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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  • craig Post author


    That is truly pathetic. I had no idea that there had been recent anti-semitic behaviour by football supporters – as I didn’t know about it, I haven’t condemned it either, so do you claim that makes me an anti-semite?

  • Mary

    Doing nicely.

    Goldman bankers set for bonus windfall as profits rise
    Goldman Sachs bankers are poised for a bigger windfall when bonuses are handed out later this month after the US investment bank enjoyed a stronger 2012.

    Network Rail executives in line for £900,000 bonuses
    Network Rail executives will enjoy bonuses of up to £900,000 each next year as passengers struggle to cope with above inflation fare rises.

    and earlier in the week

    Gas boss forced out with a golden goodbye: As families face ever-rising bills, energy chief is walking away with up to £13m

    Phil Bentley is boss of British Gas which has doubled its prices in 7 years
    Windfall enough to pay typical family’s gas and electric bill for 9,500 years
    Bentley will leave company later this year as part of management overhaul

  • Mary

    YoMiryam Hasbara calling! Hasbara calling!

    A little late on in the proceedings though. Must keep up.

  • Fred


    When I look at Stephen Sizer’s web site I find what you say is not true.

    “But without wishing to minimise the horror of that day, or its collective effect, many, many, more people have, and do, die on a daily basis in other countries ruled by tyrants, oppressed by repressive regimes or torn apart by civil war, especially Christians. The list of countries is lamentably long and sometimes closer to home than we would wish – Somalia, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Tibet, North Korea and Turkey, Egypt, Palestine…”

    Israel has a great deal of influence, influence with governments through lobbies and funding, influence in the media and a huge military might. The only thing that Palestinians have is right on their side. There is a huge imbalance, it is very much a David and Goliath situation. So if the commentaries of people like Rev. Sizer seem unbalanced to you it is because they have to be, they have to be to redress the huge imbalance which exists at the moment.

    I must say that Goliath keeping whinging “it’s not fair he’s got a sling” doesn’t do much to further their cause in my eyes either.

  • Zona Norte

    An anti-semite is someone who hates someone of semitic origin simply because that person is semitic.

    I argue, therefore, that it is not anti-semitic:

    To deny the Jewish holocaust.
    To deny the uniqueness of the Jewish holocaust.
    To compare Jewish suffering with that of other peoples.
    To point out that Jews figured prominently in the Bolshevik Revolution.
    To claim that AIPAC calls the shots in the US’ Middle East foreign policy.
    To opposed the existence of the State of Israel.

    Such statements or claims may be controversial or dead wrong and could be motivated by anti-semitism but of themselves are not anti-semitic. Refusing a Jew (or Arab) a job because of their race is anti-semitism. Jailing or attacking a Jew or Arab because of their race is anti-semitism. Prejudicial behaviour is the key to anti-semitism.

  • glenn_uk

    YoMiryam: I didn’t hear you speak out against alleged antisemitism in recent football matches. That makes you an anti-Semite, pal, by your own logic. And you didn’t even have the decency to denounce yourself.

    By the way, most of the blame for the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict belongs squarely on the side that’s done the most harm, killed the most people, and occupying the most land I’d say. Wonder which side that might be?

    In the face of zero opposition in US media to Israel’s continued aggression and encroachment of land (not to mention occupation of existing land, building on occupied land which is illegal under International Law, etc. etc.), does Sizer have to add to condemnation of Arabs and lend even further support to Israel? In order to be credible, in your twisted view, I suppose he should do nothing else.

    Israel has – after all – the absolute subservience of America’s political and media class. I mention America because that’s what really matters when it comes to these things, and you are obviously a pro-Israeli, American based stooge.

  • Jemand

    @YoMiryam – “My thoughts on the Palestine/Israel problem is that there are just too many people, like Rev. Sizer, meddling in this situation, trying to dictate to Jews and Israel how to behave, while, very often, these same people fail to hold other countries to account for the human rights abuses these countries commit, e.g., (China/Tibet; Turkey/Northern Cyprus; Turkey/Kurds).”

