Defend Stephen Sizer 267

Stephen Sizer has been active for many years in areas of humanitarian concern for the Palestinian population. I was with him on my recent trip to Baghdad, and I am convinced he is a good man.

Stephen is a Church of England vicar. He is under huge pressure at the moment as he is under a formal complaint from the Board of Deputies of British Jews to the Church of England on a charge of anti-semitism. This is very serious indeed and could lead to the loss of both his job and his home.

The essence of the long complaint is that he has posted links on his website to other websites which contain anti-semitic material. It is not alleged that he has linked to material which is itself anti-semitic; but that elsewhere on websites linked to there is such material.

That may or may not be true. But in the real world, the idea that in posting a link to an article you are endorsing every other article (which in practice you cannot have seen) on a website is nonsensical and would make much current blogging practice impossible.

That Stepehn is not an anti-semite and has not knowingly endorsed anti-semitism, I have no doubt. But what worries me is the growing bravura with which all critics of Israel or supporters of the Palestinians are charged with the – rightfully – damning slur of anti-semitism.

Just as the government of Israel has lurched to the far right, so “official” Jewish institutions in the UK have abandoned their once notable liberalism. The Board of Deputies used to deserve high respect and be a pillar of reason. It is astonishing to me that it has launched this absolutely unfounded attack on an Anglican priest. The Jewish Chronicle has lurched so far to the right as to be off the scale. There seems to be such a disconnect now between these institutions and the views of the Jewish people I know that I hope this state of affairs cannot last.

A list of those who have written in support of Stephen Sizer can be found here.

The formal process in which Stephen is now enmeshed is not only extremely unpleasant, it is also extremely expensive. He has to employ lawyers for his formal defence. A cardinal rule of this blog is never to ask for money, but I ask you now to donate for the defence fund.

Electronic transfers can be made to account name J Moodey, Co-op Bank sort code 08-93-00, account number 80407856. Cheques should be made out to J Moodey and sent to Mr S Leah, c/o York PSC, PO Box 423, York YO24 4WP.

It is important that we do not allow the victimisation of those who try to defend the Palestinians to proceed apace. Please do donate anything you can; if you feel able to add a comment saying that you have done so, that might encourage others.

267 thoughts on “Defend Stephen Sizer

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  • Frazer

    Craig..if by posting contraversial links on a blog were a crime, you would have been shot years ago ! My donation is on it’s way !

  • John Goss

    Yes , I think this is a worthy cause and I shall be making a donation. It is this kind of slur that gets good men a bad name. I know a few sites and one or two clergy of the C of E and will make them aware of this persecution.

    One thing that few people understand is the meaning of anti-semitic. It does not mean anti-Jewish. Palestinians are Semites too. Legally, if the term ‘anti-semitic’ features in the charge he should have a good case.

  • Tom Welsh

    You refer to the “rightfully damning slur of anti-semitism”. Leaving aside the technical consideration that anti-semitism is strictly a racial attitude, while being Jewish can be a religious or cultural identity rather than a genetic one, it’s unclear just why it should be so damning. How often do we tar an entire people with the faults of their leaders! One need look no further than the Nazis, whose vile beliefs led most British and American people to hate all Germans and acquiesce heartily in carpet-bombing of civilians, many of whom no doubt were quite decent people.

    Moreover, immediately after your caution about anti-semitism you give us a laundry lsit of unpleasant behaviour and attitudes on the part of Jewish leaders in the UK. None of us here probably has to be told about the crimes of the leadership of Israel.

    So, while I don’t want to be anti-semitic, why isn’t there a word that means “resolutely opposed to the *leadership* of Israel and Jews everywhere”? After all, if someone is said to be anti-British, anti-American, anti-Russian, anti-Chinese, or whatever, isn’t it the leaders of those nations who are assumed to be disliked, rather than the broad masses – of whose personalities and opinions most of us know nothing at all?

