The Harry’s Place and Jewish Chronicle roles in the Sizer affair.
Your View, January 26th 2010, 11:45 am
This is a guest post by Joseph Weissman
I am the blogger at the centre of Sizergate, having had an unwelcome visit from the police at 10am on a Sunday morning when I was still in my pyjamas. You can read my story on the Index on Censorship or on BBC News.
I am a Christian strongly opposed to anti-Semitism, and I also support the continued existence of Israel. I attend an Anglican evangelical church occasionally, and also a neo-charismatic church more regularly. I hope for a just and peaceful solution to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict that provides security for Israelis and Palestinians alike, as well as justice for both Jewish and Arab refugees from 1948.
A couple of years ago, I began reading up on Christian theology on the Middle East, and discovered the Rev Stephen Sizer and the Sabeel network. I read some of Rev Sizer’s theology, and looked through his papers on the internet, where I found out that he had given a talk in Iran at the invitation of the Khomeinist regime, to talk about the dangers of Christian Zionism. I thought it was ridiculous that Rev Sizer on the one hand was calling for an end to apocalyptic religious agitation from Christian Zionists, without mentioning anything of the apocalyptic religious agitation of his Khomeinist hosts! Where’s the ethics in that?
I reject the extreme positions taken by both Christian Zionists and anti-Zionists. These are political arguments which are not assisted by their confusion with theology.
I have also explored a number of potential expressions of hardcore Christian anti-Semitism and bigotry in general, leading me to contribute to the campaign against the BNP’s “Reverend” Robert West (who assures me that Nick Griffin and Simon Darby would be very interested to meet me), Hungary’s Jobbik theologian Lorant Hegedus Jr., Forza Nuova’s fascist-saluting SSPX priest Giulio Tam who also helps out Spanish Falangists, and Lega Nord’s Holocaust-denying SSPX priest Floriano Abrahamowicz – a priest of Jewish descent himself.
I have been left with more questions than answers, but I do know that Christians should in no way be encouraging conflict in Israel. Christians should neither support the radical Jewish settler movement (step forwardMike Huckabee) or rationalise Islamism and jihad against Israelis.
Jewishness is also a big part of my life, as I was born Jewish, I attend a Messianic fellowship, and will always identify as a Messianic Jew. I should stress that I am the third generation of my family to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. This is not some new-found faith for me, but a belief with deep roots. I have never been anything other than a believer in Christ.
In this capacity I have blogged as “Yeze”, drawing attention to the persecution of fellow Christians and Messianic Jews in Israel. That persecution is sometimes justified as “anti-missionary” activity, or by calling Jewish believers in Yeshua “idolators” and “not Jewish”. That is why I have been so interested in the more recent Messianism of theChabad movement.
Again, I have more questions than answers. I want to think and write freely, to criticise those aspects of Christian and Jewish theology with which I disagree, while defending both Christians and Jews, and indeed any people who are suffering persecution. I don’t believe that I am on a special mission to convert Jews to Christianity. I do not subscribe to that sort of ‘End Times’ theorising. Of course, as a Christian, I believe that Yeshua’s teachings are beneficial for everyone, but I do not wish for clerics from any religion tradition to define my identity. I realise that two thousand years of both Christianity’s anti-Semitism and, indeed Judaism’s definition of Jewish identity in opposition to Christianity means the odds are somewhat stacked against me and my friends, but a bitter history doesn’t mean we can’t have a bright future.
If you disagree with anything I’ve said, fair enough. But please don’t call the cops!
Cross-Post, July 19th 2010, 1:44 pm
This is a cross-post from Joseph Weissman
By publishing this post, perhaps I am risking another surrealvisit. However, I have some news about Stephen Sizer and members of the American Far Right which I feel is important to share with you.
Our story begins in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Henry Herskovitz has protested outside the Beit Israel Congregation every Sabbath for the best part of eight years.
Here are some signs held up by Herskovitz’s allies in ‘Jewish Witnesses for Peace‘:
As you can see, there are casual references to Nazism on display alongside racial and religious baiting, as children enter into a house of worship. This style of protest is sadly reminiscent the sort of events that the English Defence League or “Stop the Islamisation of Europe” put on, where places of worship are targeted and their blameless parishioners terrified and vilified. It is a couple of steps away from Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church.
Watch Herskovitz justifying his approach on Youtube – and pay attention to his colleagues profiled on-screen as Herskovitz is speaking. From 1:10:
HH: “I’m very cognizant not only of the power of the Jewish community in Palestine but also the power of the Jewish community in the United States, which according to some whom I agree with is very much controlling the United States as far as foreign policy is concerned or worse, as Noam Chomsky said, manufacturing the consent of the people”
Interviewer: “What part of the United States would you say is free of Zionist control?”
HH: “There’s probably a few counties in Idaho but that’s about it, I think pretty much any metropolitan area has been dominated and saturated with the pro-Israeli, pro-Jewish voice. Everyone has sympathy for the Jews. No-one has sympathy for Palestinians or people of colour.”
Henry Herskovitz is widely admired on the American Far Right. Here he is recently with Holocaust denier Michael Hoffman (right) –
The crime against the Palestinian people is being committed by a Jewish state with Jewish soldiers using weapons displaying Jewish religious symbols, and with the full support and complicity of the overwhelming mass of organized Jews worldwide. But to name Jews as responsible for this crime seems impossible to do.
This may come as no surprise – Herskovitz is on the board of Deir Yassin Remembered where Eisen serves as director alongside Daniel MacGowan, who publicly defends Holocaust denial as legitimate in some ways. DYR have recently helped to promote the Holocaust denier Gilad Atzmon.
Sadly, it seems Herskovitz is a hero among such people for his tactic of picketing a house of worship in the name of “justice”.
Thankfully, the tactic of protesting outside synagogues has been roundly condemned by religious leaders and local councillors in Ann Arbor. In addition, there is an entire web project supported by local community leaders dedicated to curbing the influence of the pickets instigated by Herskovitz.
To these clergy, Herskovitz now has a response:
A much belated response to the infamous clergy letter of 2004, in which some benighted Ann Arbor religious leaders denounced our nonviolent vigils, went online this past Monday. We’re pleased to report that this independent effort is off to an auspicious start with the Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer having graciously and courageously agreed to provide the first signature on “Religious Leaders Support Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends” […] We thank the Rev. Dr. Sizer for his adding his good name to this effort and look forward to seeing the signatures of other religious leaders soon.
Following Sizer’s signature, Herskovitz’s JWPF protests have gained further support from Sister Elaine Kelley of Friends of Sabeel North America.
The key sentence in the petition is this:
We, the undersigned religious leaders, affirm the tactic of protesting outside a place of worship as appropriate and consistent with our prophetic and religious traditions.
For those aware of the history of the forced sermon and of Christian antagonism towards Jews and their synagogues, it is deeply concerning that an Anglican vicar is advocating these political protests outside of Jewish synagogues – Sabbath after Sabbath after Sabbath.
According to the interview, the United States are like the Biblical patriarch Jacob, favouring “one of the Semitic races over the others” – just as Jacob preferred Joseph.
One of the biggest mistakes that political and theological liberals can make is to think that Christian anti-Zionism has its origins in the Religious Left, as an alternative to fundamentalism. Instead, the most influential Christian anti-Zionist theology appears to have its origins in the American Far Right, at least as I understand it.
Indeed, the fruits of prejudice from the American Far Right are being processed through Stephen Sizer’s theological blender, and mainstream Christians are now tasting this bitter drink.
Surely this is cause for concern for Jewish-Christian relations in the UK.
Cross-Post, November 6th 2010, 1:45 pm
This is a cross-post from Joseph Weissman
With news that Stephen Sizer is going to be speaking in Belfast, Northern Ireland next week to show his theological anti-Zionist film With God on our Side, it is worth considering some aspects of Rev Sizer’s approach to political theology.
Both Stephen Sizer and film director Porter Speakman are now claiming they are the victims of unfair criticism. I think, however, it is perfectly fair to hold their political theology up to the light, and examine it as rigorously as they would do to others.
Rev Sizer has a wide range of political allies in the anti-Zionist world. In 2005, he participated in a conference hosted by the IHRC alongside, which featured:
- Hezbollah’s pro-suicide-bombing Rima Fakhry
- pro-terror cleric Achmad Cassiem, whose radio show promotes Holocaust denial
- apocalyptic cleric Mohamed al-Asi, who thinks The End will come when Muslims “deal the deathblow to the Jew”
- pro-terror Greek Orthodox priest Atallah Hanna
- two Neturei Karta rabbis who appear friendly with Holocaust denier Fred Tobin
Of the Christian speakers, there were two who featured mainly.
One was the Reverend Doctor Stephen Sizer PhD:
Rev Sizer was speaking on behalf of Sabeel. He told the conference:
In this short paper I want to present to you a Christian perspective on the right of resistance, within the context of the Palestinian struggle. I want to speak on behalf of Sabeel. They have just produced a new document called “A Non-violent Approach to the Occupation: A call for morally responsible investment”. (Sabeel, Jerusalem, 2005). I would like to present selected parts in this presentation.
Rev Sizer said this in 2005, and allowed his paper to be printed in 2009. In the meantime, Sabeel have described Hamas as a “liberation theology movement.” Rev Sizer, a former vice-chair of Friends of Sabeel UK, remains publicly supportive of Sabeel.
