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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  • Anne

    Stephen is a great advocate for peace and justice. I am privileged to call him a friend. My donation to fight his cause and get the best legal advice is on its way.

  • A Node


    “Britain is supposed to be a Christian nation, so we Britons have a duty to stand up for our churchmen. ”

    …. therefore ….

    Britain is supposed to be a tea drinking nation, so we Britons have a duty to stand up for our tea cups.

  • guano

    No Craig, if you link to something the onus is on you to make clear your interest in or reservations about that. Not every time obviously.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    Yes a bit mad Kempe considering a mix bag of Saudi mujahadeen planned a ‘Kamikaze Pilots’ attack in the 90’s. We knew early from Iranian sources the Shaytân-e Bozorg was in the sights of a terrorist group.

    It was SAVAK counter-intelligence guru and thug Behrooz Sarshar having escaped from Iran with a little help from us Brits who blew the whistle to his CIA handlers.

    So we knew, they knew and Bush was told in April 2001.

    Therefore I charge the administration for failing to protect the American people. Also for the murder of John O’Neil, poor bastard – he also knew.

  • thatcrab

    Is there a register we can search to find out which sites we are not allowed to link to lest we might fall foul of antisemitism laws?
    A spellchecker could be integrated in Operating Systems which highlighlights links and terms unfriendly to.. semites(?) to help us observe the special consideration they require.

  • A Node


    Uzbekistan is supposed to be a dictatorship so those Usbekistanis have a duty to stand up for their dictator.

  • Cryptonym

    I expect they’ll send their own vicar to Coventry, we have two organisations that both must ever justify having gone a-plundering with holy book in one hand and guns blazing.

    United in their guilt. Though British bible wielding colonisers at least tolerated some victims joining them wholly in their delusions, while still otherwise thoroughly racist.

  • guano

    The Gospels say that Jesus said that his contemporary fellow Jews rejected the cornerstone of the building. Jews and Muslims understand from our scriptures what that cornerstone is, the Oneness of God, His omniscience and omnipotence and thus the rejection of all partnership in the knowledge and control over His creation.

    The trouble with traditionalists is that they start with the deviation that Jesus was God and try to build a theological structure over a completely wobbly foundation. The best thing to do with such a strange edifice is not necessarily to knock it down. We once worked on a house under which a spring came up through the clay of the hillside and the surveyor was quite happy for the spring to remain. If you were starting again because the building had fallen down you wouldn’t repeat the mistake of the original location.

    That’s the problem. Allah has left this wonky structure to stand, purely to show the Muslims what happens if you build on an insecure foundation. The result is violent and continuous colonialism against ‘the other’. The abomination of mutually assured destruction. The dependence of the economy on interest, alcohol, narcotics and arms. The ability of citizens to sleep at night while starvation, war, disease ravage the warring nations while diplomacy is put on the back burner by NATO’s politicians.
    The prevalence of adultery and sexually transmitted diseases spreading from the west to the previously morally shy nations.

    It may be that The Reverend Sizer is actually anti-semitic because the Christians traditionally blame the wrongs listed above on the Jews who rejected Jesus’ (pbuh) teachings, forgetting that they themselves followed the rejecters of Jesus’s message of Monotheism rather than follow him.
    The Qur’an states that they will argue about these things until the Day of Judgement and it is futile to intervene.
    ‘Inna ma tunthira illa man taba’a aththikra’
    ‘Indeed nobody can be alerted ( to the teaching of the Oneness of God ) except those who follow the reminder (the Qur’an)’
    ‘Ummun, bukmun sumyun la rajioun’ ‘ Deaf, dumb and blind they will not return ( to the teachings of Monotheism ‘.

    The Semites, i.e. the theological offspring of Abraham, Jews or Muslims, will never cease to be persecuted by the theological offspring of shaytan the devil who inform them to worship other than Allah. Christianity is one of the many thousands of polytheistic deviancies that hate the Semitic religion of Monotheism.