    So your logic is unless one criticizes all that should be criticized, then one should not criticize anything at all. What a load of bullshit. No single problem would ever get solved if every discussion on an issue was mangled and diluted with commentary about every other problem. But your comment is not really about this issue because we can see very clearly that you’re just a mouth piece for Israel online propaganda. The real purpose of your comment is to diminish public support for Sizer so that his good work in support of Palestinians will be frustrated with legal problems and professional ostracision through character assassination. How do you pro-Israel flunkies sleep at night?

  • thatcrab

    I read earlier that Semetic is a linguistic grouping which applies to the Palestinians and not most Israeli Jews. If so, it is like anti-Gaelic meaning anti-COE in historical conflict between Britain and Ireland. The Irish hostile to British control would have been charged as ‘anti-gaelic’ as Palestinians are charged as ‘anti-semite’ In opposition with their foe they would be coined anti-themselves. Amazing.

  • Innocent bystander

    “My experience in reading Rev. Sizer’s blog is that he does not show much sensitivity towards Jews, despite his disavowals of anti-Semitism.”

    Hasbara….Lacking sensitivity does not constitute anti-Semitism. Why do you require “special” sentiment?

    “He always lays the blame for the Israel/Palestine problems squarely on Israel.
    It seems he fails to speak up in support of Jews in the face of anti-Semitic occurrences in your country, as at some recent football matches where there appear to have been anti-Semitic incidents on the part of some fans during matches — whereas, he was quick to speak up on behalf of Muslims after the appearance and dissemination of an anti-Muslim film originating in the USA.
    I have never heard or read on his blog any defense of Jews in the face of official anti-Semitic propaganda disseminated by many Muslim countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the UAE, Iran, et al.”

    Hasbara….Israel is the occupier, not the occupied. Why would someone whose religious convictions include ministering to the downtrodden, include praising the perpetrators of said downtrodding? Are you lobbying Rev. Sizer for equal time and attention? Why would he defend Israel’s actions and/or policies of apartheid and suppression of a people he ministers to?

    “I’m also querying where Rev. Sizer gets funding for all the trips he makes, whether to the Holy Land or other parts of the world — this, to me, seems strange on the salary of a priest/vicar — I’m wondering whether the funding is not coming from some pro-Palestinian organizations when it comes to his frequent visits to the Holy Land.”

    More Hasbara….Christian outreach programs are going on all over the world and are funded in a variety of ways. So what if he did receive pro-Palestinian support group money? Do you want to dictate that? Pro-Palestinian money is just as spendable as Christian money….unless you have a problem with Palestinians?

    “My thoughts on the Palestine/Israel problem is that there are just too many people, like Rev. Sizer, meddling in this situation, trying to dictate to Jews and Israel how to behave, while, very often, these same people fail to hold other countries to account for the human rights abuses these countries commit, e.g., (China/Tibet; Turkey/Northern Cyprus; Turkey/Kurds).”

    Even more Hasbara….Israel’s behaviour has come to the attention of the world, not just Stephen Sizer, whose passion and vocation it is to ease the suffering of the oppressed and offer the world his faith based support and ministry.

    “My view is that there is a need for disciplinary action by his Diocese.”

    Discipline for what? Practicing his faith? Why? Because he’s not Jewish? If the CofE fails to support Rev. Sizer and capitulates to this Zio-facist vendetta, not just Stephen Sizer, but all of Christianity and all it stands for is in deep trouble.

    Posting the “wrong” links on the internet isn’t a basis for this action. Choosing who to minister to isn’t a basis for this action. Practicing one’s faith isn’t a basis for this action.

    Some of these “keyboard hasbara warriors” like Hoffman, Millet, Levick, and Arkush(BOD mouthpieces), have taken this internet propaganda war way too far. I often wonder if there’s a correlation between how loud and often anti-Semitism is screamed and how inhumane and indefencible Israel’s policies are? Maybe it’s just a case of “a good defence being a good offence”?

    A final thought….my Grandmother had a saying that seems applicable here…”Hate the sin, love the sinner”. How it applies to Israel is this: Her policies are the sin, her people are the sinners. This warped misuse of the label of anti-Semitism is just that…a misuse. Stephen Sizer doesn’t hate Jews. He just doesn’t support Israel’s policies nor condone her conduct in the world. The love he has for his fellow man is apparent, no matter their race or creed.

