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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  • Mary

    Not (fully) reported in the Zionist-controlled corporate media. Some of the deaths have been reported but we usually have the ‘Israel says’ factor included and the Palestinians are usually referred to as ‘militants’. Until Boaden and her cohort are dismissed at the BBC, given the policy taken by the ‘Trustees’ nothing will change there.

    ‘Since November 22, 2012, 4 Palestinians have been killed and 75 Palestinians, including 14 children have been wounded by IOF fire in Gaza Strip.

    One of the wounded is a fisherman shot in the sea, while the others are protesters, workers and farmers shot in the areas close to the fence of the Green Line. The data is from PCHR weekly reports, unless otherwise mentioned. In almost all the cases, the victims are mentioned expressly as civilians. This is not a complete list of Israeli violations of the ceasefire, as it contains only the incidents which resulted in injuries or deaths.’


  • macky

    “and right now not in the mood for a Fred/Mackie catfight.”

    Me either, and I apologize for finding myself in one yesterday; I like to believe that we are all here to seek, and perhaps even cast, light on issues of interest us, however that sometimes involves the exchange of views & opinions, which sometimes can generate more heat than light; but be warned, because apparently pointing out that if you find that somebody has been unable to articulate his/her viewpoints well enough, so that these end up coming across as a bit irrational, and you commit the sin of pointing this out, then it can be actually be taken by the other party as the equivalent as saying rude things about their mothers !!

  • Fred

    “Me either,”

    Then you shouldn’t have gone out of your way to pick one.

    I tried to be lenient with you because I figured you were the sort of person who probably spent most of their school days with their head stuffed down a toilet and never figured out why. I should have told you right away when you were trying to bully me into raking through old threads that I just didn’t feel like wasting my time trying to educate pork.

    Articulate enough for you?

  • La Zona Norte Respetable


    Agreed. I was pointing out that there is a snowball’s chance in hell of Israel pulling out of the West Bank.

    Seems like Israel will have to learn the hard way: No justice, no peace.

  • Mary

    Not one bullet wound but four to the head, chest and leg. Brutal extrajudicial murder.

    Medics: Israeli army kills teen in Budrus clashes
    Published today (updated) 15/01/2013 14:12

    RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager on Tuesday during clashes in Budrus near Ramallah, medics said.

    Samir Ahmad Abdul-Rahim, 17, sustained four bullet wounds to his head, chest and leg and died shortly after arriving at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah.


  • Richard Armbach

    I used to hate weever fish.I mean REALLY hate. And with very good reason. I mean nothing and no one has ever been hated as much as I hated weever fish, the horrible little silver bastards.

    Then I realised that a weever fish is just a weever fish. It isn’t to be hated, just not trodden on.

    That was a tough one Greg I had to borrow my daughters calculator.

  • Habbabkuk

    Re my post of perhaps a day ago on the uses of irony when in discussion with Jews/Zionists playing the old “ant-semitism” card, I fogot to mention another harmless little rhetorical device which always gives me great satisfaction and perhaps – who knows? – might go some way to deflating another hasbara trick if enough people employed it.

    It is this:

    I’ve noticed that there is an increasing use of the appellation “child of holocaust survivors” (NB- “child of..”, not “holocaust survivor”); this is presumably used to confer some sort of moral authority, or status, on the person concerned. In reality, of course – WW2 did end in 1945 as we all know – the person graced with this status may well have been born in the 1950s, 1960s or even 1970s.

    So I – as the child of parents who were alive when WW2 took place and who stayed alive long enough thereafter to give rise to me – always, when the occasion is appropriate or necessary, introduce or otherwise characterize myself as the “child of Second World War survivors”.

    After all, why should I be any less a victim?

    Deflation is ther name of the game…

  • nevermind

    Try google lottery grant winners, Habbabkuk, and find out how many British children, now adults and OAP’s, of 1st. and 2nd. world war victims benefit from the poor, ever hopeful gamblers in this country, there are legions of children of world war survivors using this convenient cash alley to ‘remember’ and never forget the stupidities and lawlessness of war.

  • Fred

    “Oh dear, all this abuse, I’m actually beginning to feel HATED !!”

    Don’t be stupid, nobody would want to hate you, you are merely despised.

    We hated Hitler because we were afraid of him invading, we hated Stalin because we were afraid he’d drop a bomb on us, we hated Saddam because we were told he had WMD pointed at us, we hated Bin Laden because we were told he was behind 9/11.

    As Cyril Connolly said ““Hate is the consequence of fear; we fear something before we hate it”.

    You can sleep sound in the knowledge that nobody will ever be hating an insignificant little shit like you.

  • guano

    A search for Yomiriam took me to the website of the Briar Press Museum of letterpress technology in New York. Maybe some kind of reference to the antiquated loom of Sleeping Beauty. Very cultural and sentimental. I hope that wasn’t the same Yomiriam that’s just been riddled with comment holes for sticking her head above the parapet on anti-Semitism.

  • Macky

    “Don’t be stupid, nobody would want to hate you, you are merely despised.”

    Oh, thanks, I feel much better for that !

