, or made any kind of ruling whatsoever.
We won’t try to emulate slippery Arkush and attempt to tell you what is in the Bishop’s mind or put words into his mouth he didn’t say. We will say this……
The inviting of the parties to attempt conciliation is a pretty good pointer to what he felt about the matter. The CDM regulations specifically state that conciliation is not appropriate and should not be used where the Bishop feels that the case is such that there is any possibility of suspension or ending of ministry. As we have pointed out elsewhere, the charge “conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to a clerk in Holy Orders“ is as bad as it gets. In the case of a conviction on such a charge, suspension or ending of ministry is very much a possibility, if not highly likely. While we can’t see into the Bishop’s mind, his behaviour strongly indicates that he saw no merit in the charge, and an allegation of “conduct unbecoming“ didn’t fly, but that it might be helpful if the parties got together, found some common ground, and in particular, worked out a more satisfactory way of dealing with any issues that might arise between them in the future.
It took the Church of England Bishop, Christopher Hill to show the rabid Jonathan Arkush how to deal with having a problem with an Anglican priest.
The problem is, and always has been, that Arkush is so consumed by self promotion and Zionist zealotry, he can’t make good decisions.
This was “conciliation”, not a trial, as Arkush would have people regard it. In other words, a CDM complaint was not an appropriate course of action. What was appropriate, was the parties getting together and thrashing it out. This is, of course, what Revd. Sizer has always been willing to do and what Arkush wasn’t.
This, as again we have pointed out elsewhere, is backed up by the publicly stated view of the Diocese, that the vendetta against Revd. Sizer is part of “a political movement against him“, the Bishop’s statement that the expression of political views is definitely exempted by the CDM provisions, his statement that Revd. Sizer “repudiates anti- semitism” and by Toby Howarth, the Achbishop’a inter – faith adviser, stating that Revd. Sizer was not anti- semitic.
The agreement makes reference to certain acknowledgments, as in both parties agree…… These are presented by Arkush as “Revd. Sizer acknowledges”, as if they were acknowledgments forced upon HIM by THEM, and as though they aren’t relevant or applicable to them. This is an attempt to create a false atmosphere surrounding the process and a dissembled representation of the agreement. An attempt to paint it all as a quasi trial with the agreement represented as a conviction and a sentence, not an attempt to find common ground and establish guidelines for resolving future disputes, Arkush’s posturing is jaw-dropping.
When making a statement about a document ,it is perfectly legitimate to highlight the parts you wish to highlight. However, references should be to the words of the document and not words you have substituted for the words of the document because you like them better. It is all very dishonourable, but what we have come to expect from the Board and Arkush, in particular.
REFLECT ON ANY POINTS….
Arkush draws our attention to the part of the agreement whereby Revd. Sizer undertook to …
“Reflect on any points concerning his publications which are made to him (preferably privately) and respond promptly to identifiable critics “
Once again, Arkush presents this as a whole new attitude of Revd. Sizer’s that has been reluctantly extracted from him. In reality, this is clearly input from the conciliators and something that Revd. Sizer has always been willing and happy to do. So willing, that sometimes it has ceased to be a virtue and become a fault ,in that he has often found himself explaining himself to a stream of assorted freaks and crazies such as Calvin Smith. His life, his choice.
In line with this propensity he has, from the very beginning of the Board’s vendetta (long before the CDM idea was hit upon) been available to discuss the Board’s manufactured “concerns“ with them. In contrast ,the Board have avoided any discussion with him like the plague. In early 2012, David Gifford of the Council of “Christians” and Jews, plucked up the courage to suggest to Arkush that he met with Revd. Sizer to see if they could come to a better understanding.
He was met with a flat refusal.
It was decided that this flat refusal should be “kept confidential“. They like confidentiality a lot.
Make of that what you will.
The press statement issued by the Board was entitled….
MR SIZER EXPRESSES REGRET AND ACCEPTS HE SHOULD HAVE ACTED DIFFERENTLY
Did he really? What exactly did he regret? Well, he regretted that SOME people were offended. The hypersensitive souls he doubtless had in mind, couldn’t make it through the day without being “offended, and pained and hurt”.
The press release contains a statement by Arkush that contains the core of the spin and the essential thrust of it.
He tells us that Revd Sizer made statements that “most of the Jewish community found utterly offensive”…
Only a miniscule number within “the community“ have ever heard of Stephen Sizer. The great bulk of “the community“ are quietly going about their business and are not remotely interested in spending bleary eyed nights cataloguing every dot and comma that an Anglican priest puts onto the internet. Arkush and his little merry band of narcissistic self promoters love to represent themselves as “the community“ and to project their hypersensitivities and vendetta addictions onto this “community“ and onto the rest of the populace, so far as they are able.
The Board welcomes Rev Sizer’s acknowledgments and undertakings, which clearly demonstrate that conduct on his part which led to the complaint was unbecoming or inappropriate to a Minister of the Church of England
Breathtaking. Needing an admission of “conducting unbecoming or inappropriate to a Minister of the Church of England,“ he gets an acknowledgment that in a lifetime of work on a few occasions, Revd. Sizer should have been more reflective, and taken more care. Well, every priest, and indeed every person is guilty of THAT. So, not getting what he needs, he simply decides he is going to give what he got the name of what he needed. “I am going to call “should have been more reflective” conduct unbecoming, and hope nobody notices. Those sucker deputies I have to report to, sure as hell won’t ,that is for sure.”