  • Giles

    Evidently there are people who spend a great deal of time sifting through material posted by critics of Israel in the hope of finding something that might be actionable. This particular case smacks of desperation on the part of the sifters, but the motivation is, of course, purely to fight racism and nothing at all to do with frightening/silencing/discrediting critics of Israel…

    Just like the more general obsession with racism that pervades virtually every aspect of our institutions is about protecting the poor, downtrodden immigrant from the inherent nastiness of the native inhabitants, and nothing at all to do with silencing criticism of mass-immigration.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Throwing the baby out with the dirty bathwater is in vogue. The Vicar’s plight is one we’ll all eventually face, in one form or another. We in the US, if we were consistent in our contemporary demand for purity from all, should invalidate the US Constitution, since one of it’s principal authors actually held black slaves. The methodology is clear; make things too hot for those who dissent, by detailing some moral failing, or political gaffe, then shouting such derision from the rooftops.

    Seems to work…….

  • Cryptonym

    I’ll grant that there is material, in historical books which must be taken warts and all, on the iamthe… website that, as the term anti-semitic is degraded and inaccurate, better be called what it is anti-jewish. I’m not in favour of suppressing or condemning perusal or access to this stuff, it is easily discernible where it is prejudicial and bad, it’s not persuasive, confirming only that the anti-semitism existed. It is impossible to study and learn much of 20th century history, even 20th century interpretations of earlier periods still, without reference to this stuff. It can only be hoped that books from this 21st century, looked back upon retrospectively after coming events (if we do not or have not already with certainty exterminated all humanity) will learn how the seemingly intractable cultural clash between incomer wannabe Israelis and indigenous Palestinians were mutually and amicably resolved, through an unlikely outbreak of reparation, respect and tolerance.

  • Mary

    Off topic but thought it was of interest. Zero Dark Thirty (an acronym for half past midnight) is the film made by Katheryn Bigelow that extols the virtues of the Navy Seals and their so called killing of Osama Bin Laden.

    Academy Award voting member announces he will not vote for ZD30 in any category

    “The Motion Picture Academy clearly warns its members not to disclose their votes for Academy Awards. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that the film Zero Dark Thirty promotes the acceptance of the crime of torture, as a legitimate weapon in America’s so-called War on Terror. In that belief, following my conscience, I will not vote for Zero Dark Thirty in any category. I cannot vote for a film that makes heroes of Americans who commit the crime of torture.”

  • BrusselsLout

    Node — Britain’s culture is founded on Christianity. Not every British citizen is Christian, true. Far from it. But that’s because Christianity is all inclusive. One of its grounding principles is never to reject anyone.

    But if you’re a Christian moving to a muslim nation say, you could well be ostracized. Just try to move to Israel, and you won’t be allowed in if you’re not Jewish. Indeed, Christian Jews are rejected by mainstream Jews.

    Britain is now multi-culti BECAUSE of its Christian roots. And I believe its politicians should be doing more to support its church’s preachers.

  • thatcrab

    ” (…) Rev. Sizer is, in effect, being hounded not for his own expressed opinions, but for the opinions of others. Who out there, that is a prolific researcher and user of the internet, could stand up to the kind of scrutiny Rev. Sizer seems to have been subjected to? Certainly not many of those hounding Rev Sizer. Among them, there is a universal taste for linking to blog spots dripping with unmoderated, out-and-out Zio-Fascist racist comments, including Harry’s Place, CifWatch, BBC Watch, Elder of Zyon, Richard Millett’s blog, IsraelNational News. (…)

  • A Node

    OK, BrusselsLout, fair enough.
    I was just (a little mischievously) making the point that I, a Briton, do not believe that I “have a duty to stand up for our churchmen”.

  • Henry Forester

    Zionist and pro-Israeli Jews have by now completely devalued the accusation of anti-semitism by its massive and unwarranted application to anyone who criticizes the actions of that appaling “state” stolen from the Palestinians. It has become the first refuge of the scoundrel.

