Rev. Stephen Sizer is no novice in terms of racism.
Engage 2006: The Church is Moral; The People in the Shadows Are Not
My coverage, going back years.
The CST on Sizer.
Betsy Childs’ excellent The Master of Apologies.
Rev. Stephen Sizer is no novice in terms of racism.
Engage 2006: The Church is Moral; The People in the Shadows Are Not
My coverage, going back years.
The CST on Sizer.
Betsy Childs’ excellent The Master of Apologies.
A yearly Christian festival has come in for criticism to the extent that Greenbelt felt compelled to put out a Statement on Israel/Palestine programming by Greenbelt. Whilst there is the broader question of, whether or not Westerners should be interfering in the Middle East, there should be no circumscription on criticising the human-rights record of any governments. Any.
There is much to criticise in the Middle East and the Israeli government is not immune from it. The continued occupation in the West Bank. The treatment of immigrants to Israel and the rise of right-wing racist ideas. However, we must not forget that it has been Israelis at the very forefront of these issues and opposing their own government. That opposition takes various forms from the human-rights organisations, such as B’Tselem to Rabbis For Human Rights and beyond.
Where is it, Syria?
Except that Israel is not the only country in the Middle East.
Nor is it the only one connected to the Christian faith and therefore of interest to many Westerners or festival-goers at Greenbelt.
I could not help but notice a strange omission from the festival programme, any mention of Syria. Whilst it has slid down the news agenda, the 2½ year conflict involves many millions, with probably over 120,000 dead, millions of refugees flooding into neighbouring countries and it should deserve at least one word of commentary. I thought it was a peculiar oversight, but then, is it?
I wondered, could it be that those fixated with Israeli misdemeanours give the rulers of Syria an easy time? There is one whole article on the Greenbelt site relating to Syria, whereas the search result on “Israel” amount to 7 pages of searches, 63 entries.
The hypothesis, that strident and negative views on Israel would lead to a bias in reporting of the Middle East needed testing, the question was how?
Well, I supposed that choosing the most strident Christian critics of the Israelis I could think of might prove illuminating. Surely, I reasoned, they could not fail to indict Bashar Assad for instigating the conflict in Syria? Or using tank shells and aircraft on unarmed civilians?
All of this did not happen overnight. The conflict started in March 2011 when the Syrian government decided to shoot peaceful demonstrators. The Western media begun to document the abuse by the Assad regime, including disappearances and regular use of torture.
The headline news on Mali conveys very little. I think it is useful to try and understand the background to events.
Peter Beaumont’s contribution is much better:
“In Mali’s post-dictatorship history, Bamako’s response to these periodic outbreaks of rebellion has, depressingly, remained the same – a “militiatary” policy that meant that different groups armed to neutralise each other. That policy was pursued over a long period even as former peace agreements were largely allowed to slip on their commitments and old grievances allowed to fester.
Indeed, close analysts of developments in Mali have been concerned for almost a decade by the increasing dysfunctional nature of the country’s government, as well as by the re-emergence of Tuareg and Islamist armed factions in the north. “
The New Yorker is pessimistic and sees the next quagmire:
“The situation in Mali dates back to March of last year, when, in a surprise coup, low-ranking government soldiers overthrew the former Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure. Since then, the country has been broken in two, with the lawless north slipping into a hell of medieval-era punishments like flogging, stoning, and even, reportedly, amputations, all dictated by a severe form of Sharia law practiced by the Islamist radicals who now dominate the area. France, the United States, and other Western powers have been nervously watching this unfold, concerned that Mali would become the next major organizational hub and training ground for Al Qaeda. They hoped that the nations of West Africa would intervene on the Malian government’s behalf, but as those countries dragged their feet about doing so, and as the Islamist rebels continued moving steadily into the southern part of Mali, it began to seem that if someone did not take action to halt their advance, it would be too late to stop them. “
Africa is A Country has a good backgrounder, France in Mali: the End of the Fairytale.
Scott Edwards at Amnesty International USA provides a who’s who, which is very handy.
CNN reports on the growing humanitarian crisis in Mali.
I had always appreciated that Ronald Reagan was intellectually decrepit and only capable of repartee when it had been written for him, but I had not realised he could not process information in a written form, as most presidents do.
Apparently, the CIA provided him with simplistic reports and analysis in the form of films:
“That Stepehn is not an anti-semite and has not knowingly endorsed anti-semitism, I have no doubt. But what worries me is the growing bravura with which all critics of Israel or supporters of the Palestinians are charged with the – rightfully – damning slur of anti-semitism.”
