Gay Times

Originally posted on Football: Wherever it may be:
Friday 2nd March 2007 ko 19.45 League 2 SHREWSBURY TOWN 0 Asomoah missed penalty 90 BRISTOL ROVERS 0 Hinton sent off (2nd booking) 90 Att 4,227 at Gay Meadow, Shrewsbury Entry £15…

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Christ Church Virginia Water’s support for Stephen Sizer

Christ Church Virginia Water (CCVW) stood by Stephen Sizer throughout his years of notoriety and provided significant support for his international activities outside the church. It has continued to do so since he stopped being its vicar.

Most of the following information is taken from the church’s annual accounts, which are publicly available on the Charity Commission website.

CCVW’s accounts for 2014 are available here. This extract from page 8 indicates that, during 2014, CCVW allocated £6,000 to support Stephen Sizer’s work overseas. (Click to enlarge.) [1]

CCVW’S accounts for 2015 are available here. During 2015, CCVW again allocated £6,000 to support Stephen Sizer’s work overseas. (Click to enlarge.) [2]

CCVW’s accounts for 2016 are available here. This extract from page 9 indicates that, during 2016, CCVW again allocated £6,000 to support Stephen Sizer’s work overseas. (Click to enlarge.) [3]

Dr Sizer retired from parish ministry in April 2017. He subsequently  launched a new charity, initially called Peacemaker Mediators. CCVW was the venue for the launch event. Peacemaker Mediators was subsequently renamed Peacemaker Trust.

CCVW’s accounts for 2017 are available here. These extracts, from pages 9 and  24 respectively, indicate that, during 2017, Dr Sizer himself was allocated £2,100 to support his work overseas, whilst a further £4,200 was granted to Peacemaker Mediators [4].

CCVW 2017 p 9

CCVW 2017 p 24

 

Since then, CCVW has continued to provide financial support to Rev Sizer’s new charity.

CCVW’s accounts for 2018 are available here. This extract from page 24 indicates that CCVW gave £6,600 to Peacemaker Mediators during 2018, and also that a member of CCVW’s PCC is one of the charity’s trustees. (Click to enlarge.) [5]

In March 2019, CCVW focused on Peacemaker Trust as its “Mission of the Month”. As well as receiving financial support, this means that Stephen Sizer’s charity is specifically represented by a member of CCVW’s “Mission Coordination Team” and is linked to one of the church’s “Home Groups” [6].

According to CCVW’s “Connection” magazine, Peacemaker Trust was again the church’s designated “Mission of the Month” for January 2020 [7].

 

References: 

[1] Christ Church Virginia Water, “Report and Accounts for the Year to 31 December 2014”,  page 8, available at http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends75/0001128275_AC_20141231_E_C.pdf,

[2] Christ Church Virginia Water, “Report and Accounts for the Year to 31 December 2015”, page 8, available at http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends75/0001128275_AC_20151231_E_C.pdf

[3] Christ Church Virginia Water, “Report and Accounts for the Year to 31 December 2016”, page 9, available at http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends75/0001128275_AC_20161231_E_C.pdf

[4] Christ Church Virginia Water, “Report and Accounts for the Year to 31 December 2017”, pages 9 and 24, available at http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends75/0001128275_AC_20171231_E_C.pdf

[5] Christ Church Virginia Water, “Report and Accounts for the Year to 31 December 2018”, page 24, available at http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends75/0001128275_AC_20181231_E_C.pdf

[6] Christ Church Virgina Water, “Mission Partners”, accessed July 24, 2020, http://www.cc-vw.org/index.php?zonename=missionpartners256; Peacemakers, “Mission of the Month”, March 25, 2019, https://peacemakers.ngo/2019/03/25/mission-of-the-month/

[7] Peacemakers, “Mission of the Month Christ Church, Virginia Water”, December 30, 2019,  https://peacemakers.ngo/2019/12/30/mission-of-the-month-at-christ-church-virginia-water/?fbclid=IwAR2fMJfCOnn9tlJLtsx4pwgV51VHOvWmnzDE6LG4X4qOkTFuGmvCmwEsbRA; and https://peacemakermediators.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/connection-january-2020-p6-71.pdf

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Stephen Sizer and the 9/11 libel – Part II

(For Part I, see here)

In a 2015 Facebook post, Stephen Sizer insinuated Israeli responsibility for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the USA , leading to a complaint against him by the Board of Deputies of British Jews [1]. His source was a conspiracy theory website called Wikispooks.

Why is this antisemitic?

First things first – it is obviously false. It’s a conspiracy theory. Fifteen of the sixteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Saudi Arabia is a state that is officially at war with Israel. The USA is Israel’s key ally (a point that Stephen Sizer himself emphasises repeatedly). Of course Israel was not complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

Rather than being truthful, it is a libel. Is it an anti-Israel libel or an antisemitic one (or both)? Well, throughout the ages, Jews have been accused of being behind everything bad in the world: the Black Death; the French Revolution; the American Revolution; the Russian Revolution; the Great Depression; World War One; World War Two; too much rain; too little rain; England losing on penalties; etc etc. If you were to accuse “the Jews” of being complicit in 9/11, it would undoubtedly be antisemitic. It does not become any less antisemitic if “the Jews” is replaced with “Israel”.