The other Christian speaker was Fr. Joe McVeigh:
Joe McVeigh said at the conference:
Resistance to British occupation has taken many different forms over the years. In Ireland men and women joined the IRA or some other armed group and took up arms to protect their own people and to resist the British occupation of Ireland. They have done so in every generation for centuries. Men and women have gone out and taken on the might of the British Empire. Many have given their lives. Many ended up in jail. Family life was disrupted. The official church -the Bishops- denounced the men of violence meaning the IRA. Their denunciations of violence were one-sided. Some of us engaged in passive resistance.
The message Sizer and McVeigh were sending was very clear: non-violence and “passive resistance” was their way. Meanwhile, they have both made common cause with those in favour in violence.
McVeigh describes Fr Des Wilson as his ‘good friend’ to the IHRC, noting the work McVeigh and Wilson have done together advocating for those they consider to be political prisoners. Des Wilson has offered vocal support and praise for IRA terrorists, lauding former Provisional IRA chief of staff Joe Cahill as a “man of action rather than words.”
Elsewhere, McVeigh has favourably compared the IRA with Hamas, claiming that both terror groups acted as the voice for their people.
He explains that he is simply following liberation theology:
Liberation theology, Joe says, is about “putting the social Gospel of Jesus Christ into practice in situations of oppression and taking the side of the poor. You have to make a choice, you can’t stand neutral. You’re either on the side of the rich or the side of the poor. That, with my own historical experience in the North, showed me that liberation theology was the only way that the church could be authentic in any revolutionary situation.”
What comes across from Fr McVeigh – both at the IHRC conference and in other writings – is the way that he speaks about the national journey of the Irish and Palestinian people.
Fr McVeigh believes in liberation theology, the idea that God works with a national or social group, and carries out his plans to bring them liberation. Rev Sizer speaks in much the same way about the Palestinian people, frequently citing the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in his arguments.
Clearly, both McVeigh and Sizer have a distorted, narrow theology in which extreme nationalists who commit acts of violent murder can, actually, be seen as liberators with God on their side.
This is the theology that both men appear to promote, when you take into account Sizer’s promotion of Sabeel theology, McVeigh’s theology about the IRA, and both men featuring alongside Islamist supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah in a conference about a “new liberation theology”.
This totally undermines Sizer’s main criticism of the most extreme Christian Zionists – they have a distorted, narrow theology which views extreme murderous nationalists as liberators with God on their side.
If you follow Sizer’s study guide to the film, the message Sizer most wants to get across is that God has moved from an old, one-nation covenant to a new covenant for everyone – without ethnic or national distinctions.
Sizer treats those who believe that God’s covenants work for the Jewish people as heretics.
But then Sizer makes common cause with people who believe in a national theology for the Palestinian or the Irish people.
Essentially, Sizer thinks that God can work with some nations but not others.
This is not the message Northern Ireland needs to hear.
Lucy Lips, June 30th 2011, 12:05 pm
The Middle East Monitor, the pro-Hamas campaign organisation that brought Raed Salah to the United Kingdom, has a page on which they list “human rights campaigners and community leaders” who are supporting Raed Salah’s attempt to spread his poison in the United Kingdom.
For some time, the list was rather short and unsurprising:
Middle East Monitor Friends of Al Aqsa British Muslim Initiative Interpal Palestine Solidarity Campaign Palestine Return Centre Lindsey German, Stop the War Ben White, Writer and Activist Mohamed Ali, CEO, Islam Channel Global Peace and Unity Mohammed Asif, Engage Amos Trust Victoria Brittain, Journalist and Writer
Wot? No Muslim Association of Britain? No Islamic Human Rights Commission? Still, that’s not a bad list of Britain’s Pro-Hamas Lobby.
The article ends with the legend: “The list of signatories is being updated”
And this afternoon, a new name was added to the list? Can you guess who it is? I bet you can’t?
Reverend Dr. Stephen Sizer
Sizer has recently joined the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign:
It is unfair to suggest that the Rev Sizer joined the PSC because of what he learnt about Raed Salah’s views? Or perhaps he joined because of our post about Tony Gratex, the Reading PSC activist who believes that Jews control the banks and the media?
In any event, Sizer is an ornament to Salah’s campaign.
They’ve added another one:
Yvonne Ridley, European President of the International Muslim Women’s Union
I’d guess that they’re having a little difficulty persuading normal people to sign up to their Defend Raed campaign.
No surprises on this one:
Dr Robert Lambert, Co-Director, European Muslim Research Centre, University of Exeter and Lecturer at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St Andrews
Now they’ve added:
Islamic Forum of Europe
Who would have thought that they’d be a supporter of a hate preacher?!
Guest Post, December 27th 2011, 6:00 am
This is a guest post by Rev. Nick Howard
The word ‘racist’ probably brings to mind a skinhead with a snarling face. But this image can blind us to the presence of well-spoken racists in very respectable jobs, who can capitalise on their social status to inflict more serious long-term damage than their counterparts on the streets. A prime example of this is one of my fellow Anglicans, Rev Stephen Sizer, vicar of Christ Church Virginia Water. It hardly needs saying that I would only make such a serious charge on the basis of convincing evidence, and having already pursued the official means of complaint without success.
On October 4th Rev Sizer posted a link on his Facebook page to a website called ‘The Ugly Truth’. The website doesn’t even attempt to conceal its anti-Semitism. It recently greeted its visitors with the Jew-as-Dracula cartoon reproduced below.
Jewish people have been characterised as metaphorical and literal blood-suckers for hundreds of years – and have frequently been slaughtered as a result. It’s not hard to see why ‘The Ugly Truth’ selected this cartoon to illustrate its vile scaremongering about ‘Global Zionism with its Exploitative Financial Institutions, National Debts and Permanent Wars’. But this cartoon is no one-off, as demonstrated by the other images below – which if anything are even more appalling. The entire purpose of this website is to demonstrate that ‘Zionism [is] making our world uninhabitable today’. It charges the Jews with:
‘The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The daily murder of Palestinian children “for sport”. Harvesting organs from Gentiles at gunpoint. Economic exploitation/ruination. De-moralizing entire swaths of civilization through unchallenged Jewish domination of the media. The complete corruption of every political office from the president to the town dog catcher.’
One article is simply titled, ‘God how I hate these people’. In response to a warning that the President of Iran is three months away from being able to fire a nuclear weapon at Israel, ‘The Ugly Truth’ says
‘Three months??? We have to wait THAT long??? Personally, It will be the best night of sleep I will have had in a long time, the moment when I know unequivocally that his “finger is on the button”. It will be the day wherein the seeds of peace are sown and the rest of us can breathe a little easier.’
Here are some further images from the Ugly Truth blog that Sizer recommends:
This is the website that Rev Sizer has encouraged his Facebook friends to visit – without any word of warning, apology or qualification.
Last year Bishop Pete Broadbent was suspended for posting offensive comments about the impending royal wedding on Facebook. Surely this established a precedent that should now be followed with Rev Sizer? And since Sizer’s use of Facebook is so much more offensive and serious, shouldn’t the action taken against him by the Church be correspondingly more severe? I put this to Bishop Christopher Hill, Rev Sizer’s diocesan bishop.
He replied by saying,
‘I see nothing which would merit disciplinary matters, not least because differing political opinions are definitely exempted from disciplinary proceedings in the Church of England according to the Clergy Disciplinary Measure.’
The complacency of this response is truly astonishing. The material on ‘The Ugly Truth’ bears comparison with the propaganda published in Germany in the 1930s. Would Bishop Hill excuse that, too, on the basis of the expression of ‘political opinions’? If not, why does he use that argument in this case? Rev Sizer has drawn the attention of his 850 Facebook friends to a racist website. The Clergy Discipline Measure covers any ‘conduct that is unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of the clergy.’ If Rev Sizer’s conduct does not fall into that category it’s hard to imagine what behaviour actually would.
This is not the first time that Rev Sizer has posted a link on Facebook to an anti-Semitic website: on July 2nd he recommended the Palestine Telegraph, a similarly poisonous site – at the time of writing, one of its headlines is: ‘Organ gangs force poor to sell kidneys to Israelis’, and its lead cartoon is a Jew-as-Dracula image by the notorious anti-Semitic cartoonist Latuff. More significantly still, Rev Sizer has a long track record of behaviour that shows his recommendation of these websites is not out of character. The following evidence will, I am confident, overcome any remaining scepticism about the reality of his anti-Semitism.
There are certain foul boxes that anti-Semites have a habit of ticking. Sadly, Rev Sizer ticks them all.
To begin with, one of the most long-running and virulent components of anti-Semitism is the portrayal of all Jewish people everywhere as Christ-killers. On Rev Sizer’s website there’s a gallery of photographs of Israeli soldiers, titled ‘Herod’s Soldiers Operating in Bethlehem Today’.
Herod was the king who ordered the massacre of every baby boy in the vicinity of Bethlehem, from new-borns to two year-olds, with the intention of murdering the Christ. As soon as you put a Jew in a soldier’s uniform, Rev Sizer is saying, you’ve got both a child-killer and a would-be Christ-killer.
Another feature of anti-Semitism is the belief, disseminated by theinfamous forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion, that Jewish people or companies seek to exercise a shadowy control over world affairs. Earlier this year Rev Sizer ticked that box.