So where does Arkush stand in respect of the Sizer thing now?
Well, he is just standing around looking stupid saying “I think Sizer’s conduct is unbecoming and inappropriate to a Minister in the Church of England.”
Well, we knew that he thought (or purported to think) that already. Isn’t that exactly where he started?
It has been a long, tortuous and expensive journey to end up exactly where you began.
So, Arkush would have it, that if there are occasions in a priest’s life when he should have acted differently,this is conduct unbecoming his calling (a sackable offence). We mention this again because it leads us into a discussion of a part of the agreement he didn’t highlight.
“Their (the conciliators’) hope is that there will not be future disputes of this kind. Should such a dispute occur, it should ideally be resolved informally by personal contact such as a telephone call or a meeting….”
In other words, this was how the dispute in question should have been resolved, or at least how a resolution should have been attempted, in the first instance. The inappropriate use of the CDM machinery is clear, especially so, in the light of the Board’s flat refusal to have contact with Revd. Sizer and their expressed wish to keep this refusal a secret.
The occasions when Arkush should have acted differently, clearly, by his own measure, make him unfit to be a senior officer of any communal organisation.
Just for starters…
He should have behaved differently when he didn’t declare Lightman’s relationship with him when he requested and was granted, that Lightman be a conciliator.
And he definitely should have behaved differently on one very (in)famous occasion:
At a Board plenary in February 2012, Arkush had a wobbler right off the
Richter scale. In the most amazing failure of judgment, he launched
into a vitriolic tirade against the JLC. Not the least of it, “The
JLC is unelected, unaccountable and it is unacceptable to the community
for it to assume a leadership role.”
Then there were dark hints of financial impropriety concerning the
funding of the Leeds and Manchester Representative Councils.
There was a considerable level of support on the floor, but the minds
of the powers that be, were wonderfully concentrated when, after
declaring Arkush’s position “untenable”, Mick Davis went on to muse
ominously that JLC members “…may feel they can no longer provide
ongoing financial support for the Board while being subjected to this
kind of attack by the institution”.
The floodgates opened.
Board President Vivian Wineman said that “It is unhelpful and incorrect
to say that the JLC was unaccountable”.
Treasurer Laurence Brass suggested that Arkush “…should consider
whether he wants to seek re-election as Vice President”.
Deputy Sheldon advised that Arkush “…might wish to consider taking a
break from community politics.”
And of course, everyone’s favourite cuddly fruit cake, Jerry Lewis,
weighed in with the less nuanced “RESIGN NOW !!!!”
Within a week, Arbush did what the Jewish News described as the ”…u
turn to end all u turns”. He issued a grovelling apology which he
circulated to every deputy. This wasn’t a clarification, it was a
complete retraction of just about everything he had said. While a week
ago, the JLC had been the devil incarnate, they now were playing ….
“…a vital role in the infrastructure of our community “
“…a much needed vehicle for strategic action and planning“
and has done
“…a huge amount to enhance advocacy work for the community.”
The apology placed particular emphasis on the retraction of the
inference of financial impropriety.
Arkush explained that he had been “unwell“.
How far from reality Arkush had drifted, is starkly illustrated by the
fact that at the time, he was sitting on a liaison committee set up to
improve relations between the Board and the JLC !!!!!!
He soon found himself no longer sitting on this committee. He also soon found that his ticket to travel to Washington to represent the Board at the 2012 AIPAC conference, had disappeared.
The JLC is no friend of the Palestinian people and has many flaws.
Most notably, it retained as CEO, Jeremy Newmark, the notorious perjurer
and instigator of the hapless covert funding of Engage Campaign. But,
unlike the Board, it at least has one foot in the world inhabited by
In what was clearly a rhetorical question, the Jewish News asked
whether Arkush had any remaining semblance of credibility.
Why did Arkush do this?
His emotional fragility is part of the explanation, but not the whole
of it. Many on the Board, including some among the powers that be, are
resentful of what they see as a JLC takeover. But it was Arkush who
had the wobbler. The explanation is that Arkush had a grievance
rubbing on top of a grievance. The ostensible tipping point had been
that a deputation of Jewish leaders had had a meeting with David
Cameron. It had been led by the Board President but the rest had been
mostly JLC people. While this was the tipping point, it was not the
For that, we have to go back to Mick Davis and his temerity in
criticising the State of Israel. For Arkush, it was all about Mick
Davis. While the encroachment on Board territory was one thing, in
speaking his mind, Davis had stepped on Arkush’s own patch. He was
the man that dealt with such matters. He was the man that defended the
community against the de-legitimisers. Yet Davis, although assuming
leadership credentials, wasn’t signed up to the code. He spoke with
authority, but was way beyond being bullied, blackmailed or otherwise
sanctioned. This was the pent up frustration that led to the melt down.
This man/child, with wildly unpredictable emotions, devoid of judgment
but rich in hubris, is driving and fronting the ludicrous vendetta
against Revd. Sizer. We have a sneaking suspicion that he’s soon to
be “unwell” again.
If only Revd. Sizer had thought to plead being unwell……