Which is why, unsurprisingly, you normally find this suggestion on racist websites which talk about “Jewish Criminal Power“.

Implications

When Stephen Sizer insinuated – for the second time – that Israel was complicit in 9/11, this was not “legitimate criticism of Israel”.

The insinuation was antisemitic.

References:

[1] Dearden, L, “Vicar investigated over Facebook post linking to ‘anti-Semitic’ article ‘9/11 Israel did it’”, The Independent, 30 January 2015, <https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/vicar-investigated-over-facebook-post-linking-to-anti-semitic-article-911-israel-did-it-10012794.html&gt; (accessed 17 June 2020)

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Stephen Sizer and the abuse of Holocaust memory Part II

(Part I is here)

Press TV is the official, Holocaust-denying propaganda channel of the Holocaust-denying Iranian regime. In an  interview on Press TV in November 2008, Stephen Sizer said,

“The Holocaust has been perpetuated over the last 40 or 50 years, it’s the Palestinians who are going through their Nakba now” [1].

(“Nakba” is the name the Palestinians give to the loss of their homeland during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Sizer elongates it to describe a much longer period of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians.)

In other words, Stephen Sizer directly compared Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, with the Nazi genocide of the Jews.

Isn’t he just expressing legitimate criticism of Israel?

No.

It should be pretty clear that comparing Israeli policies with the Holocaust goes way beyond simply “criticising Israel”. In case it isn’t clear, this is what the journalist Jonathan Freedland wrote about such comparisons in 2006 (emphasis added):

“First, they are hyperbolic: no matter how bad Israel is, it is not the Third Reich. Second, they seem designed to cancel out the world’s empathy for Jewish suffering in the 1930s and 1940s: under this logic, the Holocaust has now been ‘matched’ by Israeli misbehaviour, therefore the Jews have forfeited any claim they might once have had to special understanding. The world and the Jews are now ‘even’. Third, and worse, the Nazi-Zionist equation does not merely neutralise memories of the Holocaust – it puts Jews on the wrong side of them… Jews end up with the gravest hour in their history first taken from them – and then returned, with themselves recast as villains rather than victims. If anti-Zionists wonder why Jews find this antisemitic, perhaps they should imagine the black reaction if the civil rights movement – or any other vehicle of black liberation – was constantly equated with the white slave traders of old. It feels like a deliberate attempt to find a people’s rawest spot – and tear away at it.”

Implications

It would have been perfectly possible for Stephen Sizer to criticise Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians without using Holocaust comparisons. (In the same way as it is perfectly possible to criticise aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement, without comparing it to the slave trade.)

By making such a comparison, Sizer went far beyond simply making “legitimate criticisms of the Israeli government”.

The comparison was antisemitic.

References:

[1] The whole interview is available at: Alan Hart, 6 November 2008, Hart of the Matter #5: Reverend Dr. Stephen Robert Sizer, viewed 20 July 2020, <http://www.alanhart.net/hart-of-the-matter-5-reverend-dr-stephen-robert-sizer/>. The extract in question is at 17:40-18:00.

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Stephen Sizer conciliation agreement

This is the Conciliation Agreement reached between Stephen Sizer and the Board of Deputies of British Jews in October 2013.

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Stephen Sizer and Christianity Explored Ministries

This document, compiled by Rev Nick Howard, was sent to Christianity Explored Ministries in September 2014.

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Stephen Sizer and the repudiation of antisemitism

Set out below is page 261 of Stephen Sizer’s 2004 book, Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon? [1]

sizer repudiate 1

 

This is similar to what Stephen Sizer wrote near the end of his 2002 PhD thesis [2] which was conducted under the auspices of Middlesex University and Oak Hill Theological College:

 

sizer repudiate 2

These sources are significant, because they show that one of Stephen Sizer’s stated aims, was to repudiate and reject antisemitism.

Whether he achieved this aim – whether in his PhD thesis, his 2004 book, or elsewhere – is highly questionable.

What is not in doubt, however, is that he conducted doctoral-level research on the topic, for which he was awarded a PhD. It therefore follows logically that he knows what antisemitism is; indeed, that he has a considerably better knowledge of it, than the person on the street. And from that, in turn, it also follows logically that if any of his output has nonetheless been antisemitic, he does not have the excuse of ignorance.

References:

[1] Sizer, S, 2004, Christian Zionism. Road Map to Armageddon, Inter Varsity Press, London

[2] Sizer, S, 2002, The promised land: a critical investigation of Evangelical Christian Zionism in Britain and the United States of America since 1800 (PhD thesis, Middlesex University)

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Stephen Sizer: “The Israel lobby buys every single politician”

In June 2011, Stephen Sizer gave an interview on Malaysian TV. You can watch part of it below.

Sizer explains high levels of support for Israel in the US Congress by claiming that “They have bought every single one of those politicians”. By “they”, he means “the Israel lobby”; he says that US politicians “won’t dare” criticise Israel because “the Israel lobby will fund their competitors, their opponents, and they’ll be out of office”.

