This posting has these items:
1) Huffington Post: Vicar Stephen Sizer Banned From Social Media After Israel 9/11 Conspiracy Post, the story;
2) Diocese of Guildford: Statement on the Revd Stephen Sizer by the Bishop of Guildford;
3) Diocese of Guildford: Letter from Rev. Sizer to the Bishop of Guildford, a very abject apology;
4) Church Times: Not anti-Semitic, just stupid’: Stephen Sizer ordered offline to save his job;
5) BoD: Board welcomes Church’s swift action over Sizer, a Jonathan Arkush triumph;
6) Notes and links on 9/11 conspiracy theories (most of which involve Israel /Mossad);
By Jessica Elgot Huffington Post UK |
February 09, 2015
The Church of England has banned one of its vicars from all social media and taking part in any anti-Israel activities after he appeared to question whether Mossad had a role in the 9/11 attacks.
Reverend Stephen Sizer of Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey, posted an article entitled “9/11 Israel did it” on his Facebook page, where he has almost 2,500 friends and followers. He captioned the piece: “Is this anti-Semitic? It raises so many questions.”
The Church promised to investigate the posting, which happened the week of Holocaust Memorial Day.
Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, said the Church took the complaints “extremely seriously” and that he did not consider Sizer to be antisemitic, but a man of “appallingly poor judgment”.
“By associating with or promoting subject matter, which is either ambiguous in its motivation, or (worse still) openly racist, he has crossed a serious line. I regard these actions as indefensible.”
Sizer has apologised and recognises the “gross insensitivity of their timing just prior to Holocaust Memorial Day”.
But Watson said that Sizer’s “strong but increasingly undisciplined commitment to an anti-Zionist agenda has become a liability to his own ministry and that of the wider church”.
“Many who more moderately support the Palestinian cause, and share his critique of a particular brand of Christian fundamentalism, themselves find Stephen’s actions to be increasingly unhelpful and counter-productive, a fact he himself now recognises,” he continued. “It is therefore my decision that Stephen’s work in this area is no longer compatible with his ministry as a parish priest.”
Sizer has committed not to write or speak “on any theme that relates, either directly or indirectly, to the current situation in the Middle East or to its historical backdrop”.
In addition, he “promised to refrain, with no exceptions, from attendance at or participation in any conferences which promote or are linked to this agenda; from all writing, tweeting, blogging, emailing, preaching and teaching on these themes, whether formally or informally – a prohibition which of course includes posting links to other sites; and from all background work in this area which may resource others to act as spokespeople in Stephen’s stead.”
Sizer has claimed he will not return to social media for at least the next six months. The promise was made on the undertaking that Sizer would immediately resign were he to break the pledge, Watson said.
The controversial vicar has a long history of provocative Facebook posts and run-ins with the Jewish community in the UK, even holding a mediation meeting with the Board of Deputies in 2013, aimed at healing relations.
Last year, Sizer addressed a conference in the Iranian capital Tehran, which discussed the “influence of the Zionist lobby”, where conference panel sessions included “9/11 and the Holocaust as pro-Zionist ‘Public Myths’” and “Mossad’s Role in the 9/11 Coup d’Etat” and several prominent Holocaust deniers were in attendance.
Sizer was also disciplined for linking to an antisemitic website called ‘The Ugly Truth’ where an article declares; “God’s people are all those who do His will, who are righteous, who are compassionate and who do not submit themselves to the false gods of voracity, vengeance, vulgarity and viciousness, which pretty much leaves the Jews out.”
Watson said he was “hugely sorry for the hurt which has been caused to members of the Jewish Community, and I hope and pray that the storms of the past two weeks will ultimately serve to deepen and strengthen our relationship, one with another.”
February 09, 2015
In a Press Conference in Guildford on Monday morning, The Bishop of Guildford, the Right Revd Andrew Watson said:
The Diocese of Guildford has taken extremely seriously the reports and complaints regarding Stephen Sizer over the past two weeks. Concerns surrounding Stephen were raised both in response to allegedly offensive materials linked from his Facebook account, and to comments he made to the Jewish News and the Daily Telegraph thereafter.
Commenting on this matter, the Council of Christians and Jews has helpfully highlighted that:
It is perfectly possible to criticize Israeli policies without such criticism being antisemitic, and Christians and others should feel free to do so. However, such legitimate criticism must not be used as a cloak for antisemitism, nor can antisemitism itself ever be disguised as mere political comment.