    Of course, it would be nice if someone could invent a form of government in which the leaders somehow represented the views and wishes of the people. Then we could assume a certain consistency, and we could hold the people responsible for the actions of the leaders. But no – that’s a pipe dream, it could never happen.

  • N_

    I guess you know, Craig, that it’s only a matter of time before the Zionists will be coming for you too?

    You’re a very naughty boy. You talked about Matthew Gould, British ambassador to Israel, being Jewish.

    Never mind that Gould grins as he openly helps out a foreign power’s propaganda effort in Britain. (Hasbara, Leeds, if anyone wants to check.) Never mind that we couldn’t imagine an ambassador to Moscow or Tehran doing the same. The KGB or the mullahs would have nowhere enough clout in the FCO, elsewhere in Whitehall, or SIS, to put them in such a strong position.

    For the Zionists, there’s a race (sorry, ‘ethno-religious’) war on, and you’re on the other side.

    By the way, this stuff about the Board of Deputies being once upon a time ‘liberal’, and about ‘Israel’ being something other than ‘far right’. You’re joking, right? The front that’s chosen is whatever works for the perceived ethnic interest. Although even that’s a vague way of putting it. As I keep on saying, Zionism is not just an ideology – it’s an organisation.

    If you think Israel was once good and has turned bad, you suffer from historical amnesia. Need I say ‘Deir Yassin’? The ‘good turned bad’ idea is propaganda. It’s putting up defences on the Green Line and arguing over what happens on the more recently conquered side of it. Do you get this? Push, push, push. Obscure the debate. Lie. Nazi! There’s only one language the Zionists will understand, and it isn’t diplomacy or guilt-tripping.

  • Mike

    I detest the words anti semite, so now I just refer to them as Zionists, which most of the Israeli leadership are.
    Your friend is one of many this is happening to worldwide…

  • N_

    Hi Mike – if you think only “most” of the Israeli leadership are Zionists, what definition of ‘Zionism’ are you using?

    The definition I use is that a Zionist is someone who supports the existence of a Jewish state. On that definition, all of the Israeli leadership is Zionist. (Never mind just the leadership – it’s against the law in Israel to stand for public office on a platform which questions whether the state should be Jewish-supremacist.) In other words, Zionism is the Jewish brand of ethnic supremacism. The term also stands for the organisation which promotes this. This organisation has faces which include the Israeli state, the Jewish Agency/World Zionist Organisation, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith, World Jewish Congress, and Chabad-Lubavitch.

  • Cryptonym

    Well said, N_. Do continue reading my mind, it saves me the effort typing self-evident but infrequently voiced truths.

    And Tom Welsh.

    As Fred said, too (I think): a bit Pot, Kettle, Black. Church of England vicar, it’s all a bit ‘enemy of my enemy’ and all that. Wouldn’t it be better if any spare cash went to medical supplies, bandages, nappies, viagra, baby food, adult food or whatever that can be got into the West Bank or Gaza unmolested and for the Church of England to tell the Board of Deputies to FRO, then hang all (the) lawyers. What remit can lawyers possibly have between a vicar and his church hierarchy? This Church should defend him automatically, or be the poorer spiritually for his departure and loss and he’d be better out of anyway it as it seems he has his head half screwed on properly and critical faculties intact. Sinister organisations consisting of three words: Church of England, Board of Deputies, ADL, HoC etc., seem the common denominator in many evils, can’t we just deride and ignore them automatically on that easy basis. Lethal combinations of puffed up zealots and conspirators. I suppose there are freedom of speech and internet freedoms at stake too, some of the wackiest websites have good stuff in amongst all the flying saucers and healing crystals rubbish, like stopped clocks right twice a day.

  • nevermind

    I’m with N_ and cryptonym and the next time I can make ends meet from month to month and have something left I will think of those in Gaza.

    Lets hope that Craigs exposes here of the hypocrisy and blatant use of Britain’s judicial system to score religious propaganda and PR points for a fascist Zionist outfit, not even part of the EU, through our courts, will rattle a still very rich church and its clergy to defend their own kind and put their hands in their pockets.

