1,000 signatures reached
To: Church of England
Support Revd. Dr. Stephen Sizer's against his unjust victimisation
We invite everyone to support Revd. Dr. Sizer by signing this open letter, either as an individual or representing an organisation:
Church of England's unjust decision to ban Reverend Dr Stephen Sizer
We the undersigned condemn the Church of England's unjust decision to ban Reverend Dr Stephen Sizer from ministry on the grounds of alleged antisemitism.
This punishment comes from the CofE Tribunal’s December judgement that he had engaged in ‘antisemitic activity’, even though it had identified no antisemitic statements of his own. The Tribunal accepted his accusers’ two main narratives. First, they claimed to speak for all British Jews as strongly identifying with Israel therefore offended by criticism. Second, they treated such subjective ‘offence’ as evidence of ‘antisemitic behaviour’, especially given the sensitivities of ‘the Jewish race’. Thus the CofE decision had racist assumptions, associating all Jews with Israel’s institutionally racist regime.
Rather than express justice, the Tribunal’s December decision – and now the punishment – capitulates to Zionist pressure and by extension forsakes the Church's mission to help oppressed and suffering people.
Reverend Dr Sizer has been a life-long campaigner for an end to the occupation of Palestinians, a constituency which includes many Christians. These are the same Christians who have faced the daily indignities, humiliation, and horrors of settler colonialism for the last 75 years. It will not have gone unnoticed that Christians in Palestine are today being subjected to increasing attacks on their persons and their places of worship by fanatical Zionist Jews seeking exclusivity of ownership of the land.
In the light of the enduring unjust Israeli occupation, we would expect the Church to support Palestinians at a time when most of the world's governments have abandoned them, rather than kowtow to Zionist machinations to reinforce the illegal occupation of the Holy Land via lobbying and weaponising antisemitism. Speaking truth to power is a role for which Jesus is admired and revered. It is a sad day when a Church that claims to follow his teachings allows itself to be bullied into siding with the aggressor.
There is no good that can come out of this decision. It sets a dangerous precedent which will no doubt have chilling repercussions on the ability of your ministers to criticise Zionism, Israel and their inherent injustices.
For the Convivencia Alliance
David Cannon, Chair, Jewish Network of Palestine
Massoud Shadjareh, Chair, Islamic Human Rights Commission
To read about the case and its background, see links below:
Sabeel-Kairos UK: https://www.sabeel-kairos.org.uk/statement-rev-dr-stephen-sizer/
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions: https://icahd.org/2022/05/17/statement-in-support-of-stephen-sizer/
Jewish Network for Palestine: https://jewishnetworkforpalestine.uk/Activities/styled/
Islamic Human Rights Commission: https://www.ihrc.org.uk/press-releases/tribunal-rejects-antisemitism-accusations-against-vicar/
Jewish Voice for Labour: https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/the-ten-year-vendetta-against-rev-stephen-sizer-updated/
Middle East Monitor: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20230201-church-of-england-bars-pro-palestine-priest-for-12-years-over-alleged-anti-semitism/
Revd. Dr. Stephen Sizer: https://www.stephensizer.com/2023/02/three-views-jewish-muslim-and-christian/
Why is this important?
The Church of England has subjected Revd. Dr. Stephen Sizer, Chair of the Convivencia Alliance to years of unjust tribunal hearings due to scurrilous accusations of antisemitism by the Board of Jewish Deputies. While no evidence was found to support the accusations, the tribunal used the unfair and misleading IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism to find him guilty of offending some Jews by criticizing Israel. This finding is itself offensive. The CofE then punished him by forbidding him to officiate for twelve years. This is unjust, unreasonable, and shameful.