Pure Joy in Trials of Many Kinds

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2)

In October 2018, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, made a formal complaint against me under the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM). The then Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Timothy Dakin, referred the complaint to an Ecclesiastical Tribunal which was eventually held in May 2022. The Tribunal panel decision was handed down on 6 December 2022. If you wish to read my witness statement, the expert witness report, the statements of witnesses, the tribunal decision and my response to the Tribunal decision, please follow the hyperlinks below: 

My Witness Statement

Expert Witness Report: Antony Lerman

Antony Lerman is a Senior Fellow at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna, Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations at the University of Southampton and Associate Editor of Patterns of Prejudice. He was founding director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (1996-99, and 2006-09), one of the founders of Independent Jewish Voices and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. He was founding editor of Antisemitism World Report (1992-98) and Editor of the Jewish Quarterly (1964-85). He is the author of The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist: A Personal and Political Journey (London, 2012), editor of Do I Belong? Reflections from Europe (London, 2017), co-author of Bad News for Labour: Antisemitism, the Party and Public Belief (London, 2019) – and Whatever Happened to Antisemitism? Redefinition and the Myth of the ‘Collective Jew’ (London, 2022).

Tribunal Witnesses:

Tanas Alqassis, Regional Manager, Europe, Middle East & North Africa, CMS
Canon Dr Mike Butterworth, retired Principal of the St Albans & Oxford Ministry Course
Revd Colin Chapman former lecturer in Islamic Studies, Near East School of Theology, Beirut
Robert Cohen, author and trustee for Amos Trust and adviser to Sabeel-Kairos UK.
Professor Mary Grey, St Mary’s University College, Twickenham
Revd Canon Garth Hewitt, founder Amos Trust
Rt Revd Michael Langrish, retired Bishop of Exeter
Anne Martin, Secretary of Peacemaker Trust
Revd Jeremy Moodey, CEO, Clergy Support Trust
Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Professor Ilan Pappe,  College of Social Sciences & International Studies, University of Exeter
Miranda Pinch, film producer, From Balfour to Banksy
Revd Canon John Salter, President, Garden Tomb Association
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Professor Emeritus of Judaism University of Wales
Professor Tim Unwin, UNESCO Chair in ICT4D, and Emeritus Professor of Geography, Royal Holloway

Additional Witnesses:

The Most Revd Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis, Archbishop of Province of Alexandria
Rt Revd Riah Abu El Assal,retired Bishop of Jerusalem
Revd Alex Awad, Director, Shepherds Society
Amos Trust Trustees (Revd Chris Rose, Director Amos Trust)
Revd Dr Andrew Ashdown, Partnership Coordinator for Africa, Methodist Church
Dr Mark Braverman, Executive Director of Kairos USA
Dr Gary Burge, Professor, Calvin Theological Seminary, USA
Ian Curtis, former VP World Vision International and chair International Needs Australia
Professor Scott Elias, retired professor, Royal Holloway University 
Rt Revd John Ellison, former bishop of Paraguay (deceased)
Tony Gratrex, former member of Christ Church, Virginia Water
Tony Greenstein, co-founder of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Steven Haas, former VP World Vision USA
Ibrahim Hewitt, Director, Interpal
Revd Philip Hill, Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary
Revd Dr Manfred Kohl, Ambassador for Overseas Council International 
Revd Canon David MacInnes, retired Rector St Aldates, Oxford
Revd Dr Duncan Macpherson, retired Lecturer in Theology, Saint Mary’s University
Rt Revd Bill Musk, retired Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Egypt & North Africa
Ismail Patel, Founder Friends of Al Aqsa & Visiting Research Fellow, Leeds University
Revd David Smith, former Vicar of Holy Trinity, Dulwich Hill, Sydney, Australia 
Revd Dr Jozef Strengholt, former dean of East Cairo & Director of Nile Valley Project 
Revd Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Secretary of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans 
Dr David Toorawa, Trustee, Living Stones of the Holy Land Trust
Revd Dr Donald Wagner, Former director, Middle East Studies, North Park University
Revd John Woodger, retired vicar of St Mary’s Watford

Tribunal Decision

Tribunal Decision

Statement by Stephen Sizer on the Tribunal Decision

Statement by Stephen Sizer

Zionism and Apartheid

Sabeel-Kairos UK are hosting a four week series of bible studies entitled Apartheid in Advent.