(see CCJ website)
Having now met Stephen, in my brand new role as Bishop of Guildford, I do not believe that his motives are anti-Semitic; but I have concluded that, at the very least, he has demonstrated appallingly poor judgment in the material he has chosen to disseminate, particularly via social media, some of which is clearly antisemitic.
By associating with or promoting subject matter, which is either ambiguous in its motivation, or (worse still) openly racist, he has crossed a serious line. I regard these actions as indefensible.
I have welcomed Stephen’s apology, his recognition of the deep hurt caused by his actions, his acknowledgement of the gross insensitivity of their timing just prior to Holocaust Memorial Day, and his retraction of the ridiculous suggestion that Israel may have been complicit in the events of 9/11. I have also recognized that much of Stephen’s ministry in other areas and at other times has been good, wise and wholesome.
Having consulted closely with my colleagues here in the Diocese, though, it is my view that Stephen’s strong but increasingly undisciplined commitment to an anti-Zionist agenda has become a liability to his own ministry and that of the wider church. Many who more moderately support the Palestinian cause, and share his critique of a particular brand of Christian fundamentalism, themselves find Stephen’s actions to be increasingly unhelpful and counter-productive, a fact he himself now recognizes.
It is therefore my decision that Stephen’s work in this area is no longer compatible with his ministry as a parish priest.
In order for Stephen to remain in parish ministry, I have therefore asked for – and received from him – a solemn undertaking, in writing, that he is to refrain entirely from writing or speaking on any theme that relates, either directly or indirectly, to the current situation in the Middle East or to its historical backdrop.”
(see below for Stephen Sizer’s letter)
He has promised to refrain, with no exceptions, from attendance at or participation in any conferences which promote or are linked to this agenda; from all writing, tweeting, blogging, emailing, preaching and teaching on these themes, whether formally or informally – a prohibition which of course includes posting links to other sites; and from all background work in this area which may resource others to act as spokespeople in Stephen’s stead.
Should Stephen be deemed by the Diocese to have broken this agreement, in letter or in spirit, he has pledged to offer me his immediate resignation, which I will duly accept. He has also agreed to desist from the use of social media entirely for the next six months, after which he and I will review that prohibition.
It is fair to say that Stephen seems relieved to be working within this clear new framework, and would now like to redirect his energies into his work as a parish priest.
The Diocese of Guildford has been in contact with the Board of Deputies of British Jews throughout this matter. I have made them aware of Stephen’s undertaking, and am grateful for the positive and constructive nature of our conversations.
I would also like to thank all those who have taken the time to contact me and my colleagues in the aftermath of these events, and for everything we have learnt from your various perspectives.
Most importantly of all, I am hugely sorry for the hurt which has been caused to members of the Jewish Community, and I hope and pray that the storms of the past two weeks will ultimately serve to deepen and strengthen our relationship, one with another. This is a time when I would urge all Christian people to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish brothers and sisters in countering the alarming rise of antisemitic incidents being reported, not least here in the UK. This is also a time for people of faith, Jews, Christians, Muslims and others, to work together in that open, robust partnership that will help to promote peace and justice in our communities, our nation and the wider world.
February 4th, 2015
Dear Bishop Andrew,
As a minister of the gospel it is not my role to create controversy but to seek to
maintain unity between the faith communities. I therefore very much regret the
distress I have caused to the Jewish community, to my church and to you by my
actions, for which I take full responsibility.
Following the events of the past week, and my meetings with you and the
Archdeacon, I would like to give you and the PCC of Christ Church, Virginia Water
a solemn undertaking to refrain from writing or speaking on any theme that
relates, directly or indirectly, to the current situation in the Middle East or to its historical backdrop. This prohibition will include:
– Attendance at or participation in any conferences that promote or are
linked to these themes.
– All writing, tweeting, blogging, emailing, preaching and teaching on these
themes, whether formally or informally.
– All background work on these themes which will resource others to act as
spokespeople in my stead.
I am grateful for your forbearance in allowing me to continue my work within
the parish. I agree that any ministry outside the parish should be subject to
consultation with the Archdeacon and the churchwardens. I promise that I will
stay within both the letter and the spirit of this undertaking, and – should I break it at any point while serving in any post in the diocese – will offer you my
I understand that this undertaking will need to be made public, and am content
that it should be so.
With all good wishes, and the sincerest apologies,
The Revd Dr Stephen Sizer
By Tim Wyatt, Church Times
February 09, 2015
[This is the 2nd half of the article as the first half consists of information and quotes which appear in the above posts.]
Interviewed on Monday, Bishop Watson said the diocese had considered proceeding against Dr Sizer under the Clergy Discipline Measure. They chose an informal agreement because of the need for a quick solution.
