Sizer: I am ready to meet the Board of Deputies any time

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

A DECISION on whether or not to charge a Church of Eng­land vicar with in­cite­ment to racial ha­tred is ex­pected to be made be­fore the end of the month, Sur­rey po­lice have told the JC.

Rev­erend Stephen Sizer posted a link from a web­site which sup­ports Holo­caust de­nial and warns of a Zion­ist con­spir­acy con­trol­ling the world.

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case af­ter a com­plaint was made last month by the Coun­cil of Chris­tians and Jews.

The CCJ also com­plained to the Bishop of Guild­ford, who sup­ported Rev Sizer fol­low­ing calls for him to be sus­pended for link­ing to the site.

Rev Sizer used his Face­book pro­file to high­light a piece on US web­site The Ugly Truth, which claims to high­light “Zion­ism, Jewish ex­trem­ism and a f e w ot her nasty items mak­ing our world un­in­habita b l e t o d a y ” . He re­moved the link af­ter JC in­quiries in Jan­uary.

A po­lice spokesman said de­tec­tives had re­viewed the ma­te­rial and were li­ais­ing with the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice to es­tab­lish whether crim­i­nal of­fences had been com­mit­ted.

This week, Rev Sizer said he could not com­ment on the case as the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion was on­go­ing. But he said he re­mained a sup­porter of the CCJ and would be will­ing to meet its mem­bers, or the Board of Deputies, to dis­cuss the is­sue.

Ten sup­port­ers of Rev Sizer have writ­ten to Bishop of Guild­ford, the Right Rev­erend Christopher Hill, pro­claim­ing his in­no­cence.

Is­ling­ton North MP Jeremy Cor­byn, a pa­tron of the Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Cam­paign, claimed the use of the link had been “a tech­ni­cal over­sight”.

He added: “The in­ter­net is a complicated piece of tech­nol­ogy and with the best will in the world, im­per­fect links are made.”

Mr Cor­byn wrote that Rev Sizer “seems to have come un­der at­tack by cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als in­tent on dis­cred­it­ing the ex­cel­lent work that Stephen does in high­light­ing the in­jus­tices of the Pales­tinian Is­raeli sit­u­a­tion”.

He claimed the crit­i­cism was “part of a wider pat­tern of de­mon­is­ing those who dare to stand up and speak out against Zion­ism”.

Rabbi Pro­fes­sor Dan Cohn-sher­bok, emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor of Ju­daism at the Univer­sity of Wales, also con­tacted the bishop. He wrote: “I have been dis­turbed to read about the al­le­ga­tions made against Stephen Sizer.

“T h e s e a r e , I be­lieve, com­pletely with­out foun­da­tion: there is sim­ply no ev­i­dence that he is an an­ti­semite.

“It would be a mis­take… to con­strue Stephen Sizer’s po­lit­i­cal crit­i­cisms as ev­i­dence of an­tipa­thy against Jews.

“Once he re­al­ized the se­ri­ous­ness of the er­ror of link­ing his Face­book en­try with the of­fend­ing web­site, he did re­move it. I hope the church will for­give him for his mis­take.

“It would be a trav­esty of jus­tice to con­strue [it] as a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt to en­cour­age racial ha­tred.”

Other let­ter-writ­ers in­cluded his­tory pro­fes­sor Ilan Pappé; co-or­di­na­tor of the Is­raeli Com­mit­tee Against House De­mo­li­tions, Jeff Halper; and Canon Garth Hewitt, who is the founder of the Amos Trust, a char­ity which works with both Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans.

Rev Stephen Sizer: “over­sight”

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