    Maybe an investigation into the persecution of Rev. Stephen Sizer should be commenced?

  • Richard Armbach

    re YoMyriam

    Anyone can have as much anti-Semitism as they want. All they have to do is quit speaking English, adopt a private language in which the expression means what you mean by it and abracadabra….. Just substitute YOUR concept of it for THE concept of it……..

    Stand on any random street and ask a hundred random people what they understand by the expression and I would bet Hull City’s chances of winning the Champions League that Israel wouldn’t get a mention.

    When the Board accuse Rev Sizer of anti Semitism they have quit speaking English.

    I have read Rev Sizers major works twice just to double check. Not the merest slightest hint of a negative attitude to Jews in many tens of thousands of words….anywhere. Rather the opposite.

    Rev Sizer is not the first, only or last victim of the intimidation he is suffering at the Boards hands.It has to stop. Sadly I think Metrognome is right, in that perhaps only a determined libel action from someone will do the trick.

  • Smeggypants

    “”YoMiryam —– My thoughts on the Palestine/Israel problem is that there are just too many people, like Rev. Sizer, meddling in this situation, trying to dictate to Jews and Israel how to behave, while, very often, these same people fail to hold other countries to account for the human rights abuses these countries commit, e.g., (China/Tibet; Turkey/Northern Cyprus; Turkey/Kurds)”””

    Oh please, that “you’re always picking on Israel” whining is just so childish. Has it ever occurred to you that the Zionist state gets more attention than other crimes against humanist simply because it is given unconditional support by the Zionist occupied governments of USA/Canada/Australia/UK/France/etc. ??

    Your Zionist propaganda is exposed by the following “dictate to Jews and Israel how to behave”. “Jews and Israel” — How can you generalise about Jews when many many Jews are anti-Zionist and anti-Israel. Just like many Muslims are anti-Islamic terrorists.

    Trying to make Jews and Zionists and the Zionist occupying state of Israel is so crass and outdated now. It’s soooo 20th century.

    As soon as the Zionism is removed from Palestine so Jews, Muslims and Christians can once again live in peace the better! And my friend that is pro-semitic!!!

  • Fred

    I think any British politician who has sworn loyalty to another country should be barred from holding public office.

    It’s no wonder Cameron has no qualms about shafting the people of Britain if his loyalties are elsewhere.

  • Lemon Puffs

    “William Hague talking about arming the Syrian rebels.”

    Ever since the North Wales paedophile ring story resurfaced after a two decade hiatus he has been hiding from the public. Occasionally his masters order him out of the darkness to point his pale, weak, feeble finger at Mr Assad, just as they ordered him to do the same with Gaddaffi. He then scuttles back into the darkness before anyone notices that he’s been creeping around. The media compliantly publish his latest nonsense without question and he lives for another day.

  • macky

    Nevermind; “@ Macky, enjoy, I have posted your link on to the EDL’s Jewish contingent’s FB page, let them eat sugar.”

    Full kudos for that, but as suspected there’s no way they would let any negative link/comment last more than a few seconds on their page.

  • Richard Armbach

    There is not much in the way of ” they ” in the EDL Jewish Division. There never really was, and such as there was diminished further when Roberta Moore fell out with the EDL and pitched her tent on Victor Vancier’s Jewish Task Force porch. The real issue is the links and associations between these people and a wing of the Zionist Federation.The crazies in this wing were not strictly speaking members, the links are informal.

    The real horror is that the Bod, the ZF and the JC have long been in possession of all the facts and they have simply ignored these facts and indulged and tolerated this wing.

    So the Board complaining to the Church about the ludicrous alleged ” racism ” of Rev Sizer is not only wrong, wrong and wrong again it is hypocrcy of the highest order.

  • Habbabkuk

    Here’s the blog’s official troll and shill again (me, apparently).

    Lack of logic displayed by many of the above posts. Various people say “oh, don’t engage with Habbabkuk, don’t feed the troll and then he’ll go away”. But you don’t seem to apply the same logic when it comes to answering someone like YoMyriam.

    Or do you seriously believe you’re having a “discussion” with YoMyriam? That there’s the slightest chance of your arguments convincing her? You know your own position, you can recognbise YoMyriaml for what she is – so why the flood of posts addresssed to her?

