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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