    BTW I thinks there are better Hate quotes then the Connolly one, but quotes are like statistics in that they can be used to support any viewpoint.

    Here’s a couple on Despising that you may like, (or maybe not !);

    “We often pretend to fear what we really despise, and more often despise what we really fear.”
    Charles Caleb Colton

    “One does not hate as long as one still despises, but only those whom one esteems equal or higher.”

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    “Yo, Ben. Been having a break from politics,”

    Yeah, I’ve resolved to quit smoking……and drinking……….and whatevs……..(Nevermore, quoth the Raven)

  • La Zona Norte Respetable


    – I’ve noticed that there is an increasing use of the appellation “child of holocaust survivors” (NB- “child of..”, not “holocaust survivor”); this is presumably used to confer some sort of moral authority, or status, on the person concerned. In reality, of course – WW2 did end in 1945 as we all know – the person graced with this status may well have been born in the 1950s, 1960s or even 1970s. –

    Thanks for raising this and keep up the good work. This is a blatant attempt to eternalise victimhood. It is pathetic but in the US it carries weight. You could be the dumbest loser around but the fact that your parents or your grandparents suffered Nazi persecution confers some kind of secular sainthood.

    But I must confess that I also found some of the prominent Jewish holocaust survivors unpalatable. Take for instance Tom Lantos, a former congressman from San Francisco. This man was a holocaust survivor and a holocaust denier. The holocaust he denied was the Armenian Holocaust. Why? Because for many years Turkey was a key ally of Israel so he saw as his duty to veto every attempt in the US congress to formally recognize the Armenian holocaust.

    There is more to say on this subject but let’s leave it there for now.

  • Macky

    This “child of holocaust survivors”, understands that it’s Victims rathers than Victimhood, that matters most;

    “Every single member of my family on both sides was exterminated. Both of my parents were in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. And it is precisely and exactly because of the lessons my parents taught me and my two siblings that I will not be silent when Israel commits its crimes against the Palestinians.”

    Norman Finkelstein

  • Habbabkuk

    @ Zona Norte : something I didn’t point out because I didn’t want to make my previous comment too long is the following : very often, in the expression “child of holocaust survivors”, the holocaust survivors in question are not people who were in the camps, or even necessarily persecuted, but simply people who were alive (or existed, if you will) during the historical period of the holocaust (and not even always in a country occupied or run by the Nazis. In other words, in those examples, it’s a purely chronological denomination, and that’s really rather cheeky IMHO!

  • Habbabkuk

    @ Macky and Fred : I love the definition game, but you’ve already done hate, so here’s one from G.E.Lessing on fear:

    “Die Furcht ist das auf uns selbst bezogene Mitleid”

  • Mary

    P 18

    The BBC have upheld the above complaint about their description of Al Naqba day last year.

    ‘The focus of the complaints – the BBC grouped together my complaint plus that of another person – was an introduction to a Radio 4 news report in May 2012 covering Nakba Day rallies in the West Bank. The announcer described Nakba Day as “the anniversary of Israel’s declaration of statehood, which resulted in thousands of Palestinians leaving their homes.”

    My original complaint pointed out that not only was “thousands” seriously downplaying the scale of the displacement, but that by concealing the coerced nature of the Palestinian exodus – and the fact they were all physically prevented from returning – the wording was “deeply offensive to those who lost everything as a result of ethnic cleansing.”’

  • La Zona Norte Respetable


    I have noticed a similar tendency with the word “hero”. Ever notice how everyone today who meets with mainstream media approval is a “hero” (with some notable exceptions, of course, like Palestinians who for decades have put with humiliation from Israel)? Children of holocaust survivors are a subset of this group. Ain’t we lucky to be living in the Time of the Hero!!!

  • La Zona Norte Respetable


    Yes. Finkelstein will never be referred to as a “child of holocaust survivors”. He falls into the category of “self-hating Jew”, “apologist for terrorism”, and “left-wing extremist”.

  • Macky

    “He falls into the category of “self-hating Jew”, “apologist for terrorism”, and “left-wing extremist”.”

    Yes, but smears only used by people with obvious projection disorders.

  • Fred

    ‘I love the definition game, but you’ve already done hate, so here’s one from G.E.Lessing on fear:

    “Die Furcht ist das auf uns selbst bezogene Mitleid”’

    I think Lessing was trying to explain a particular type of fear there, the irrational fear felt by an audience, the fear felt by someone watching a Hitchcock movie for example.

    I don’t believe he was talking about fear in general.

  • Habbabkuk

    @ Fred : yes, he came out with that as a dramaturge. But think about it – wouldn’t it do, to some extent at least, for fear more generally?

  • Habbabkuk

    @Macky (1.44pm) “Fear of ostracism can even Trolls tame” :

    Oh dear, I do hope I’m not going to disappoint you with my next comment!

  • Habbabkuk

    @ Mary (11.41am) : the link to the man’s directorships and the comment “So many company directorships”.

    He does hold a lots of directorships, but how is this relevant, generally or in particular, to the incident of the helicopter crashing into the crane?

    What exactly is your point?

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