He promoted, via an interview on his blog, a boycott of McDonalds, Coca-Cola, L’Oréal and Nestlé, four of the world’s biggest and best-known companies, on the basis that they ‘channel their profits to the Zionist agenda.’ These are all publicly listed companies, open to any investor, which pay their profits to shareholders through dividends. Since a boycott of those companies wouldn’t affect Israel politically or economically – as Sizer knows very well – the purpose of this boycott must simply be to spread the lie among the easily-misled that four of the world’s biggest companies are secretly participating in a global Zionist conspiracy. Only an anti-Semite would promote that kind of sinister and totally false propaganda.
During the last ten years anti-Semites have conceived and promoted the utterly ridiculous notion that Israel was in some way responsible for 9/11. This has now become a central plank of modern anti-Semitism. Here too, Sizer gladly plays his part.
On p. 251 of his book, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon?, there is a footnote encouraging readers to look at an article that alleges Israeli complicity in 9/11. Again, as with his Facebook link to ‘The Ugly Truth’, there is no warning, apology or qualification – nor is there any citation of material putting across the standard view of 9/11 accepted by everyone else in the world.
Holocaust denial is another inescapable feature of modern anti-Semitism. It’s not necessary to make a direct statement denying the truth of the Holocaust to tick the box. Given that two thirds of Europe’s Jews were killed in the Holocaust, any remark downplaying its significance is enough to display one’s allegiance to the anti-Semite’s cause – especially if the comment is made in a context where such hints will be readily understood. Here again Sizer reveals his true colours.
When he was interviewed on Iranian TV – note the context – he argued that because of Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians, ‘the Holocaust has been perpetuated over the past forty or fifty years.’ During the Holocaust, the Nazis systematically murdered every Jewish person within their reach. No observer of the Middle East conflict with a shred of objectivity would compare Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians with the Holocaust. In view of the suspicions that have surrounded Sizer for many years – he was accused of anti-Semitism in 2002 by The Spectator – he should have been sacked for that incendiary comment alone.
Let me repeat, this statement was made on Iranian TV. Do Sizer’s Christian allies believe that Iran’s threats towards Israel are make-believe? Do they not see how valuable it is to a murderous regime when a Christian vicar from a Western country happily appears on one of their own television stations to strengthen their people in their worst prejudices?
A further way to identify anti-Semites is to look at the company they keep. Rev Sizer is a regular speaker at events run by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), whose anti-Semitic ‘toxicity’ was recently exposed by the New Statesman blogger Rob Marchant.
Sizer has travelled to Iran as the hand-picked guest of Zahra Mostafavi, the daughter of the Ayatollah Khomeini. She is a prominent supporter of the anti-Israel terrorist organisation Hezbollah, and has publicly paid tribute to child suicide bombers for their murderous attacks on Israeli civilians.
In June this year Rev Sizer went to Malaysia to work with known Hamas fundraisers Viva Palestina, whose leading activists include MatthiasChang, one of the speakers at the notorious Holocaust denial conference held in Iran in 2006; and Carole Swords, who has said of Zionists,
‘like cockroaches they hide in the dark and try to create havoc where they lay their eggs and like a cockroach they are slimy vile hard skin bugs and need to be stomped out.’
When the BBC Radio 4 ‘Moral Maze’ panellist Melanie Phillips accused Sizer of anti-Semitism in The Spectator, he responded by posting a supportive letter – since removed – from Israel Shamir on the Christ Church Virginia Water website (click to enlarge, full article here).
Shamir, an ally of the Holocaust denier David Irving, has written,
‘We must deny the concept of Holocaust without doubt and hesitation, even if every story of Holocaust down to the most fantastic invention of Wiesel [Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and author] were absolutely true.’
Shamir’s writings warn of ‘Jewish mind control on a world scale’.
Rev Sizer would probably respond to this (incomplete) list of his friends by saying that guilt cannot be proven by association.
But someone who has recommended racist websites, spread anti-Semitic rumours, flirted with Holocaust denial and characterised Jewish soldiers as child-murdering Christ-killers no longer has any right to that particular line of defence. It is entirely reasonable to conclude that Rev Sizer feels comfortable in these racists’ company, and they in his, because he shares their anti-Semitism.
Of course, Rev Sizer himself strenuously denies the charge of anti-Semitism. In his book Zion’s Christian Soldiers? he writes, ‘Racism is a sin and without excuse. Anti-Semitism must be repudiated unequivocally.’
But it’s not hard to show that Rev Sizer is willing to say different things to different audiences. For example, when I contacted him by email a while ago he told me, ‘I respect, accept and defend the right of Israel to exist. Period.’ But on 14th October last year he took the opposite position on his blog.
He posted an interview with disgraced, unrepentant American journalist Helen Thomas, commenting above it:
‘Helen Thomas is one gutsy 90 year old lady to take on the Israel Lobby.’
Beneath the interview, which explains that she was sacked for saying that the Jews should ‘get the hell out of Palestine’ and ‘go home’ to ‘Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else’, Rev Sizer simply says
‘Bring it on’.
This shameless willingness to contradict himself means his word cannot be trusted. His statements opposing anti-Semitism therefore lack any value whatsoever.
Rev Sizer would also say that his criticism of Israel is unrelated to its Jewishness. But he has himself undermined that form of defence.
When Hillary Clinton rebuked Israel in March 2010, Sizer wrote a blog post titled, ‘Payback for Monica?’ (click to enlarge).
This unbelievably tasteless insinuation that Monica Lewinsky’s Jewishness motivated Hillary Clinton’s criticism of Israel shows how Rev Sizer’s mind works. If someone dislikes a Jewish individual – whether Israeli or not – the natural thing to do is to launch an attack on the state of Israel. So much for his criticism of Israel having nothing to do with the Jewishness of its people.
The Church of England needs to take action as urgently as possible, because Rev Sizer is using his status as a C of E vicar to give an aura of credibility to his racist activity. The abovementioned statement about the Holocaust on Iranian TV is one example. In addition to that, earlier this year he deliberately misled TV viewers in Malaysia by saying that the US Congress supports Israel because ‘The Israel lobby buys every single politician.’
Later in the interview he made the inflammatory false accusation that ‘The Far Right in Britain is forming an alliance with Zionists because their common enemy are the Muslims.’ Why wouldn’t Malaysian viewers believe whatever a soft-spoken English vicar says? Dr Mahathir Mohamad, their own former Prime Minister (and founder of Viva Palestina Malaysia, Sizer’s hosts), once said,
‘Even after their massacre by the Nazis of Germany, [the Jews] survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world. The Holocaust failed as a final solution.’
In Malaysia Sizer was preaching to the choir. But anyone who thinks that it’s harmless to add still more venom to an anti-Semitic context has never studied the history of the Jewish people. Yet as things stand this is what the Church of England seems more than willing for one of its clergy to do.
Rev Sizer’s pernicious campaigning is not limited to his statements while overseas. When Tzipi Livni, the Leader of the Opposition in Israel, visited the UK in October of this year, Sizer joined the call for her to be arrested for war crimes, posting a video to that effect on his blog (below, click to enlarge) and encouraging readers to ‘come and see her … at 5pm today … outside Downing Street’ (the precise time and place of a PSC demonstration calling for her arrest).
Tzipi Livni’s Kadima Party is to the left of the ruling Likud Party and received more votes than any other party at the last General Election in Israel – which is the longest-established democracy in the Middle East.
It could be argued, nonetheless, that calling for her arrest is not in itself an anti-Semitic thing to do. Yet when we consider how Sizer acts towards leading figures on the other side of the conflict, anti-Semitism provides the only explanation for breathtaking one-sidedness.
Earlier this year Sheikh Raed Salah, the Islamist hate preacher and convicted fundraiser for Hamas, managed to get into the UK despite being banned from entry (causing uproar in the media and Parliament as a result). Sizer lent his wholehearted support to the campaign againstSheikh Salah’s arrest and potential deportation. He described Salah as ‘Britain’s first Palestinian political prisoner’, and publicly treated him to a meal at a North London restaurant (click to enlarge).
On Wednesday 26th October an independent immigration tribunal found that Salah engages in ‘the unacceptable behaviour of fostering hatred’, upholding the government’s original decision, which Sizer had described – in his ‘political prisoner’ article – as ‘lamentable’. (It can’t have been difficult for the tribunal to reach that decision, given that Salah incited a riot in Jerusalem in 2007 by falsely claiming that Israel planned to rebuild the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, and adding, ‘Whoever wants to build a house of God should not do so while our blood is still on his clothes, on his doorposts, in his food, in his drink’.)
Sizer therefore seeks the arrest of a popular, centrist Jewish politician, while simultaneously calling for the release of an Arab hatemonger. No political principle justifies such extreme bias against one race and towards another.
Imagine someone campaigning for the arrest of a democratically elected black American and the release of a KKK fundraiser during the civil rights protests of the 1960s. Would anyone dare excuse that kind of one-sidedness as ‘political’? The only accurate descriptive term for Sizer’s conduct is racism. By sheltering Rev Sizer, the Church of England is allowing its own reputation to be harnessed to his anti-Semitic activism.
It would have been perfectly possible for Stephen Sizer to criticise Israel without posting links on Facebook to racist websites; or joining forces with recognised anti-Semites across the world; or, when accused of anti-Semitism, turning to a known anti-Semite for support; or alluding to the archetype of the Christ-killing Jew; or downplaying the Holocaust by using the same word to describe Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians; or promoting the global Zionist conspiracy myth; or endorsing a disgraced journalist’s call for Jews to ‘get the hell out of Palestine’; or spreading the outrageous myth of Israeli involvement in 9/11; or making distasteful references to Monica Lewinsky’s Jewishness; or backing the anti-Semitic hate preacher Sheikh Salah.