    Whatever judge might want to wash his/her hands, and does not dismiss this case for piffle or rule’s that it goes unreported, is a mug.

  • Cryptonym

    Is this board Of deputies as one unanimously fervent Arab-haters and apologists for genocide or are there moderates who simply wish to kill everyone but their lot and let $deity sort who was really good or bad? I presume their internal deliberations are publicy accessible, if not, why not?

    Beware unifying theories of everything which are impervious to contradictory facts or cool reason. Religious belief the prime example. I’d take religion out of it, Zionism is ethnic supremacism, rather than the religious type, and justifiably detestable.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    Well said N_ and Tom Bravo – Thankfully I believe the Palestinian people will continue to expose the hypocrisy of the West and the international injustice until it regains all its stolen lands and forces states like the US and Britain who supported its enemies to apologize and pay reparations.

    Stephen Sizer in his book “Christian Zionism – Road Map to Armageddon” claims that Christian Zionism infused with the neoconservative political ideology has ‘tipped the world on its side heavy with military artillery.’

    Here is the relevant religious debate with Stephen and International Bible Expositor David Pawson:

  • Wan2donate

    Craig. For international readers, can you provide info on how they can easily and quickly send money. Paypal?

  • Phil W

    Cryptonym, Nevermind

    Like it or not the CofE is a powerful institution, and this attack on Stephen Sizer looks like another attempt to push it into supporting the Zionist agenda (more than it does already). It is about getting it to stifle dissent. It is not a small matter and I think it important that we do support Stephen Sizer whatever we think of his religion

  • Jemand

    The dubious accusation of being an anti-semite is now so toxic that any successful defence is unlikely. Even in the event of an acquittal (if that’s the right word) the slur lives on and is renewed by trolls and shills. I wonder if anyone has lost their job for being an anti-gentile.

  • Kempe

    A quick glance at the evidence the BoD website reveals a link to “iamthewitness”, this site has a clearly advertised section on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion which Sizer must’ve been aware of. Only a pretty bonkers anti-Semitic site would bother with such nonsense (proved to be a fake in the 1920’s) so I’m wondering why on earth Sizer linked to it. Another site, “veteranstoday” seems to be part of the 9/11 “troof” movement which blames Israel for the attacks. I know this idea has some supporters around here but it is totally mad and you can understand why the BoD would be offended.

    Any, make up your own minds.

    This complaint may well be revenge for Sizer calling the police out to blogger Joseph Weissman in 2009 on grounds of harassment. No action was taken but Weissaman removed the blog voluntarily.

  • Yonatan

    It is interesting that all screenshots in the document you refer to show a complete browser screen, with the exception of the final screen shot of Sizer linking to a specific Windows into Palestine page. This screenshot is heavily truncated to remove context. There is no clear evidence as to why he says “Read more here and also the Daily Telegraph”. The only clue is the url containing “bbc-caught-out-with-its-zionist”.

    So your evidence is a link made by Sizer on some unknown date for an unknown reason to a WiP page dated 5/2012. The page on WiP referring to the Protocols is dated 6/2012. So you are amazed at his pre-emptive linking?

    Why have the Bod removed context on this single entry where Sizer links to a WiP page? My guess is the context contradicts their blatant smear job. But hey, that’s just my guess.

  • Jives


    It is of course possible to link to a relevant article on a website without condoning or subscribing to every single POV therein surely?

    One of the most regular-and misguided- charges against Craig’s blog is that it domain if GroupThink and massed doctrine.

    As im sure you’ll agree that is certainly not the case.

    We are a very broad church.