    But what is really shocking to me is the knowing application of the financial mis use of the law (ie, knowing that their enemies will be bankrupted in the effort to clear their name, while they are bankrolled by zionist money).

    Isn’t it about time we just told them to “go fuck themselves” – they have reduced the accusation of anti semitism to the status of a JOKE.

  • BrusselsLout

    Smacks of the notorious fiasco Operation Ore, where large numbers of British guys had their homes busted into by police for suspicion of viewing child porn — when none actually had. Some had viewed an adult porn site which also, it turned out, had a child porn section. NONE of these guys had actually viewed those pages or were interested in it. But because of the association, they had their homes raided in the middle of the night, traumatizing them, their wives and their children. (Others were victims of identity theft after ordering goods, like bicycle parts, from some company in America.)

    It looks like the police have now very little to do. Crime is in decline. The press horrifies the public, and the police are back in business.

  • doug scorgie

    The Jewish Chronicle has long been a British Zionist mouthpiece and the Board of Deputies advocates for the Jewish State. Reading the Chronicle these days is like reading the blog Harry’s Place where no criticism of Israel is allowed to pass.

    The upcoming election in Israel could see the establishment of the far-right religious Zionist party – Jewish Home. If so, forget about a Palestinian state; forget about peace.

    Keep your eye on this election and take note of comments from the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Chronicle (and even the British government) if the far-right make gains.

  • Je

    Jewish Boards of Deputies don’t all have a glorious history. It took the South African one 70 years to condemn apartheid there.

    Being called an anti-semite is standard for any critic of Israel. A strange term as Semitic is a language group. Palestinians are Semitic speakers while the Jewish Boards of Deputies here aren’t. Palestinians are also far, far more likely to be descendents of the Israelites than they are. Ironic huh.

  • Metrognome

    I strongly suggest Rev. Sizer file harassment, discrimination, and libel charges against the BOD post haste.

  • Metrognome

    I have a Sunni Muslim friend from Iran who owns a restaurant. He hates Jews. I love his food. Am I anti-Semitic?

  • Gideon

    The smear of anti-semitism has become so ubiquitous and the consequences of a successful smear so severe that surely something must be done to stop such false accusations.

    In agreement with Metrognome, the approach taken must be legal, and perhaps legal in nature. A charge of liable or slander could be the way to go with claims of massive damages. This presents a classic catch 22: if the settlement is relatively small then it is shown that the branding of anti-semite is trivial and no big deal; if massive, then such awards should quickly eliminate false accusations.

    Slightly O/T but here is a great site for understanding the Balfour declaration, the formation of Israel, and the continuation of the crime ever since. It is historically accurate, truthful, and not anti-semitic!

  • Mary

    The BBC are doing a good job for Israhell. Kevin Connolly who lives in Jerusalem was on Radio 4 Today this morning describing Israel as being surrounded by hostile nations. No irony.

    Israel’s parliamentary election campaign has entered its final two weeks, but it was edged out as the nation’s top talking point by a spectacular outbreak of wintry weather. Even before the storms, bread and butter campaign issues were struggling to force themselves onto the agenda of a nation where national security issues traditionally dominate political life. Correspondent Kevin Connolly reports.

    43mins 30secs in

  • Mary

    There he goes again.

    Breaking news. Cameron is sending two C17 transport planes to Mali to assist the French operation.


    Monsieur Hollande is placing all government buildings in France on high security alert.

  • Mary

    RIP Aaron Swartz internet freedom activist aged 26 who took his own life. He was facing trial on hacking charges.

    ‘He later became an advocate of internet freedom, and was facing hacking charges at the time of his death.

    He was among the founders of the Demand Progress campaign group, which lobbies against internet censorship.

    The hacking charges relate to the downloading of millions of academic papers from online archive JSTOR, which prosecutors say he intended to distribute for free.

    He denied charges of computer fraud at an initial hearing last year, but his federal trial was due to begin next month.’

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