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