Leaving aside the poor spelling and even weaker reasoning within Murray’s post, I imagine he would have had a stronger case if the comments box had not been littered with obvious antisemitism.
I will bet that neither Rev. Sizer nor Craig Murray would be able to adequately explain why that occurred, but this is a very small sample:
[Apologies to readers, as I have left in the links to neo-Nazi and racist web sites, as a public record. It indicates the type of material that is considered fit and proper reading amongst some of Rev. Sizer’s supporters.]
“Cryptonym 13 Jan, 2013 – 12:36 am
I later sampled Behind Communism by Frank L. Britton**, available on hundreds of other websites too, it tries to tell the story of pre, during and post-revolutionary Russian history, not found hardly anywhere else, and can hardly do so without mention of its Jewish population and their huge role, it has a tellingly critical tinge that intrudes on the story…”
It isn’t an impossibility to be anti-jewish with perfect ethical and moral justification, nothing is above criticism, it like all religions simply being a set of madcap ideas, constituting a bogus identity, rammed into impressionable minds and causing permanent damage. It seems any subject matter which mentions the chosen ones, not closed off only for their exclusive consumption, and which isn’t quite the prescribed Hollywood gloss revisionist whitewash version of events -is proscribed reading nowadays. “
[** See below for details on Frank L. Britton.]
Many of Murray’s readers seem to relish the opportunity to digest more antisemitic and neo-Nazi material.
“A Node 13 Jan, 2013 – 1:37 am
I’m with Cryptonym on this one. Thanks BoD and Kempe for the tip-off about this useful resource.
Sure there’s some stuff there that’s a bit rabid for my taste, but there is much that seems reasonable comment.
It’s absolutely fascinating and resonates with a lot of my findings elsewhere.
Really, thank you Bod, and particularly you, Kempe, for providing the link.”
“Brendan 13 Jan, 2013 – 1:47 am
Posting a link is now an offence? Blimey.
Smell them apples then.
Note: I do not deny the holocaust.
“Zona Norte 14 Jan, 2013 – 2:19 am
An anti-semite is someone who hates someone of semitic origin simply because that person is semitic.
I argue, therefore, that it is not anti-semitic:
To deny the Jewish holocaust.
To deny the uniqueness of the Jewish holocaust.
To compare Jewish suffering with that of other peoples.
To point out that Jews figured prominently in the Bolshevik Revolution.
To claim that AIPAC calls the shots in the US’ Middle East foreign policy.
To opposed the existence of the State of Israel.
Such statements or claims may be controversial or dead wrong and could be motivated by anti-semitism but of themselves are not anti-semitic. Refusing a Jew (or Arab) a job because of their race is anti-semitism. Jailing or attacking a Jew or Arab because of their race is anti-semitism. Prejudicial behaviour is the key to anti-semitism. “
“Mary 15 Jan, 2013 – 12:07 pm
Not (fully) reported in the Zionist-controlled corporate media.
[Explanatory note on reference above. Lorne Bair Rare Books notes on Frank L. Britton’s publication, American Nationalist “was the racist and anti-Semitic house organ of Frank L. Britton, a California anti-Communist crusader who was one of the first to detect the presence anti-American influences in Hollywood. Content of the current issues is about equally divided between Jew-baiting and exposure of the plot to “mongrelize” the United States through interracial marriage (also, not surprisingly, a Jewish plot).” ]
I suspect had Frank L. Britton been alive today he’d be commenting on Craig Murray’s site to widespread approval and raising cash for Rev. Sizer’s defence.
The complaint against Rev. Sizer is here, as a PDF, and fairly damning it is too.
Update 1: Rev. Sizer hasn’t been slow garnering support enlisting his PhD supervisor, Dr Martin Davies.
Ever shy and retiring Rev. Sizer has published them on his website.
They say, essentially, ‘he’s a jolly good fellow, not a racist, but a fighter for human rights’.
This is an extract from Rev. Dr. Don Wagner of Chicago:
“I have known and worked with Stephen for nearly 15 years and have the utmost respect for his writing, pastoral ministry, and his speaking around the globe on behalf of the victims of persecution and human rights violations. “
I suppose, in part, that might be true, however, Rev. Sizer silent criticism of the Assad regime is noticeable.
You might, not unreasonably, think that in 21 months of slaughter in Syria that Rev. Sizer could have made a critical comment of the Syrian government. After all, he’s immensely capable of criticising Israelis, but suddenly acquires writers’ block when it comes to Assad and Syria.