Each of these actions defiantly crosses a line. They do not demonstrate permissible criticism of the state of Israel. They demonstrate a mixture of explicit anti-Semitism; implicit anti-Semitism; and complicity with anti-Semites.
No wonder a Jewish Chronicle blogger, Jonathan Hoffman, has written to Rev Sizer saying:
‘You are totally disgusting, how you remain vicar of a church is a disgrace, a complete mystery and a stain on the Anglican ministry. Many people will be delighted to see the back of you. Sincerely, Jonathan Hoffman’.
Do Rev Sizer’s defenders seriously assume that the Jewish Chronicledescribes every critic of Israel as ‘totally disgusting’? Do they not understand that only the most dedicated anti-Semites provoke that kind of reaction from mainstream Jewish commentators?
Stephen Sizer is bringing disgrace on the congregation of Christ Church Virginia Water, who happily put up with him; the wider Church of England, which springs to his defence; and this nation, of which the Church of England is the established church.
The longer he continues as vicar of Christ Church, the greater the disgrace on all concerned.
Bishop: anti-Zionist vicar ‘no antisemite’
A Church of England vicar has been backed by his diocesan bishop after promoting a website which supports Holocaust denial and warns of a Zionist conspiracy controlling the world.
Reverend Stephen Sizer received the support of the Bishop of Guildford, the Right Reverend Christopher Hill, a former chaplain to the Queen, following calls for him to be suspended for linking to the site.
The bishop said Rev Sizer “repudiates antisemitism and Holocaust denial” and had “only intended” to draw his followers’ attention to a specific article about the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.
Rev Sizer used his Facebook profile to link to the piece on American website The Ugly Truth, a site which claims to highlight “Zionism, Jewish extremism and a few other nasty items making our world uninhabitable today”.
It runs cartoons in celebration of Holocaust deniers, blames Israel for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and supports Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear ambition.
Rev Sizer, senior pastor of the Anglican Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey, is a passionate anti-Israel activist who regularly uses his Facebook page to promote anti-Zionist articles and websites to his nearly 900 followers.
He has written two books on the “manifestation” of Christian Zionism, blaming Christian Zionists for prolonging the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both books were praised by Bishop Hill.
Another Church of England vicar, Reverend Nick Howard, encouraged Bishop Hill to suspend Rev Sizer for promoting The Ugly Truth. The bishop, suggesting that Rev Sizer might have posted the link accidentally, responded by saying he could see nothing in Rev Sizer’s actions “which would merit disciplinary matters, not least because differing political opinions are definitely exempted from disciplinary proceedings in the Church of England”. (In fact, the Bishop of Willesden was suspended in 2010 after using his Facebook page to make inappropriate remarks about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.)
Rev Howard said: “If Rev Hill withdrew his support it would be extremely difficult for Stephen Sizer to carry on. But as long as his diocesan bishop is sticking by him his position is secure. It is astonishing that he is still in his job. Posting that link shows he is not just an opponent of Israel but an opponent of Jewish people. It’s a game-changer.”
But a senior diocese official said Rev Howard was “mischief-making” and “building up guilt by implication”. He said the diocese viewed the criticism of Rev Sizer as a “form of political campaign” against him.
In a joint statement, Bishop Hill and the Diocese of Guildford said: “Rev Stephen Sizer has made it clear on many occasions that he repudiates racism, antisemitism and denial of the Holocaust. His intention was only to draw the attention of his Facebook followers to a specific article.”
Rev Sizer removed the link on Wednesday, after JC inquiries.
Simon McIlwaine of Anglican Friends of Israel said: “Rev Sizer must be properly and independently investigated by an ecclesiastical court. We cannot consider the apparent brush-off by the Bishop of Guildford to be a remotely satisfactory response.
“The allegations against Rev Sizer, if substantiated, are potentially extremely damaging to Jewish-Christian relations and undermine the good work of church leaders to atone for historical institutional antisemitism.”
Lambeth Palace confirmed it had received “correspondence” about Rev Sizer’s conduct, but said no official complaints had been made against him. A spokeswoman said it was “a matter for the Diocese of Guildford”.
Church’s apathy on antisemitism
In the past fortnight the police and the FA have convinced many that they are facing up to racism with the seriousness it deserves. Yet at the same time the Church of England has given the opposite impression.
In October Reverend Stephen Sizer posted a link on his Facebook page to an antisemitic site called “The Ugly Truth” which featured images of blood-sucking Jewish vampires and Nazi-style caricatures of Jewish men. Three months later, Rev Sizer took down the link.
The Diocese of Guildford claimed, on behalf of Bishop Christopher Hill – Rev Sizer’s local bishop – that the reverend withdrew the link “when the nature of other articles on that site was drawn to his attention”. The particular article that he’d recommended hadn’t itself been antisemitic, so a potentially damaging “racist vicar” story became one of a “naïve vicar”. But the bishop’s statement was untrue.
I emailed Bishop Hill on November 16, expressing my concern, and pointing out that in 2010 a bishop was suspended for inappropriate use of Facebook (posting unpleasant remarks about the royal wedding). Bishop Hill replied that week, promising to speak to Rev Sizer “about his use of Facebook”. But six weeks passed before the link was removed. It was only taken down then because the JC was looking into the story.
Sizer has a track record of such behaviour
The Church comes out looking blithely unconcerned about racism. Perhaps Bishop Hill forgot to inform Rev Sizer that his Facebook page was a portal to a Jew-hating website, showing how little he cares about antisemitism. Perhaps he did inform Rev Sizer, but was ignored, in which case the reverend would be confirmed as an antisemite and the bishop would again show himself to be apathetic about racism.
Rev Sizer has a long track record of arguably antisemitic behaviour, so the Church could hardly have been encouraged to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s described IDF members as “Herod’s soldiers operating in Bethlehem today” (King Herod ordered his troops to kill all the baby boys in and around Bethlehem, in the hope of murdering Christ). He’s promoted boycotts of McDonalds, Coca-Cola, L’Oréal and Nestlé on the basis that they “channel their profits to the Zionist agenda”. He has alleged Israeli complicity in 9/11, and argued that Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians mean “the Holocaust has been perpetuated over the past 40 or 50 years”. His associates include Palestinian activist Raed Salah; Zahra Mostafavi, the Ayatollah Khomeini’s daughter; and Israel Shamir, who warns of “Jewish mind control on a world scale”.
The MacPherson report into Stephen Lawrence’s death defined institutional racism as “the collective failure of an organisation” regarding “colour, culture, or ethnic origin”. The Diocese of Guildford has fallen foul of that.
It’s worth noting the Church’s utterly unethical handling of the media. To stifle a negative story, the Diocese of Guildford issued a deliberately misleading statement. Even if the bishop forgot to speak to Rev Sizer in November, he was certainly informed about the matter on December 27, when an article about it was posted on the blog “Harry’s Place”. Yet Sizer only removed the link a week later, under duress. Not only does this episode raise the question of why the Church wants to protect a man like Rev Sizer, it raises the issue of how the Diocese of Guildford can justify intentionally misleading the media.
One would hope that the Church would set a moral example to organisations like the Met and the FA. Sadly, it seems it’s the other way round.
Nick Howard works as a writer and public speaker. He is an ordained Anglican
Joseph W, March 15th 2012, 7:30 pm
Last year, Stephen Sizer posted a racist weblink to the antisemitic site, The Ugly Truth.
The Bishop of Manchester said of Stephen Sizer:
“The content and the delay in removing the link from Mr Sizer’s Facebook page was disgraceful and unbecoming for a clergyman of the Church of England to promote. Members of the CCJ have described the website as ‘obscenely antisemitic.’ ”
The Bishop of Guildford has now said of Sizer, in response:
The allegation, as the Bishop understands it, is that Mr Sizer did not withdraw his reference swiftly enough once the nature of the website had been pointed out to him. The Bishop was informed by Mr Sizer that he had taken earlier steps to withdraw the reference, but that these had not effectively removed it, until January of this year. The Bishop had in any case cautioned Mr Sizer about checking the nature of websites before making reference to them. Mr Sizer accepted this criticism and has apologised. Mr Sizer in his published works and in assurances told the Bishop that he is adamant in his opposition to racism and anti-Semitism in particular.
Clicking on the image takes you to the Veterans Today website. The image was originally posted by Jim Fetzer, a 9-11 conspiracy theorist and a Holocaust skeptic who thinks Nicholas Kollerstrom engages in admirable research. He also thinks Bin Laden died in 2001.
Veterans Today is a site in favour of David Duke, the Holocaust-denying former leader of the Klu Klux Klan. Veterans Today recently published an article by Alan Hart which says the Jews will be responsible for any future Holocaust against them, concluding:
Is Holocaust II (shorthand for another great turning against the Jews) inevitable? Yes unless the Jews of Europe and America distance themselves from the Zionist monster before it’s too late to do so.
The Book of Esther is a genocidal recipe. It is there to educate Jews how to infiltrate into foreign administrations.
Yes, I believe it “could have happened,” because I have seen credible photos and read of Israelis who have been doing the same kind of things for sixty years. And, I am sure that there were some incredible murderers in the SS, and in charge of those German labor camps. But I just don’t believe they were camps which were maintained just to kill people, and I don’t believer that there were gas chambers and “ovens” in which people were executed.