  • Cryptonym

    It does detail meticulously the m.o. for a revolutionary conspiracy of some sort, with fantastic incredulous elements, it is someone’s fiction, whatever its origins or writers and their motivations, it has aspects such as message/media control which hold true for any such movement with malign ends and has modern day echoes. It manages by stilted dated language, monstrous conceit and condescension to send the reader into a near-comatose state and unlikely to ever wade through its content beyond a skim of some opening blurb. I can’t understand the Zionist over-reaction to its nonsense and rather think they protest too much, so unconvincing is it and devoid of any mention of who the chosen ones or originators might be except in the title latterly applied (it is never a good idea to widely distribute details of secret plots before or after their execution). It is a historical document of interest, a warmed over version of something existant in some form another, still recognisable, long before modern (post late 19th C) Zionist organisations and their racist colonial goals never mind world-domination fantasies went public, and as likely then not their work but plagiarised, perhaps. Was popular reading in Russia and might have had applicability to overthrow of the tsarist regime, where the first bolshevik government who seized control of the people’s revolution immediately outlawed anti-semitism and this dull tract – which isn’t a fake in several senses – to quash association with themselves or criticism of the party and power elite’s religious uniformity.

    Since when have this bag of wind Board of Deputies, framed civil or criminal never mind ‘church law’ whatever that might be. Bun fight in an asylum. Let people make up their own minds, quite properly –no to book burning or banning, including such silly tracts.

  • Cryptonym

    A successor to it almost is the Project for a New (Zionist) American Century. Same exceptionalism and supremacism, breathtaking stupidity and braggartism.

  • Vronsky

    Adducing links as proof of wrongdoing is sinister. ‘But you don’t deny that you know Fred, and you do realise we have just arrested him?’

    We don’t know much about people close to us. An old drinking mate failed to appear one day – imprisoned for embezzlement. One of my music tutors vapourised: paedophilia. In neither case had I any clue that there was anything wrong. The situation is even worse on the web – what’s on a site changes, usually quite rapidly. It leads to the academic requirement to quote a ‘date accessed’ time when referencing an internet source, and I’m still grateful to Clark for pointing out services like WebCite, which capture stills from this ever-moving picture.

    How far does this go? You know, if I link to a site, that links to a site, that links to a site that says there is no Santa Claus, have I ruined Christmas for my grandchildren? We could be back to the metaphysics of the previous thread if we’re not careful.

  • JimmyGiro

    When you criticise a Nazi, she calls you anti-German; when you point out the failings of the socialist mind trap of the Zionists, they call you anti-Jew.

    It’s like the reverse of a straw-man misrepresentation, whereby the innocent is associated with bad agency; here the “anti-Semite” ‘defence’ attempts to shield bad agency with innocent collateral labels.

  • Kempe

    The WiP blog links right back to which is undated and another site Sizer links to. Take a look yourselves and tell me if you think it’s anti-Semitic or not (despite the disclaimer). Sizer has correctly condemned the Protocols as a forgery on his blog so why he would link to such a barmy website I don’t know.

  • BrusselsLout

    Britain is supposed to be a Christian nation, so we Britons have a duty to stand up for our churchmen. Non-Christian cultures always stand up for their own. Why can’t we do the same?

    Where’s that useless Cameron?

  • craig Post author


    The Board of Deputies appendix you cite does indeed link to all sorts of highly objectionable material. What it does not do is link Stephen Sizer to any of that material. It is an appalling bit of attempted character assassination by non-existent association. You are trying to compound by claiming there is a dissonance between Sizer’s sensible dismissal of the Protocols and his links – he has not linked to any material rpomoting the Protocols..

    I have been known to link with approval to specific article in The Telegraph or Spectator. It is ridiculous to claim as a result that I agree with everything on their website or partake in their general poloitical orientation

  • Cryptonym

    Kempe @ 5:20pm. thanks for that link!! 🙂

    Bookmarked it for further perusal someday. Bit of a slow site, probably the slashdot effect; dog’s breakfast of a website but surely some nuggets of meat in there. I’d say the BoD have scored a bit of an own goal coming out of the shadows with this ADL-like attack dog stuff, but I expect they do much for charity behind the scenes.

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