Bishop Watson said it was preferable, “particularly with anti-Semitic attacks on the rise in the UK”, to find a resolution which would satisfy the “natural outcry from the Jewish community” without having to begin legal proceedings, which would have been long, given that Dr Sizer has the freehold of his benefice.
The agreement has real “teeth” in it, Bishop Watson said, and the publicity surrounding it would ensure that Dr Sizer kept his word.
“I think he was very pleased with the suggestion it was either his parish ministry or his pro-Palestine [activism],” Bishop Watson said. “He could have stepped down from being a parish priest, but he was very clear he wanted to continue his ministry.
Posted on Stephen Sizer’s Facebook page by Tapash Abu Shaim.
“He is certainly hugely remorseful, and embarrassed and ashamed by it. He has been shocked by his own stupidity.”
Dr Sizer has been in trouble in the past. In 2013, the Board of Deputies of British Jews made a formal complaint against him, accusing him of linking to anti-Semitic websites (News, 25 October 2013). The complaint was resolved through conciliation, part of which involved Dr Sizer committing to having three people monitor his online activity and any websites he links to.
The previous year he was investigated by Surrey Police after posting allegedly anti-Semitic content online. However, the Crown Prosecution Service decided he had not committed any criminal offence (News, 4 May 2012).
Bishop Watson also said in his statement that he was “hugely sorry” for the hurt caused to the Jewish community by Dr Sizer’s actions. “This is a time when I would urge all Christian people to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish brothers and sisters in countering the alarming rise of anti-Semitic incidents being reported,” he said.
The Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) said in a statement that it welcomed Bishop Watson’s decision as Dr Sizer’s activities had been a “source of grave concern”.
“We are grateful for the seriousness and clarity with which the diocese of Guildford has addressed this case, since this sends a clear message that Christians have a duty to identify and challenge anti-Semitism in all its forms,” said the CCJ’s director, Jane Clements.
Board of Deputies
February 09, 2015
Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, has welcomed the actions of the Diocese of Guildford following a Facebook posting by Rev Stephen Sizer linking Israel and the Jews to the 9/11 attacks, which was revealed in a Jewish News report.
The Diocese has banned Rev Sizer from using any social media for six months and Rev Sizer has himself pledged not to write tweet or blog about the Middle East again.
Mr Arkush said: “The Board referred these matters regarding Rev Sizer to the Diocese of Guildford who have acted swiftly to resolve them. The Board has expressed its full acknowledgment of the undertakings asked of Rev Sizer and their implications and we are grateful that the Church shared our deep concern that Rev Sizer had indeed crossed a line in the offensive materials he was posting and linking to online. The Board of Deputies now hopes that Rev Sizer’s unbecoming and inappropriate conduct has now been brought to a close. The Board together with the Diocese of Guildford and the Church of England strongly believe that good community relations are based on mutual respect and trust, which we now hope can be restored after this very unhappy episode.”
Notes and links
9/11 conspiracy theories
Below is the sort of anti-Israel conspiracy theory about 9/11 that is circulating on the internet. There are so many conspiracy theories about this event that Wikipedia has more than one page dedicated to recording them – a perverse victory for the reputation of Mossad as a super-agency. This one is particularly absurd as it is known that 15 of the 19 men flying planes were from Saudi Arabia and all were in Al Qaeda. They had their own reasons for wanting to create a ‘spectacular’, a symbolic blow against the USA for interfering in their countries (which also included Lebanon and Egypt). They would have had no idea that the twin towers would collapse as New York City building regulations stipulate skyscrapers must be able to withstand being accidentally struck by a plane.
When an event occurs that that fundamentally changes the dynamics of global geopolitics, there is one question above all others whose answer will most assuredly point to its perpetrators. That question is “Cui bono?” If those so indicted are in addition found to have had both motive and means then, as they say in the US, it’s pretty much a ‘slam-dunk’.
And so it is with the events of 9/11.
Discounting the ‘Official narrative’ as the absurdity it so clearly is, there are just two organisations on the entire planet with the expertise, assets, access and political protection necessary to have both executed 9/11 and effected its cover-up to date (ie the means). Both are Intelligence Agencies – the CIA and Israel’s Mossad whose motives were arguably the most compelling. Those motives dovetailed perfectly with the Neocon PNAC agenda, with it’s explicitly stated need for “…a catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor”  in order to mobilise US public opinion for already planned wars, the effects of which would be to destroy Israel’s enemies.
This article marshals evidence for the proposition that “Israel did it”……