Veterans Today has also posted an article in defence of Hitler, which said:
Jewish ways are repellant to the human mind and are not examined overmuch for that reason. Judaism can be simply described as very bad behavior. Hitler never attempted to destroy Judaism but rather to isolate it and perhaps remove its adherents from Europe. This followed attempts to train Jews to be productive human beings in places such as Dachau and Theresienstadt. As Evelyn Kaye writes in The Hole in the Sheet, orthodox Jews do not work. They are allergic to work, preferring instead to occupy themselves by reading the Talmud and arguing endlessly with other Jews about what they read. So this is a big problem with Jews, their refusal to work and produce something that is not based on ripping off and confounding their victims. Hitler’s attempt to re-train Jews, which didn’t work, and then to remove Jews from Europe was a work in progress.
We now know that the insane Jewish liars are guided in this by a mystical attachment to the number six, as seen with their national symbol, the six-pointed star. Six, or six hundred, or six thousand, or six hundred thousand, or six million Jews must be removed before the messiah returns or Israel reappears or whatever. It’s not important to us, just that this is a magic number to them. And they should be wholly burnt in ovens. Hence, Holocaust (wholly burnt).
Hitler came to power over a bankrupt and starving country with unemployment at roughly 50%! The Americans had stolen all Germany’s gold by the early ‘20s, so there was no basis for a monetary system other than to keep borrowing from the Jewish crooks on Wall Street that had given Germany the Young Plan and the Dawes Plan of perpetual indebtedness to private bankers masquerading as the “central bank.”
So we can see that Veteran’s Today is an antisemitic website.
This past week, Stephen Sizer has recommended Al Manar TV. From 1:14:
I’m aware that the Independent, the Guardian newspapers especially, and the Middle Eastern TV stations, Al- Manar, Al Jazeera others, we are getting more of an accurate position of what’s happening in the Middle East.
[In 2003 a] 30-part television miniseries called Al Shatat (The Diaspora) airs on Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV. The series depicts a “global Jewish government,” as described in the Protocols.
With this information now readily available to the Bishop of Guildford, it remains to be seen how the diocese will respond.
If you would like to express your concerns to the Bishop of Guildford, you could contact him here:
Bishop of Guildford
Rt Revd Christopher Hill
Willow Grange, Woking Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU4 7QS
Tel: 01483 590500 Fax: 01483 590501
If you email, please CC in Lambeth Palace: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would recommend acknowledging the concerns expressed by the CCJ, by the Bishop of Manchester, by Rev Nick Howard, and with reference to the relevant evidence which you can find on Harry’s Place.
Guest Post, May 2nd 2012, 9:00 pm
This is a guest post by Rev Nick Howard
The Rev. Dr Stephen Sizer with Sheikh Salah, the anti-Semitic hate preacher in 2011.
According to a statement by Surrey police, the Rev. Dr Stephen Sizer will not be prosecuted for the incitement of racial hatred. While the police and the Crown Prosecution Service found that Dr Sizer did post a link on his Facebook page to ‘The Ugly Truth‘ (http://www.uglytruth.wordpress.com), they did not consider the material on the website likely to stir up racial hatred. Detective Superintendent Mark Preston said, ‘Whilst the webpages will clearly stir emotions … it is difficult to see a scenario in which these pages are likely to create a disruption in public order.’ The statement closes with these words: ‘I will of course reconsider future allegations [sic] in the event that the nature of the material deteriorates further.’ Much could be said about this conclusion. It is hard to imagine how the nature of the material could deteriorate further than the image below, which comes from ‘The Ugly Truth’. Surely it’s not exaggerating to say that the cartoon stands comparison with the worst propaganda of Nazi Germany, which contributed to arguably the most severe disruption in public order in human history?
However the purpose of this post is not to criticise the police, but to set out some as yet unanswered questions concerning Dr Sizer’s link to ‘The Ugly Truth’. Christian leaders are held by the Bible to higher standards than those maintained by the criminal justice system. If Dr Sizer cannot provide satisfactory answers to the following questions, it is hard to see how the members of Christ Church Virginia Water could continue in good conscience to submit to him as their moral and spiritual leader.
Dr Sizer’s link to ‘The Ugly Truth’ was on his Facebook page from October 4th 2011 to January 4th 2012. He took it down under pressure from a Jewish Chronicle reporter who contacted him on January 4th. During those three months Dr Sizer appeared to ignore attempts that were made to alert him to the racist nature of the website. For example Rev. Mark Heather, Chaplain to the Bishop of Guildford, has confirmed to me in a recent email, ‘As promised, Bishop Christopher forwarded your email of 22 November to Dr Sizer, and spoke to him, asking him to be more careful about his Facebook links.’ That email forwarded to Dr Sizer in November was a complaint about his link to ‘The Ugly Truth’.
The delay in removing the link, in spite of the complaints received by Dr Sizer, was central to the unprecedented criticism of Dr Sizer by the Bishop of Manchester and the Council of Christians and Jews. Dr Sizer’s explanations of the delay (see below) are therefore critically important, and yet they seem to contradict one another, and conflict with certain facts. Unless Dr Sizer can clear all of this up it will be impossible for observers to trust his word on the even more serious question of how he found his way to ‘The Ugly Truth’ in the first place – it has fewer than a thousand followers worldwide.
Explanation #1 (from Dr Sizer’s own blog):
‘”Israel’s Window to Bomb Iran” by Ray McGovern … had been reposted within days on hundreds of websites, including a racist website, “The Ugly Truth”. I made the mistake of linking to that copy on my Facebook in October rather than the original. When the unfortunate link was pointed out to me in January, I removed it straight away.’
Why does this explanation give the misleading impression that no complaints were received by Dr Sizer before the link was removed on January 4th? In addition to the November email mentioned above, I posted an article about Dr Sizer on the blog ‘Harry’s Place’ on 27th December, which began by discussing his link to ‘The Ugly Truth’. Dr Sizer issued a response to that article on his own blog on the following day, and yet still failed to remove the link. Imagine if Dr Sizer had used the explanation above in court (if the police and Crown Prosecution Service had given more weight to the racist material on ‘The Ugly Truth’, it seems the case would have gone to trial). Would Dr Sizer’s explanation have stood up to cross-examination? Christians, especially Christian leaders, are supposed to be as honest day by day as they would be in court (Matthew 5:34-37).
Explanation #2 (via the Diocese of Guildford, in a March 14th press release):
‘The allegation, as the Bishop understands it, is that Mr Sizer did not withdraw his reference swiftly enough once the nature of the website had been pointed out to him. The Bishop was informed by Mr Sizer that he had taken earlier steps to withdraw the reference, but that these had not effectively removed it, until January of this year.’ This explanation refers to ineffective attempts to remove the link, which are not mentioned in explanation #1. Why do the two explanations contradict each other? How are the members of Dr Sizer’s church supposed to know when to trust what he says, and when to disregard his word? It’s significant that this explanation was given by Dr Sizer to Bishop Christopher Hill, who – as Dr Sizer knew – had passed on to him my November email complaining about the link. It would have been awkward, to say the least, for Dr Sizer to admit to the Bishop that he had simply ignored my complaint or failed to read it. Did he therefore deliberately mislead an elderly Bishop unfamiliar with Facebook by claiming he had tried and failed to remove the link before January? (Anyone familiar with Facebook would know that removing a link is an extremely straightforward procedure. You simply click on the drop-down list next to the link. One of the options is “Delete Post…” Click on that, and a window appears saying: ‘Are you sure you want to delete this?’ There are two buttons: “Delete Post” and “Cancel”. If you click on Delete Post, the link disappears instantly from your page. It’s very hard indeed to believe that someone could accidentally fail to delete a link that they intended to delete. What’s more, checking that you’ve successfully removed a link on Facebook is an even simpler process than removing it – all you need do is refresh the page, a one click action.)
Explanation #3 (a message from Dr Sizer to his friend Phil Groom, as quoted on Groom’s blog):
‘The reality is I add many Facebook links daily and get criticised weekly. I did not look at the website till January and only then appreciated its anti-Semitic content. I removed the link as soon as I found it.’According to this explanation Dr Sizer was aware of the complaints about the link before January (which fits #2 but contradicts #1) and yet didn’t actually look at ‘The Ugly Truth’ until January, having made no attempt to remove the link before then (which contradicts #2). Did Dr Sizer give a different explanation to Phil Groom to the one he had given the Bishop because he was aware of Phil Groom’s familiarity with Facebook – and therefore knew that telling him about ineffective attempts to remove the link wouldn’t wash? Again, how are the members of Dr Sizer’s church supposed to know when to trust what he says, and when to disregard his word?
Explanation #4: (via Dr Sizer’s supporter Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, as quoted on Dr Sizer’s blog):
‘This week I have been in contact with Stephen Sizer regarding the issue of the website that has been referred to in the press. I asked him how it happened that this offensive website … on his Facebook was not removed straightaway. He has sent me all the relevant information including the offending website material. What he tells me is as follows: he assumed Nick Howard was based in the United States and did not in fact read Nick Howard’s complaint. This was a mistake and he regrets ignoring it, but due to his active involvement in Middle East affairs, he gets criticism on a daily and weekly basis. However, once he realized the seriousness of the error of linking his Facebook entry with the offending website, he did remove it and wrote to Marcus Dysch at the Jewish Chronicle on 4 January. He states that he had thought he had done so before.’This complicated explanation conflicts in one way or another with all the rest. In this version of events Dr Sizer had no idea which link was being complained about until 4th January (which conflicts with #2), and so had not ‘realized the seriousness of the error’, yet nonetheless thought he had already removed it (which conflicts with #1 and #3). Why did Dr Sizer tell Rabbi Cohn-Sherbok that he thought he had already removed the link, when according to this very same explanation, he did not yet know which link was being complained about or ‘the seriousness of the error’? Did Dr Sizer add the afterthought recorded in Rabbi Cohn-Sherbok’s final sentence because he knew the Rabbi was planning to write to the Bishop, who had been told by Dr Sizer of ineffective attempts to remove the link?