It is a symptom which seems to inflict many Western “pro-Palestinian” supporters, capable of criticising Israelis at the drop of a hat, yet barely able to muster any criticism whilst Assad is slaughtering civilians.
Just to be clear, I am not accusing Rev. Sizer of hypocrisy, racism or anything else. Merely observing that in 21 months he might have at least commented once on the hundreds of Palestinians killed in Syria.
Rev. Sizer has written on Syria, but I can’t find any criticism of Assad. In fact, the opposite when he uses a proxy to say in June 2012:
“Revd Awad insists Qatar and Saudi Arabia along with the US are funding mercenaries from Libya and Iraq to attack civilians in Syria and that the army are not responsible. He is convinced the President enjoys the support of at least 75% of Syrians. He insists none of Syria’s diplomats around the world has defected to the opposition. He is confident that the Kofi Annan report will exonerate the Syrian government and that the external forces seeking to destabilise Syria will not succeed. “
It drips of paranoia and defensiveness, but later on of that month, June 2012 invokes Robert Fisk to argue Syria: Its all about oil.
For want of his own opinions Rev. Sizer employs Elizabeth Kendal’s Syria: The Lies Being Told.
“For more on the Houla massacre, now exposed as a false flag operation wherein Free Syrian Army forces disguised as pro-Assad ‘thugs’ massacred unsympathetic mostly non-Sunni families and blamed the regime…”
In August 2012, Rev. Sizer utilises the words of others and latterly employing a questionable photograph to hint at something else:
“The first reaction of President Bashar al-Assad was to initially respond with hints of reform. But soon he launched violent crackdowns that could have dispensed with the opposition if not for outside support. “
So what we see is conscious effort to blame everyone else, but the repressive Syrian government. The idea that people could rise up against a dictatorship, of their own free will, after being shot at, murdered and tortured seems to have escaped Rev. Sizer and these various proxies.
Despite 21 months of conflict Rev. Sizer can’t say a single word against Assad.
In short, Rev. Sizer is proclaimed as “speaking around the globe on behalf of the victims of persecution and human rights violations” yet I have not read one word from Rev. Sizer critical of Assad on the hundreds of Palestinians killed, the 40,000+ Syrians dead, hundreds of thousands injured and millions displaced within the country.
A curious omission?
Update 1: Whenever I post on Rev. Sizer’s antics the blog gets a lot of spam, incoherent or abusive comments. I would remind potential commentors to read, disgest and understand the Comments Policy.
Update 2: You might almost say “the world goes to hell in a handbasket whilst Rev. Sizer has other preoccupations”. Despite the mounting death toll in Syria, Rev. Sizer’s main concern is, somewhat predictably, Rev. Sizer.
More recently he has cajoled some friendly clergy into supporting him, Bethlehem Bible College, Canon Dr Mike Butterworth, Friends of Sabeel, Revd. Phil Hill, Manfred W. Kohl, Professor Scott Elias, Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church USA and Bishop Riah Abo El-Assal.
The excuse “some of his best friends are…” is threadbare by use, but I am sure these theologians will be able to explain why Rev. Sizer continually, regularly and mistakenly posted links to vile, hardcore, antisemitic filth.
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.
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.
Years back, I was told that men of the cloth knew the difference between right and wrong.
And when you have done something wrong that you should apologise.
Sadly, Reverent Stephen Sizer did not learn that lesson.
It would be nice, if Rev. Sizer had the decency and depth of character to apologise for posting yet another link to a racist website.
I don’t expect that to happen.
Because, like modern politicians, many members of the clergy don’t seem to think they can do any wrong or see the need to show a degree of contrition when caught.
However, it would be far better if Rev. Sizer admitted he can’t tell the difference between racist and nonracist material.
He should openly apologise, instead of scurrying around and trying to delete the evidence of his misdemeanour.
It is not as if Rev. Sizer is shy or without the ability to argue his points, his blog has a constant stream of negative material on an almost daily basis.
Perhaps he should dedicate a blog post or two on “Why I, Rev. Sizer, should avoid racist web sites and their material”.
But that would presuppose that he knows the difference between right and wrong? Chance would be a fine thing!
Update 1: Interestingly, it appears that Rev. Sizer has pondered this point from a theological angle, How to do Right When You’ve Been Done Wrong (Psalm 26).
I do, however, wish he’d make the next step in the real world and apologise for his own mistake.
[Apologies, by necessity this post has links to racist web sites, as a public record. Sorry.]
Rev. Stephen Sizer has an unfortunate blindness when it comes to racism, or more specifically racism towards Jews.