  • Habbabkuk

    @ Fred (8.59am) : absolutely agree. Recently a Hungarian politician (admittedly a far-right one) called for Hungarian politicians who also had Israeli citizenship to be publically identified. Naturally, this caused considerable indignation in the usual quarters.

    However, I think the idea of publically identifying UK politicians and high level civil servants who do have dual citizenship (whether Irish, Israeli, American or whatever) is an excellent one, which could only bring greater transparency to the political process. Most foreign countries would probably have no problem with this either, I imagine.

  • Fred

    “So the Board complaining to the Church about the ludicrous alleged ” racism ” of Rev Sizer is not only wrong, wrong and wrong again it is hypocrcy of the highest order.”

    The links between the Zionists and the EDL doesn’t lower my estimations of the Zionists any, it does, however lower my estimations of the EDL somewhat.

    The IDF are using the children of Gaza for target practice in blatant breach of the terms of the cease fire and bulldozing Palestinian homes in the West Bank to make way for illegal Jewish settlements. Compared to the Zionists the EDL are veritable saints, if they have any sense they will sever all links with Zionism or they will be getting themselves a bad name.

  • A Node


    You’ve received a lot of criticism for your comments, but I for one would like to give you a big thank you.

    You’ve united this blog more than it’s been for ages. Old foes have put aside their differences to unanimously condemn your post. You have inspired a show of support for the Rev Sizer which he will find very gratifying and you’ve undoubtedly increased the number of donations to his fighting fund. The eloquent defence of the Reverend triggered by your comments must surely have swung the balance in his favour amongst the dont-knows reading this blog. The carefully composed rebuttals of your remarks have clarified my own thoughts on the matter greatly, and I look forward to using some of these new ideas in future arguments with Zionists.

    Thank you also for the clear demonstration of how the defence of Zionism relies upon bluster and threats, and how easily it can be destroyed by reasoned argument. It was helpful of you to point out that you had merely copied and pasted the bulk of your post from elsewhere, thus underlining the difference in commitment between supporters and opponents of Zionism. I am encouraged me to redouble my efforts in support of the beleaguered Palestinian people.

    Please post again.

  • macky

    Craig; “Your participation in comments on this blog is welcome.”

    Perhaps you should try engaging in a rational debate with Habbakuk to see if you still feel the same way.

    Richard Armbach; “There is not much in the way of ” they ” in the EDL Jewish Division”

    Just for clarification, the “they” I was reffering to, was to the controllers of the FB page.

  • Richard Armbach

    @ Macky ok thanks for the clarification

    Macky I am banned from Harry’s Place,CifWatch,BBCWatch,and Millet’s blog to name but a very few. It doesn’t bother me and I don’t bother trying to sneak back in on a change of user name.It just seems stupid to me to have a party line and run things so that people are just in effect talking to themselves. If someones idea of a blog is somewhere they go to for affirmation I am happy for them to get on with it.

    I think there is a case for saying bye bye to someone that is persistently hijacking the topic and wilfully hijacking the topic, abusing or threatening others and turning the blog into a zoo. Then the blog becomes worthless.

    On a cursory glance Habbakuk doesn’t seem to fall into any of those categories.And while rationality is good so is a bit of irrational emotion once in a while. Right Fred ? :o))

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    On January 7, the Christmas day in Egypt, the Imam of the mosque in Tahrir Square area and many from his mosque walked to the church to visit and to celebrate Christmas with the Christians in Egypt.!

    In Britain the EDL and BNP attempt to divide us with hatred and violence at a time when even mother earth is herself unstable with climate change and her resources depleted. When we pan out to the world view an irrational snap-shot of conflict appears framed by the show-downs between China and Japan as their warplanes tail each other, between America and Russia as their ships converge near Syria.

    Back in Britain discontent has passed germinating, a growing anger of government ineptitude is causing riots in Liverpool and in Ireland the cold cinders of unity are glowing once again. In these times we look towards the sun to dispel the shadows.!

    The tortoise trusted the scorpion on his back crossing the deep river. They both died mid-crossing when the scorpion stung the tortoise. Before death the tortoise cried – why? – now we both will die. The scorpion replied, I had to, I am a scorpion.

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