God has provided the ten commandments to hold society together. When we persistently fail to keep just one of them the ground beneath us – and beneath those affected by us – starts to give way. If Dr Sizer has told a series of falsehoods concerning his link to ‘The Ugly Truth’ – which is what he appears to have done – he is surely not fit to be the moral and spiritual leader of the people of Christ Church Virginia Water. He therefore has a responsibility to account for the serious contradictions between the explanations above; and the departure of at least some of the explanations from the known facts. These explanations do not concern a trivial matter. They relate to the three-month presence of a link to a viciously anti-Jewish website on Dr Sizer’s personal Facebook page, which gave the impression that he endorsed the website and agreed with its position. Dr Sizer was first accused of anti-Semitism inThe Spectator ten years ago.
We acknowledge that he has publicly repudiated anti-Semitism, but that public statement is put in doubt by his apparent willingness to depart from the truth on other occasions, as demonstrated above. We await his response.
Guest Post, July 29th 2012, 1:01 pm
This is a guest post by Rev. Nick Howard – Assistant Minister, Christ Church New York City
and James Mendelsohn – Senior Lecturer in Law, Huddersfield University
Further to their previous open letter to the South East Gospel Partnership, in the interests of transparency, here follows a timeline which discloses the evidence behind the claims of the Rev’d Nick Howard and James Mendelsohn about the Rev’d Dr Stephen Sizer(NB none of the emails disclosed in this post were marked ‘Private and Confidential’.)
4th October 2011
Dr Sizer posts a link on his Facebook page to the racist website ‘The Ugly Truth: Zionism, Jewish extremism and a few other nasty items making our world uninhabitable today’. No one, including Dr Sizer, denies the posting of the link or the anti-Semitic nature of the website.
16th November 2011
The following complaint is sent to Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford:
From: Nick Howard
Sent: Wednesday, 16 November 2011 22:05
To: Mary Morris
Subject: Message for Bishop Christopher
I am writing to appeal to you to suspend Rev. Stephen Sizer from his duties as vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water.
Although I feel there are many grounds for such a severe action, I want to focus on just one, which is his use of Facebook. As you will know, the Bishop of Willesden was suspended last year after making inappropriate comments about the Royal Family on Facebook. Yet Rev. Sizer has recently used Facebook in a much more disturbing and offensive way.
On October 4th he posted a link on his Facebook page to an anti-Semitic hate website called ‘The Ugly Truth: Zionism, Jewish extremism and a few other nasty items making our world uninhabitable today’. The website greets its visitors with unbelievably racist cartoons (see the attached example).
The specific article recommended by Rev. Sizer is accompanied by a cartoon by the Brazilian cartoonist ‘Latuff’, runner-up in the notorious 2006 Iranian ‘International Holocaust Cartoon Competition’. As you can see from the attachment, it is appallingly insensitive.
Rev. Sizer might claim that the particular article he recommended is not in itself anti-Semitic. Yet it cannot be denied that the website hosting the article is anti-Semitic. Rev. Sizer has directed his 800 Facebook friends, without any word of warning, apology or qualification, to a website whose banner claims that Zionists (that is, patriotic Israelis) make ‘our world uninhabitable’. This extreme hostility towards Israel, which lies far outside the boundaries of respectable debate about the Middle East, would immediately be recognised by Jewish people as anti-Semitic, even without the above-mentioned cartoons which put that beyond doubt.
I am sorry to have to bring such disturbing material to your attention, but I hope you will agree that it gives you the opportunity to take decisive action to uphold the reputation of the Church of England. If the Bishop of Willesden’s inappropriate use of Facebook merited suspension, how much more does Rev. Sizer’s.
Revd Nick Howard
22nd November 2011 – Part I
Bishop Christopher sends this response:
From: Mary Morris
Subject: RE: Message for Bishop Christopher
Date: 22 November 2011 12:34:32 EST
To: Nick Howard
Our ref: +C/amb/22.11-12
22nd November 2011
Thank you for your message in criticism of the Revd Stephen Sizer. Your comparison with the Bishop of Willesden is not in fact exactly correct. The Bishop of Willesden technically suspended himself, it was not a disciplinary process. I am not denying that the Bishop’s remarks were highly inappropriate and embarrassing to say the least.
The Revd Stephen Sizer’s opinions are clearly radically different from your own. I shall speak to the Revd Stephen Sizer about his use of Facebook but at the moment I see nothing which would merit disciplinary matters, not least because differing political opinions are definitely exempted from disciplinary proceedings in the Church of England according to the Clergy Disciplinary Measure. There may be changes to the Measure in the future which would make it possible that membership or support of the British National Party, for example, could become a disciplinary matter. But I am sure that Stephen Sizer himself would be highly critical of neo fascist movements as well as the fascism in the past which created the awfulness of the holocaust.
There is also the question of the uncontrollable linkage on of Facebook. One does not have control of that when one may not always agree with other people on related face books. This is one of the reasons I am somewhat cautious about Facebook myself and am not on it.
22nd November 2011 – Part II
Bishop Christopher sends a copy of the 16th November complaint to Dr Sizer. This is later confirmed by the following email (emphasis added):
From: Bishop of Guildford
Subject: RE: Phone conversation follow-up
Date: 13 June 2012 11:00:34 EDT
To: Nick Howard
Cc: Mary Morris
In Bishop Christopher’s absence I can confirm that it seems that he did copy your email of 16 November to Dr Sizer who acknowledged it the same day, ie 22 November. This email did include the screenshots.
(I can’t of course confirm whether the latter would show on Dr Sizer’s computer if eg he was reading in plain text, in which case they may have appeared as attachments, if at all.)
I trust this answers your questions.
Yours in Christ
The Revd Mark Heather BA LLB
Chaplain to the Bishop of Guildford
22nd November 2011 – Part III
As revealed above by Rev’d Mark Heather, Dr Sizer emails the Bishop of Guildford acknowledging receipt of his email about the link to ‘The Ugly Truth’. To respond on the same day was highly efficient. But sadly, and tellingly, Dr Sizer did not also take the trouble to remove the link from his Facebook page. (To do so would have been very easy: he simply had to click on a drop-down list next to the link, select ‘Delete Post…’ and then choose between ‘Delete Post’ or ‘Cancel’.)
4th January 2012
Under pressure from the Jewish Chronicle, Sizer at last removes the link to ‘The Ugly Truth’ from his Facebook page.
1st March 2012
Not content with posting a link to ‘The Ugly Truth’ on Facebook, Dr Sizer posts a link to ‘Veterans Today’, an equally sickening anti-Semitic website, on his blog.
13th March 2012
The Council of Christians and Jews issues a press release titled ‘CCJ Statement about Antisemitic website‘, which includes the following comment:
The Rt. Revd Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester and Chairman of CCJ said: “The content and the delay in removing the link from Mr Sizer’s Facebook page was disgraceful and unbecoming for a clergyman of the Church of England to promote. Members of the CCJ have described the website as ‘obscenely antisemitic.’”
14th March 2012
The Diocese of Guildford releases a defensive statement in response to the CCJ (emphasis added):
‘The allegation, as the Bishop understands it, is that Mr Sizer did not withdraw his reference swiftly enough once the nature of the website had been pointed out to him [i.e. on 22nd November]. The Bishop was informed by Mr Sizer that he had taken earlier steps to withdraw the reference, but that these had not effectively removed it, until January of this year.’
1st May 2012
Dr Sizer posts an open letter on his blog titled ‘Response to the Council of Christians and Jews’, in which he says the following (emphasis added):
‘On 4 October 2011, I posted a link to an essay “Israel’s Window to Bomb Iran”, by Ray McGovern, an ex-CIA analyst, commenting on circumstances in which Israel might attack Iran. Regrettably the link that I used was not to the original website but to a different website which I now know contained scurrilous and offensive material. I was made aware of this on 3 January 2012 as a result of an enquiry by the Jewish Chronicle. I could not find the link and assumed, wrongly, that I had removed it. I found it on 4 January 2012 and removed it immediately… Some ten weeks later, on 13 March 2012, the Council for Christians and Jews… said that I was “alerted to the anti-Semitic nature of the website in November and again in December, but only removed the link in January when contacted by the Jewish Chronicle.” Whatever the CCJ might think has happened I have explained here how and when the link came to my attention. It did not come to my attention before then… If the CCJ does not feel able to make it clear that its allegations were ill founded it will, I hope, reflect on the reliability of its informants and think very hard before naming people who might in the future be the innocent victims of ill-considered complaints.’
It is quite astonishing that Dr Sizer describes himself as an ‘innocent victim’ of ‘ill-considered complaints’. He knew perfectly well that the CCJ’s charge was in fact wholly accurate, i.e. that he had only removed the link in January despite being warned in November. He was even contradicting his own diocese’s response to the CCJ, which had been to claim that the six-week delay was the result of ineffective attempts to remove the link (see 14th March above). The CCJ’s Patron has been HM the Queen since 1952 and its Presidents include the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbi. It is the UK’s oldest Jewish/Christian interfaith organisation. Dr Sizer brazenly sought to harm its reputation, and the reputation of its ‘informants’, on an entirely false basis.