Yet, like an habitual criminal, he returns to the scene of his crimes, or in Rev. Sizer’s case another racist web site, Window Into Palestine blog.
To anyone with anti-racist sensitivities the title of the piece, The BBC caught out with its Zionist run propaganda machine, would have rung alarm bells, but not for Rev. Sizer.
Had this exceedingly well-educated man of the cloth taken a moment or 2 to study the contents of the Window Into Palestine blog he would have surely seen conspiracy theories (AIPAC and the Zionist Hex on America) and downright claptrap (Jews tried to kill President Truman).
But leaving aside the wierd material which protrudes everywhere from that blog, Rev. Sizer could have browsed the author of the piece, Peter Eyre, and found one of his preoccupations was:
“I also believe that world politics are controlled by Wall Street and London Bankers with Christian and Jewish Zionist at its heart.”
Or searched Peter Eyre’s Space to find that the author believes that the 9/11 and 7/7 atrocities were “false flag operations” and a lot more nonsense besides.
Eyre’s WordPress creation is just as strange and disturbing.
The question is, why are intelligent people like Rev. Sizer drawn to this racist and twisted nonsense?
Update 1: The link seems to have gone dead but fortunately I kept a copy and will upload it shortly.
Update 2: I would hate Rev. Sizer’s supporters to deny that it happened! As Google has cached it as well, but in the first link Rev. Sizer uses http://www.windowintopalestine.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/bbc-caught-out-with-its-zionist-run.html
Update 3: Thanks to the well known antifascist, Luther Blissetts.
He points out that Peter Eyre rants on about the New World Order nonsense as well.
This is but one example of Eyre’s thinking, from the Islam Times:
“What you have just read is also happening in this country on a different scale. We have both political and financial spheres that are totally funded and controlled by Zionist who promote fraud and corruption as a norm.
Before continuing I just want to divert from this financial topic and show just how deeply embedded the entire Zionist run New World Order is in this country. It dictates and controls our politicians and encourages a continuous war against a non existent enemy that they call Al Qaeda or as George Bush put it “A war on Terror” or a war against “The Axis of Evil.”
This aspect is so important in the state of our economy for many reasons:
· It drains vast sums of “Tax Payers Money” and converts that into “Private Sector Arms Sales”
· It allows the New World Order to carry out their “Geo Political Plans.”
· It rockets the price of a barrel of oil to unbelievable levels.
· It acts as an investment for the “Pharmaceutical Industry”
Knowing now that the entire situation in this country is the brainchild of the Zionist NWO it is rather difficult to rectify this out of control movement… “
So what we see with Eyre is essentially an updated version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
This is not the type of author or material that a serious antiracist, as Rev. Sizer suggests he is, should be reading, absorbing and regurgitating as if it is the unvarnished truth.
Update 4: Anyone in doubt about Eyre’s views should watch his performance on the awful RT [from 00:19 onwards]:
[00:19] “…this was no accident, it was a very planned exercise by the New World Order…”
[05:15]”…remember they can take out any country, financially or militarily, that they want to take to take out, this is a master plan of, what I call, the New World Order…”
Update 5: Eyre also believes that 9/11 was the Greatest Illusion Ever Performed. Yuck.
Update 6: I had forgotten that James Mendelsohn had offered Rev. Sizer some sage advice over three years ago, but it went unheeded, If I was Stephen Sizer, Christian Antizionist – James Mendelsohn.
“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 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.
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. “
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?
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.
That is what Western supporters of the Palestinians’ cause need to engage with.
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)
Time away from the media, blogosphere and PCs often results in a shock when you have to digest what has happened and what is happening around the world.
I am catching up and in the process looking at Rupert Murdoch’s ugly mug plastered across most news bulletins.
His recent second day at the Leveson Inquiry was amusing for his bumbling, blame shifting and barely convincing mea culpa.
Reading material for Rupert Murdoch.
Racism in Northern Ireland.
Anti-Fascists Online has details of another racist crank who wants to attack Muslims.
According to Hope NOT Hate the EDL leader, Stephen Lennon, is joining up with another bunch of neo-fascists in the British Freedom Party. The BFP is made up of ex-BNP misfits and assorted racist flakes.
Across the pond, 200 threatening and racist phone calls.
In oil news, Turkey is searching for it.
Martin Bright in JC probes an area not often covered, British PoWs in Auschwitz.
The BNP Organiser & The War Criminal.
Racism in Hockey, North America still has many problems.
Finally, in Syria, the ceasefire is not working.