Rev. Sizer, Please, Please Don’t Play The Victim

I suppose that I should be gratified that Rev. Sizer has linked to one of my previous posts, but I am not.

If you read the words of his post what you will see is obfuscation, rhetorical tricks and a desire to play the victim.

What he should have written was a simple apology for his linking, once more, to a racist website.

Rev. Sizer has made a habit of doing this: Palestine Telegraph: July 2011, Ugly Truth: 4 October 2011 Veterans Today: 1 March 2012, and more recently, WindowintoPalestine: 1 June 2012.

Now I can understand the desire to support the Palestinians, it is a most worthy cause, but it is not helped when its Western supporters link to anti-Jewish racism, for the fourth time.

It gives the impression that such Western supporters are more motivated by their animus towards Jews instead of a genuine concern for the welfare of Palestinians.

I am sure this is not the case with Rev. Sizer, however, his inability to distinguish between nonracist material and vile antisemitic garbage suggests that his judgement is faulty in these matters.

And, before he and his supporters drag out the most predictable, I should make it clear that I do not think that he is an antisemite, rather he strikes me as someone of poor judgement who swims in the effluent of modern “anti-Zionism” but can’t see an antisemitic turd when it steams towards him.

So please, Rev. Sizer, for the sake of your own conscience, make a habit of apologising when you are wrong, as in this case and please do not play the victim, it is unbecoming.

Rev. Sizer, Best Take Michelle Obama’s Advice

After reading one of his recent posts I thought this quote equally applied to Rev. Sizer:

“Barack and I have been in the public eye for many years now, and we’ve developed a thick skin along the way. When you’re out campaigning, there will always be criticism. I just take it in stride, and at the end of the day, I know that it comes with the territory.”

I had hoped not to have to return to this topic, but it seems that Rev. Sizer and his supporters are keen to humiliate the Council of Christians and Jews and make them apologise.

I have argued elsewhere that this is silly and counter-productive, but my impression is that Rev. Sizer and his fan club are not particularly good listeners or interested in the views of others.

Pity, the speed of his actions and those of his supporters tend to cast doubt on the sincerity of Rev. Sizers’ apology.

In his latest post, Rev. Sizer makes much of the fact that he removed the offending link to the Ugly Truth web site. However, Rev. Sizer only removed it after the racist nature of the site was pointed out to him, several times.

Astonishingly, before it was pointed out to him, Rev. Sizer didn’t investigate the antisemitic content of Ugly Truth as the CCJ points out:

“We are conscious that The Revd Stephen Sizer’s contributions have caused widespread disquiet and hurt in both communities and led to confusion and polarization of views. We have paid particular attention to a link posted by Mr Sizer on his Facebook page to ‘The Ugly Truth’, an antisemitic website.

We consider this to be wholly unacceptable.

We cannot accept it was an accident, because Mr Sizer was alerted to the antisemitic nature of the website in November and again in December, but only removed the link in January when contacted by the Jewish Chronicle.

[My emphasis.]

If, this unfortunate episode had been a one off, then Rev. Sizer would have had a stronger case, but he has made this same mistake at least three times, by my reckoning.

That is a lot for a highly intelligent man, an academic and community leader. Surprisingly, I can not find any apology from Rev. Sizer on his previous poor choice of material and certainly no embarrassment.

Still, as he reminds us about his “Jewish friends” I can’t help thinking that they might not have known of the extent of Rev. Sizer’s blunders?

Whilst I seriously doubt that Rev. Sizer or his supporters harbour any antisemitic feeling, there is not much evidence of them understanding the issues, or the need for a certain sensitivity.

It all speaks of a very poor sense of judgement in these matters.

Overall, what I see in these instances from Rev. Sizer and his supporters is a lack of insight, a desire to hit back and above all wounded pride.

It might be time, as Michelle Obama recommends, for Rev. Sizer to develop a thicker skin. Or for him not to link to racist material in the first place?

I Am Glad For Rev. Sizer.

Rev. Stephen Sizer has put out this statement:

“In response to the CCJ Statement, I welcome the news from Surrey police and CPS that, having “carried out a thorough and extensive review of the material in question” they have concluded that “no criminal offences have been committed. The matter has now been closed and no further action is being taken,” a conclusion which will come as no surprise to those who know and work with me.

My support for a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, based on international law and recognised borders, achieved by peaceful and democratic means, has unfortunately left me open to what can only be described as an unbalanced and targeted campaign from certain quarters, a situation which is deeply regrettable.

I care passionately about the safety of the Jewish people. I repudiate racism, anti-Semitism as well as Islamophobia. I would not have posted a link to a website I knew to be anti-Semitic. Having consulted a number of Jewish friends, I now keep a small list of websites to avoid in future. I will be more careful about the origin of material I post on my blog and Facebook, and welcome opportunities for discussion with members of the Jewish community to move forwards in a spirit of mutual respect. “

I am glad that Rev. Sizer has put out this statement.

I am glad that he says he’s going to be more careful in the future, and some might think it would be churlish to asked why he made those mistakes in the past, but let us look to the future.

I hope Rev. Sizer sets an example to others and makes sure not to link to racist or extremist material, directly or indirectly.

I have thought for many years that it is a great pity that the Palestinians’ cause is so often sullied by association with anti-Jewish racism. They deserve much better.

I should point out that criticising the Israeli government, in and of itself, is not racist, as long as dual standards are not applied, historical myths perpetuated or offensive imagery used.

The Israeli government should be open to criticism, as with every government, for their actions, however, it is, how you do it, that is the issue.

When Western supporters of the Palestinians’ cause associate with known racists or push their material they bring it into disrepute, as with Baroness Tonge and the conspiracy theorist, Ken O’Keefe.

Nor should we be naive enough to assume that anti-Jewish racists do not try to exploit grievances in the Middle East to foster hatred against Jews. They do, it is their agenda.

That is what Western supporters of the Palestinians’ cause need to engage with.

Some have belatedly seen the issue and try to repudiate it, which is to be commended, but as the PSC conference showed us there is still a problem.

Let us hope that Rev. Sizer, and like-minded individuals, will remember how racists will exploit any conflict with Israelis. That there is a serious need to become sensitive to anti-Jewish racism. To avoid any, however tenuous, connection to racists, extremists or their material. Finally, that ignorance is no excuse.

I welcome Rev. Sizer’s statement and hope others follow that example.

(H/T: Phil Groom)