1st June 2012
Not content with posting links to ‘The Ugly Truth’ and ‘Veterans Today’, Dr Sizer posts a link to yet another racist website: ‘Window into Palestine’. Defending himself in the Jewish Chronicle, Sizer says ‘There was no suggestion of any offensive material in the story to which I linked’ – and yet the title of that story was ‘The BBC caught out with its Zionist-run propaganda machine’, which the vast majority of Jewish people would immediately recognise as anti-Semitic (and utterly ridiculous). Dr Sizer also told the JC, ‘I only came across [the article] after conducting a Google image search for the photo by Marco Di Lauro, which was central to the apparent BBC error which I wished to highlight.’ He was seeking to explain what he was doing viewing a racist website in the first place, let alone posting a link to it. But his explanation was easy to test. Numerous people at the time tried ‘conducting a Google image search for the photo by Marco Di Lauro’ and yet ‘Window into Palestine’ was nowhere to be seen in the results.
4th July 2012
The Committee of the South East Gospel Partnership, despite being aware of the above, say they see ‘no justifiable grounds for breaking gospel partnership with Stephen or with Christ Church Virginia Water.’
Let’s close with just a few of the many questions arising from this timeline.
1. Quite apart from the anti-Semitism, why does the congregation of Christ Church Virginia Water allow such a mendacious man to care for their souls?
2. Why did the Diocese of Guildford, in full possession of the relevant facts, allow Dr Sizer’s slanderous attack on the Council of Christians and Jews to remain uncorrected?
3. How many more racist links will it take before the Committee of the South East Gospel Partnership see ‘justifiable grounds for breaking gospel partnership’ with Dr Sizer and his church? Two or twenty-two?
Rev. Nick Howard
Assistant Minister, Christ Church New York City
Senior Lecturer in Law, Huddersfield University
Lucy Lips, October 30th 2012, 4:10 pm
The Board of Deputees has issued a formal complaint to the Anglican Church, about Rev Stephen Sizer:
In a move believed to be without precedent in modern times, the Board of Deputies has lodged a formal complaint against Revd Stephen Sizer under the Church of England’s disciplinary process – an Act of Parliament known as the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003.
The complaint is based on statements made by Revd Sizer that the Board regards as antisemitic and a series of instances where Revd Sizer has posted internet links to articles on racist and antisemitic websites.
Earlier this month, Stephen Sizer hosted the UK branch of Jews For Jesus, who did not challenge Sizer publicly about antisemitism, but used Sizer’s church as a platform to promote their own organisation. One wonders if Jews For Jesus is surprised by this development.
The BoD complaint follows a complaint from the Council of Christians and Jews about Sizer made this past year, and also a lengthy blogging campaign to highlight Sizer’s dalliances with antisemitism, much of which has featured here on HP.
One Sizer doesn’t fit all
November 1, 2012
Rev Stephen Sizer is the Vicar of Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey. He is now the subject of a complaint by the Board of Deputies to the Church of England, for making statements that the Board and most of the Jewish community find utterly offensive, to the point of crossing the line into antisemitism, even if this is neither his motivation nor intention. This is not all, as we also complain of Sizer posting links from his website to articles on racist and antisemitic websites where scurrilous views against Jews and others are published. When this happens, the Jewish community has to act.
Under Church law the Board’s complaint has to be brought under an Act of Parliament, the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003. The complaint is therefore for misconduct consisting of “conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders”.
The complaint, which can be found athttp://www.bod.org.uk/content/Complaint%20regarding%20Revd%20Stephen%20S…, includes detailed supporting evidence athttp://www.bod.org.uk/content/Evidence%20in%20support%20of%20complaint%2…, an appendix of the offending material athttp://www.bod.org.uk/content/StephenSizerComplaintAppendix.pdf and a statement made earlier this year by the Bishop of Manchester, the Chairman of the Council of Christians and Jews, in which Sizer’s delay in removing a link to an antisemitic website and the content he linked to was described as “disgraceful and unbecoming for a clergyman of the Church of England to promote”http://www.bod.org.uk/content/CCJ%20Statement.pdf .
On the subject of Sizer posting links to racist websites, the complaint says this:
“The matters complained of disclose a clear and consistent pattern of
activity on the part of Rev Sizer. The evidence indicates that he spends
time trawling dark and extreme corners of the internet for material to add
to his website. Rev Sizer re-publishes such items to support the target of
his polemical writing, while at the same introducing his readers to the
racist and antisemitic websites from where he draws his material. As the
evidence demonstrates, there are five instances of this over the 11 month
period from July 2011 to June 2012.”
Thankfully for relations between British Jews and Christians, Rev Sizer is very much the exception. He displays an obsession with Israel and opposes its identity as a Jewish state. The Jewish people’s belief in national self-determination, or Zionism, is shared with most of the world’s nations – but Sizer displays a deep hostility to Zionism, which he writes about as if it was a term of abuse. It is not difficult to come across his views, as he is an enthusiastic self-publicist who proclaims his preoccupation with Israel on his website, blog, Facebook and flickr pages.
Considering his position as a Church of England vicar, Rev Sizer keeps some strange company. He has shared a platform with and quoted from Holocaust deniers, goes on trips to Iran as the guest of the NEDA Institute which contributes to global efforts to deny the Holocaust and gave an interview with Qods News Agency, a Holocaust denying website. Sizer is also a speaker at the provocatively named Christ at the Checkpoint conference, which features a theology called supersessionism which has antisemitic overtones. It seems that Rev Sizer has few qualms about keeping company with anyone who shares his hostility to Israel, however dubious.
We need to be clear about what it is we complain of. We make no complaint about Rev Sizer’s anti-Israel views, nor of his trips to Iran or his supersessionist theology. While we view all of these with concern and distaste, Rev Sizer is entitled to his views and may travel where he wants. But we draw the line at making statements that we regard as antisemitic and advertising the content of racist and antisemitic websites. It is a matter of great regret that we are driven to make this complaint, but the Jewish community should not have to stomach material that we see as crossing the line into antisemitism.
To anyone who asks what it is that we seek from the complaint, my answer is simple. If it is upheld, it will be a matter for the Church of England what action to take to address Rev Sizer’s conduct. But I can say that we are not seeking to have him stopped from his ministry or dismissed from his job. We only ask one thing, which is that effective measures are taken to prevent him from publishing or re-publishing material that we find to be not merely offensive, but antisemitic.
We don’t think that’s too much to ask.
This is a cross-post from the Board of Deputies website athttp://www.bod.org.uk/content/CCJ%20Statement.pdf
|Jonathan HoffmanThu, 11/01/2012 – 18:52Rate this:
Great work. Except Liberal Rabbi Aaron Goldstein thinks you should be talking to Sizer ad infinitum.
I hope you get a better response than this whitewash which I received from Sizer’s Archdeacon, Julian Henderson, Archdeacon of Dorking (22.10.11)
|joemillis1959Thu, 11/01/2012 – 19:00Rate this:
Very good. I’m very glad to see the Board taking on Sizer.
However, I would have expected the Board officers to write to the Israeli ambassador expressing concern at least over the mistreatment of the women who prayed at the Western Wall. This is not just an internal Israeli affair; it is an issue that affects all Jews and has a deleterious affect on those trying to portray Israel as a beacon of democratic enlightenment in a sea of religious bigotry. After all Israel did pledge in its Declaration of Independence that it “will guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture…”
If Jewish women had been arrested for praying in any other country, we would rightfully call it antisemitism.
|Advis3rFri, 11/02/2012 – 10:13Rate this:
Every religious centre in the world has regulations for visitors and worshippers be it the Vatican, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Regents park Mosque or the Western Wall. but of course only Millis would take the side of a self publicizing provocateur. Anat Hoffman is perfectly free to pray at the Western Wall together with the thousands of other women who regularly pray there but unlike her do so in accordance with the rules and regulations and with dignity and respect.
|Ben FFri, 11/02/2012 – 11:37Rate this:
“Except Liberal Rabbi Aaron Goldstein thinks you should be talking to Sizer ad infinitum.”
Hoffman, you truly are an unpleasant piece of work. You get dumped by the ZF on account of your divisive and destructive behaviour. Rather than taking this as an opportunity for self-reflection, you carry on regardless.
|Ben FFri, 11/02/2012 – 11:43Rate this:
This initiative from the BOD would remain much more credible if you would just stay the hell out of it.
|Real Real ZionistFri, 11/02/2012 – 11:47Rate this:
Amazing, isn’t he.
|BanacekFri, 11/02/2012 – 14:34Rate this:
“I hope you get a better response than this whitewash which I received”
This reeks of Hoffman. I wonder if the church authorities know where this is coming from and the motivations that underlie it?
|zaheerayinFri, 11/02/2012 – 15:11Rate this:
|happygoldfishFri, 11/02/2012 – 17:19Rate this:
|zaheerayinFri, 11/02/2012 – 17:47Rate this:
Happygoldfish, this is the grownups’ table.
If you see anything in what Banacek said, that is in any way supportive of Stephen Sizer or his activities, you are a more perceptive person than I.
Even more so if you see anything that hints at a conspiracy, Jewish or otherwise.
