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)