A vicar engaged in antisemitic exercise by sharing an article that urged Israel was chargeable for the 9/11 terror assaults, a church disciplinary listening to has discovered.
Reverend Dr Stephen Sizer had been accused of being “unbecoming and inappropriate” in his conduct between 2005 to 2018 in 11 allegations made in opposition to him by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
The former vicar of Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey, admitted the “factual basis” of the allegations in opposition to him however disputed that his conduct was unbecoming and inappropriate.
Dr Sizer additionally denied scary and inflicting offence to the Jewish Community, in addition to partaking in antisemitic exercise.
Despite this, the tribunal present in 4 out of the 11 allegations his conduct was “unbecoming to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Order” as a result of he provoked and offended the Jewish neighborhood and/or engaged in antisemitic exercise.
He was given a “penalty judgment” for committing misconduct below the Clergy Disciplinary Measure 2003, that means he’s banned from licensed ministry within the Church of England till 2030.
Dr Sizer met Sheikh Nabil Kaouk in 2006, a “senior commander of Hezbollah forces”, in a secret location in or close to Tyre, Lebanon, although he insisted he didn’t instigate the assembly.
The tribunal concluded that it was “unacceptable” for an ordained minister to make an “unauthorised visit” to a senior commander of the army wing of Hezbollah aside from in an official capability, and that his conduct provoked and offended the Jewish neighborhood.
In September 2010, Dr Sizer shared a hyperlink to an article referred to as The Mother of All Coincidences, which urged the conspiracy principle that 9/11 was an Israeli plot.
The tribunal mentioned an ordained minister mustn’t have given “the oxygen of publicity” to such an article, and located his conduct was unbecoming and inappropriate as he provoked and offended the Jewish neighborhood, however determined he was not partaking in antisemitic exercise.
An article Dr Sizer shared in January 2015, entitled 9/11/Israel, was discovered to be “virulently antisemitic” by the tribunal and fulfilled “all the tropes of antisemitism”.
It rejected the vicar’s assertion that the article raised “serious issues” that wanted to be mentioned and concluded his conduct was unbecoming on the grounds that he provoked and offended the Jewish neighborhood, and he was “engaging in antisemitic activity” by posting the hyperlink.
Dr Sizer defended sharing the article in an interview in 2018, saying the idea needed to be “considered”, together with his conduct in the course of the interview deemed as unbecoming.
The remaining allegations in opposition to Dr Sizer have been:
- Participating in a convention run by the Islamic Human Rights Commission referred to as Towards a New Liberation Theology in 2005;
- Speaking at a convention in Indonesia in May 2008 alongside Holocaust denier Fred Tobin;
- Promoting one other Holocaust denier and antisemitic conspiracy theorist Michael Hoffman in June 2008;
- Citing Holocaust deniers and far-right figures, particularly Dale Crowley, in January 2009;
- Accompanying and defending an Islamic Movement chief Raed Salah in June 2011;
- Attending an occasion in October 2016 chaired by Baroness Tonge in breach of an settlement with the Bishop of Guildford;
- Posting an merchandise on Facebook in August 2018 in relation to former Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn being a sufferer of “the hidden hands of Zionists”.
The tribunal discovered seven additional allegations didn’t show the vicar’s conduct was unbecoming or inappropriate for an ordained minister or that he had engaged in antisemitic exercise.
’10 12 months marketing campaign of harassment’
Dr Sizer claimed he has been the goal of a “10-year campaign of intimidation and harassment” and that his views had been “routinely misrepresented and distorted”.
He mentioned he had “repeatedly and unequivocally repudiated racism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial in his lectures, books and website articles”.
Following the penalty judgment for the vicar, the Archbishop of Canterbury mentioned it was “clear that the behaviour of Stephen Sizer has undermined Christian-Jewish relations, giving encouragement to conspiracy theories and tropes that have no place in public Christian ministry and the church”.
He added: “I renew my call for the highest possible standards among ordained ministers of the Church of England in combating antisemitism of all kinds.”