What’s the problem with that?

Firstly, it’s false. Here are just three examples of American politicians criticising Israel: Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden and Barack Obama. Indeed, a year before his interview in Malaysia, Sizer himself had highlighted Hilary Clinton criticising Israel twice in two weeks. It is simply not true that American politicians “won’t dare” criticise Israel.

Secondly, it mirrors the classic antisemitic myth that Jews control elected governments by means of their supposed financial power. The clearest example of this is the infamous forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of ZionThe fact that Sizer says “the Israel lobby” rather than “Jews” does not make his statement any less antisemitic.

Isn’t he just expressing legitimate criticism of Israel?

No. He is speaking about American politics, not Israel.

Implications

When Stephen Sizer claimed that “the Israel lobby” “buys every single American politician”, he was not “criticising Israel”.

The claim was antisemitic.

PS it wasn’t the first time Rev Sizer had made such a claim. The only difference is that, when he wrote the 13th paragraph of this 1996 piece in Evangelicals Now, he referred specifically to “the Jewish lobby”.

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Stephen Sizer, the Viva Palestina activist, multinational companies, and the “Zionist agenda”

In June 2011, on a trip to Malaysia, Stephen Sizer interviewed an activist in an organisation called “Viva Palestina Malaysia”.

You can listen to the whole interview below [1]:

At 0:55-1:40, the activist advocates a boycott of four multinational companies –  McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, L’Oreal and Nestle – on the basis that they “channel their profits to the Zionist agenda”. Sizer does not challenge this assertion. Indeed, at 1:30, he helps the activist find his words; and at 1:38 he appears reflexively to indicate his agreement (“Yah”).

What’s the problem with that? 

Firstly, it’s false. All four companies are public companies, which distribute their profits to shareholders in the form of dividends. They do not channel their profits to the “Zionist agenda” – whatever that is.

Secondly, it mirrors the classic antisemitic myth – typified in the infamous forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion – that Jews conspire in a secret global plan to control governments and businesses. If the activist had said that they channel their profits to the “Jewish agenda”, it would have been unmistakeably antisemitic. It is no less antisemitic for the fact that he says “Zionist agenda” instead.

Isn’t he just expressing legitimate criticism of the policies of the Israeli government?

No. In this section of the interview, he is not primarily criticising the Israeli government (legitimately or otherwise); he is criticising four multinational companies. And he is not criticising even them legitimately – his criticism is false.

Implications

When the activist suggested that these companies “channel their profits to the Zionist agenda”, he was not expressing legitimate criticism of the Israeli government. The suggestion was antisemitic.

It follows that when Stephen Sizer (a) helped the activist formulate his words (b) did not challenge him and then (c) posted the whole interview, unedited, on his Vimeo site (where it remains to this day), he was promoting and implicitly endorsing the antisemitic suggestion.

References: 

[1] Stephen Sizer, Vimeo, June 12, 2011, Syafig talks about Viva Palestina Malaysia, viewed 17 June 2020, < https://vimeo.com/24993637 >. Below is a screenshot from Vimeo, indicating when the video was originally uploaded.

Syafig

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Stephen Sizer: “Herod’s soldiers operating in Bethlehem today”

In March 2010, Stephen Sizer posted this gallery of photographs on flickr.com [1]:

As the wording at the bottom indicates, they are pictures of Israeli soldiers in the town of Beit Jala. This is a Palestinian town near Bethlehem in the West Bank, which has been under Israeli occupation since 1967. What is problematic is the title at the top: “Herod’s Soldier’s (sic) Operating in Bethlehem today”.

Why is this problematic?

As you will no doubt know, Herod was the Biblical king who, according to Matthew’s gospel, ordered the massacre of all the baby boys in and around Bethlehem, with the aim of eliminating the infant Jesus.

Sizer’s title gives the impression that these Israeli soldiers had the same aims.

Ever since Matthew wrote his gospel, antisemites have twisted his words into two linked, antisemitic libels: the libel that Jews are Christ-killers; and the libel that Jews murder children. In the Middle Ages, these libels were combined into the blood libel, which charged Jews with murdering Christian children and using their blood to make Passover bread. This led to trials and massacres of Jews. Sizer’s caption is therefore loaded with dark, antisemitic resonances.

Isn’t he just criticising Israel? 

No. He could have made the same point (about Israeli military activity in the occupied West Bank) without referring to Herod. As it happens, at some point over the last 10 years, and no doubt in response to criticism, Rev Sizer has changed the title to “Bibi’s soldiers operating in Bethlehem today” – Bibi being the nickname of the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. This is a non-antisemitic title: it would have been perfectly possible for him to use it first time round.

Implications

When Stephen Sizer titled this gallery of photographs, “Herod’s Soldier’s Operating in Bethlehem today”, he wasn’t simply expressing legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and military tactics.

The title was antisemitic.

References:

[1] Stephen Sizer, Flickr Account, March 14 2010, Herod’s Soldier’s [sic] operating in Bethlehem today, viewed on 27 September 2011 at < http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephensizer/sets/72157623675922174 >. Rev Sizer has since changed the title. This link to an individual photograph indicates the date it was taken.

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