Stephen Sizer – the Anglican Anti-Semitic Cleric
The former cleric Stephen Sizer spent a career attempting to strip Israel and the biblical destiny of the Jewish people from Christian belief.
In his book Zion’s Christian Soldiers, Sizer’s fevered anti-Semitism is on display as he attacks Christianity’s fundamental biblical belief that God blesses those that bless Israel and curses those that don’t.
He refers to Christian Zionists as “misguided” and blames them even as he is defrocked and banned from clerical duties by the church he was supposed to have loyally served.
Sizer was a leading activist in the infamous 2014 Bethlehem Christmas pantomime “Christ at the Checkpost” in which Jesus was portrayed not as a Jew but as a Palestinian messenger, a motif that was adopted by Mahmoud Abbas.
Rather than point out that Christians were being driven out of Bethlehem by the threats and strongarm tactics of Arafat’s henchmen who turned the town into a shelter for Palestinian terrorists, even desecrating the Church of the Nativity and holding Christian priests and nuns as hostages when Israeli security forces came to arrest them after they had carried out murderous raids against Jews in Kiryat Arba and in Jerusalem, activists like Sizer championed the Palestinian cause in a fraudulent display of lying imagery that used the Christian savior as his anti-Israel motif.
Under a caring Israeli administration, Bethlehem was a prosperous majority-Christian town and a magnet for tourism. Under the control of the Palestinian Authority, eagerly supported by Sizer and his replacement theologists, the Christian population of Bethlehem has been reduced to less than 15%.
This former parish priest was suspended from his ministry in 2018 but continued his hate campaign against Israel, the collective Jew, until the Anglican Church could no longer tolerate his ongoing anti-Semitism.
Stephen Sizer was brought before a Tribunal of the Anglican Church which heard eleven instances of antisemitism against him and, in four of the charges, found Sizer’s conduct was “unbecoming to the office and to the work of a clerk in Holy Orders.”
The accumulation of his crimes was brought to the attention of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Anglican Church on October 2018 by Marie van der Zyl, the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and was based on charges made against Sizer for his actions and words between 2005 and 2018.
In 2018, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church adopted the working definition of antisemitism that had been adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance which states that, ‘Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.’
However, the IHRA definition, which has become globally accepted certainly by Western democracies including that of the UK, goes further in explaining that “ antisemitism tends to weave together four interconnected claims, all of which should be vigorously resisted: (a) that there is something inherently wrong with Jews as a people; (b) that Jews always seek to control and influence others; (c) that because there is something inherently wrong with Jews, this influence is inevitably to the detriment of others; (d) that therefore those with authority have a duty to restrict as far as possible the scope for Jews to exercise any influence over others.’”
In other words, sly Jew haters try to hide their latent anti-Semitism in attacks against Israel, the collective Jew, accusing it of all sorts of perverted fantasies and denial as was exercised by Stephen Sizer in his revered role as a respected cleric of the Anglican Church which gave his false allegations gravitas and respectability.
But what of Israel? Is it not possible to criticize Israel without being called an antisemite? Of course, it is. People do it all the time when they criticize Israeli policies they disagree with, or the behavior of Israeli individuals or groups.
But it took Irwin Cotler, a renowned Professor of Human Rights Law and a Justice Minister in the Canadian Liberal Government from 2003 to 2006, to neatly defined the difference between classical antisemitism and the new antisemitism.
“Classical antisemitism is the discrimination against, or denial of, the right of individual Jews to live as equal members of a free society.
The new antisemitism involves the discrimination against, or denial of, the right of the Jewish people to live as an equal member of the family of nations.”
To treat Israel as the collective Jew among the nations has become a too easy target for antisemites, and it is a trap that respectable people like cleric Stephen Sizer fall into.
Criticism of the Israeli government can be perfectly legitimate, but not when Sizer claims that Israel was responsible for 9/11 as he did when posting a link on his Facebook page entitled, “9/11 Israel did it.”
It detailed his belief that Israel and American Jews were responsible for the atrocity that killed 3,000 people. Not Saudi Arabian terrorists. Israel. And Sizer taunted “Is this antisemitic? If so, no doubt I’ll be asked to remove it. It raises so many questions.”
These are the rantings of a deranged Jew hater, not the considered beliefs of a Christian cleric.
Rushing to the defense of Jeremy Corbyn, perhaps the most antisemitic of British political leaders, Sizer posted on his Facebook page that Corbyn was a victim of the hidden hands of Zionists.
Adding to his list of conspiracy theories he wrote, “You have to be as blind as a bat not to see their hands.”
The Tribunal found that Sizer had indeed provoked and offended the Jewish community in Britain – and elsewhere – and his behavior was unbecoming of an Anglican cleric by engaging in antisemitic activity. He has been banned from preaching until 2030.
Sizer not only perverted traditional Christian beliefs. He used the Cross as a bludgeon to beat the Jewish people and Israel.
International Public Diplomacy Director,
Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.