Does it not take more than one person to make a conspiracy?
|zaheerayinFri, 11/02/2012 – 17:51Rate this:
|zaheerayinFri, 11/02/2012 – 17:57Rate this:
I’m sorry. I don’t know why the above posted 3 times.
|Real Real ZionistFri, 11/02/2012 – 18:05Rate this:
happy you are turning into something akin to a nightmare, perhaps you should go lie down a while.
|happygoldfishFri, 11/02/2012 – 18:29Rate this:
|TroyFri, 11/09/2012 – 18:27Rate this:
How are you supposed to change someones point of view if you don’t talk to them?
|Real Real ZionistMon, 11/12/2012 – 13:56Rate this:
Troy you are a dangerous subversive 0:)
|zaheerayinTue, 11/27/2012 – 18:30Rate this:
“We only ask one thing, which is that effective measures are taken to prevent him from publishing or re-publishing material that WE find to be not merely offensive, but antisemitic.”
I hope this was a joke. Given the entire background, the idea that this nonsense can hurt Stephen Sizer is absurd.
|happygoldfishTue, 11/27/2012 – 19:00Rate this:
‘Antisemite’ vicar in Board of Deputies complaint
The Board of Deputies has made an unprecedented formal complaint to the Church of England over the conduct of a controversial Anglican vicar.
Reverend Stephen Sizer is accused by the Board of “conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders”.
It is understood the complaint will trigger action under the clergy disciplinary process set out by Parliament.
A dossier of evidence charts what the Board says is antisemitic material which Rev Sizer has posted online or passed to contacts in the last two-and-a-half years.
The claims are being investigated by the Bishop of Guildford, the Right Reverend Christopher Hill. Rev Sizer is senior pastor of the Anglican Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey, which is in Rev Hill’s diocese.
The Community Security Trust and Jewish Leadership Council have backed the Board’s complaint, put together following legal advice on canon law.
Board president Vivian Wineman said: “Making such a complaint about a Church of England minister is not a step the Board has taken lightly.
“This action sends a clear, strong message from our community that we will not remain quiet in the face of actions and remarks capable of being seen as antisemitic even where they are disguised as anti-Zionist attacks on Israel.”
Rev Sizer was travelling in the Middle East this week and could not be contacted to respond to the allegations against him before the JC went to press.
He has repeatedly denied accusations of antisemitism. He has twice been forced to alter his website after linking to sites which promote Holocaust denial and Zionist conspiracy theories.
Earlier this year police were called in to investigate a link which he posted following a complaint from the Council of Christians and Jews. No action was taken against Rev Sizer.
The Church of Scotland has meanwhile stood by plans for Rev Sizer to speak at a conference it is co-organising on Friday, after a separate complaint from the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (ScoJeC).
Rev Sizer is due to discuss the roots of Christian Zionism at the Balfour Project conference at Edinburgh’s Quaker Meeting House.
The event marks the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
SCoJeC wrote to the Church of Scotland last week claiming allowing Rev Sizer to speak “would be perceived as highly offensive throughout the Jewish community”.
Ephraim Borowski, SCoJeC director, claimed that Rev Sizer had had repeated invited accusations of “Holocaust denial, right-wing extremism, and unabashed antisemitism”.
But Rev John Chalmers, principal clerk of the Church of Scotland, said: “We agree that antisemitism must be confronted. However we believe that SCoJeC are misguided in their allegations about Rev Sizer”.
Joseph W, December 4th 2012, 6:11 pm
In the silliest segment on Channel 4 since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s alternative Christmas message, Stephen Sizer has a go at talking about antisemitism.
I have to say, Sizer seems quite awkward talking about this issue.
He does not look comfortable in the conversation.
He spent much of the little time he had complaining about people accusing him of antisemitism, which as Amie surmised, I found quite galling. The video will be broadcast on Friday, I think at 7.55pm during Shabbat.
“I’ve come to know, and respect, and care for Jews.”
I’m not sure what Sizer means by “care for” Jews. Certainly he claimed to look after a Jew called “Mordechai Cohen,” as a member of his “church family” – coincidentally when I was using the name Mordechai as a blogging pseudonym. Sizer claimed that Mordechai had been teaching him Hebrew.
Here they are together:
When I started blogging about contemporary Christian antisemitism with reference to Reverend Sizer, I received correspondence from Mr. Cohen, such as:
“One year on, and yet you have not given your name out to you avid readers. Shmuck, you have real chutzpah to attack a man in words and via the web, when this man has offered many times to meet with you.
you are nothing other than a Ben Zaynim“ [son of penises]
“Anonymity, is not the right of those who are slandering someones name, This person, who has said that he is jewish should know the Laws of Lashon Hora. As for being a stalker, i was hired to find the root of where these emails were coming from, a failed student of The University of Leeds, The police have his details“.
According to the City of London Royal Marine Association (opens in PDF), Mordechai had been living rough in the graveyard of Christ Church Virginia Water, since the death of his wife – Sizer had discovered him. Cohen apparently refused help from the RMA, but accepted payment from Sizer to send me abusive messages.
I found it surreal and oddly poetic, that Sizer should discover Cohen in his own church graveyard.
When I met Sizer at his film’s UK premiere in Manchester, Sizer tried to hug me as a way to show we were now somehow reconciled, and I refused. I asked Sizer about this Mordechai guy. I will never forget his reply, which I refrained from sharing with you when I wrote the initial report, so as not to detract too much from the events of that night.
But Sizer’s reply struck me as creepy.
When I asked,
“How is that guy you paid, Mordechai?”
Sizer chirped nonchalantly, almost glibly,
“Oh, he’s dead.”
I then really did not feel comfortable with the conversation.
Lucy Lips, January 3rd 2013, 4:3
So far, Virginia Water vicar Stephen Sizer has gone undisciplined and uncriticised by the Church, and has enjoyed protection from his own diocese.
Sizer has backed a campaign of antisemites standing synagogues, on shabbat and high holy days, to protest against Israel. Sizer has been documented to have recommended the writings of Holocaust deniers, cited Holocaust deniers in his academic work, accept speaking invitations from Holocaust deniers, and shared platforms with Holocaust deniers to denounce the Jewish state.
Sizeralso thinks that Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi was tied to the USA by Jewish blood, which stopped America from reining in Gaddafi from mass murder, because “blood is thicker than water”. He also thinks it commendable to call for Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine“. He meets with Islamists in Hezbollah and in the Iranian government, who seek the destruction of the Jewish state.
Sizer is rightly the subject of a complaint from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, to the Bishop of Guildford.
On Boxing Day, the Holocaust denier Paul Eisen posted an email he received from Jeremy Moodey, the organiser of “Stephen Sizer’s defence fund.”
Dear friends of Stephen Sizer
A massive ‘thank you’ to those of you who contributed to Stephen’s defence fund. We quickly raised £1,140 thanks to your generosity, which meant that we were able to cover the first payment of £1,000 to Stephen’s lawyer, Simon Natas at Irvine Thanvi Natas.
The latest situation is that Stephen is preparing his formal response to the Board of Deputies’ complaint. This needs to be with the Bishop of Guildford by 18 January and Mr Natas has been helping him with the document.
Under the Clergy Discipline Measure the Bishop then has up to 28 days to review the dossier and can choose one of the following courses of action:
· To dismiss the complaint and take no further action (the Board of Deputies could appeal against this within 14 days) · If the respondent (Stephen) agrees, the Bishop can decide on a “conditional deferment”, which means the complaint is “kept on file” for up to 5 years, but with no further action taken unless the alleged misconduct reoccurs. However this usually only happens when the respondent admits the misconduct. · The Bishop can decide in favour of conciliation, although this is usually reserved for situations where pastoral or personal relationships have been damaged. · The Bishop can also impose a “penalty by consent”. But again, such a penalty (eg prohibition for a period of years, revocation of licence, rebuke) can only be imposed if the respondent admits the misconduct. · The Bishop can decide in favour of a formal investigation by a disciplinary tribunal headed by an independent party, usually a judge. Significantly, the standard of proof in such a tribunal – which can be decided by majority vote – is the civil standard (“balance of probability”) rather than the criminal standard (“beyond reasonable doubt”). The tribunal can decide on an appropriate penalty if the accusation of misconduct is proven, and the respondent has a right of appeal.
Given that Stephen is vigorously denying the Board of Deputies’ accusations, the two effective scenarios are dismissal of the case (which of course is what we are all praying for, given that the complaint is baseless) or referral to the disciplinary tribunal. In this latter case Stephen’s legal costs will of course increase significantly.
Paul Eisen is on the mailing list of the Stephen Sizer defence fund. Eisen recently wrote an article “How I became a Holocaust denier.”
It is interesting how Sizer has turned to lawyer Simon Natas to help him write a reply.
Natas works for ITN Solicitors, who instructed lawyers for the defence of hate preacher Zakir Naik, a man who claims that America is controlled by Jews and that apostates from Islam deserve death, when he wanted to enter Britain. ITN Solicitors also defended Raed Salah, who was deemed acceptable to visit Britain, but still someone who promotes the antisemitic blood libel.
Sizer’s case will be submitted on January 18th. With that out of the way, Sizer will participate in a day conference at the Palestinian Return Centre on January 19th, hosted at Friends House. The PRC seeks the elimination of the Jewish state. It is a pro-Hamas outfit, which has previously welcomed the neo Nazi MEP, Krisztina Morvai, to an earlier and similar event.
Sizer is confident of a successful outcome to his case.