Watch again the first in our series ‘Challenging Apartheid in Advent’ featuring Antony Lerman and Revd. Dr. Stephen Sizer speaking on the issue of Zionism and its contribution to Israel’s apartheid practices. This video includes both speakers’ presentations. If you would like the bible study to accompany the week, please head over to https://www.sabeel-kairos.org.uk/apar… to download it.

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Global Apartheid and Systems of Exclusion: Allan Aubrey Boesak

We are pleased to publish, with his permission, a paper delivered by Dr Allan Aubrey Boesak at the Chile Conference on Palestine and Latin American Churches on 5 November 2022. His presentation was entitled Global Apartheid and Systems of Exclusion “This Wall Has No Future”


“Every time right minded Black South Africans have the opportunity to visit Israel/Palestine, they come away with a profound sense of shock, and it is the shock of recognition, of profound disorientation, of relived trauma: this is apartheid. It is the sense that something as irrelevant as the colour of one’s skin or what is called “racial identity” has condemned you from birth. It is the onslaught upon your dignity through discrimination, a thousand humiliations every day in every imaginable situation, and the relentless, deliberate process of dehumanisation. 

      It is the sense not only that your very life is being threatened at every turn, but that your life does not matter. It is the ongoing tragedies of dispossession through land theft and forced removals, destruction of property, and devastation of communities, legalised and legitimised by the law and enforced by the violence of the state. It is the myriad ways in which one is told that one has no place in the country of one’s birth. And it is always the violence: systemic, structural, physical, pervasive, and permanent. 

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Justice, Peace and Reconciliation in Palestine: A Convivencia Alliance Webinar

In October, the Convivencia Alliance arranged an international webinar entitled: “The Convivencia Declaration: Justice, Peace and Reconciliation in Palestine – Christian Perspectives: The Struggle for Justice and Peace: Experiences from South Africa, Northern Ireland, USA and Palestine. You may watch the entire webinar or view the four presentations individually by clicking on the speakers below:

Revd Allan Boesak: Professor of Black Liberation Theology and Ethics at University of Pretoria

Mark Braverman: Executive Director, Kairos USA and Research Fellow in Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Jonny Clark: Programme Manager for Public Theology at the Corrymeela Community, Northern Ireland

Rifat Kassis: General Coordinator of Kairos Palestine

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Christian Support for the State of Israel: Is it Biblical?

For Christians who believe that all are created in the image of God, with equal worth and dignity, what are we called to do for the people of the Holy Land? How can we be faithful and faith-filled peacemakers and justice-seekers? A presentation given during a recent webinar hosted by Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA).

In this conference, we considered how we can respond to Christian Zionist theology and bring love-inspired, biblically based teaching and action to our congregations and communities.

A summary of my presentation is accessible here

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Glory to God in the Lowest- A Book Review: Dr Donald Wagner

This is a truly inspirational story of how a young conservative white evangelical Christian became a passionate life-long campaigner for Palestinian rights. 

The book reveals the heavy price Don has paid for his commitment to justice, peace and reconciliation. Don clearly stands in the subversive but non-violent tradition of Mohandas Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandella. 

I simply could not put this book down. It is a compelling, detailed, eye-witness commentary on the unfolding tragedy of Palestine over the past 40 years. It is also a searing indictment of the failure of the West, tragically with the complicity of the Church, to hold Israel accountable to its obligations under international law and repeated UN Resolutions. 

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Looking Forward to Armageddon?

A presentation on the historical roots and political agenda of Christian Zionism given for members of Bath Friends of Palestine at the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institute in October 2022.

Christian Zionism has long been a powerful factor in the creation and maintenance of the state of Israel, but what exactly does it believe?

Dr Stephen Sizer examines the historical roots, theological basis and political agenda of a Bible-based worldview that today defends apartheid, denies justice to the Palestinians and only perpetuates conflict in the Middle East.

Bath Friends of Palestine

Jeff Halper on Inquisitions (Religious Tribunals)

As an Israeli Jew and the head of an Israeli human rights organization – ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – I am appalled by the very thought of bringing anyone, let alone such a principled person as Stephen Sizer, before a religious Tribunal. What, are we back to the Medieval days of the Inquisition? I can’t speak for the Church of England, but Jews, the British Board of Deputies, participating in a religious Tribunal?! The very thought is appalling. What has happened to us, Jews and Christians together? Are we willing to return to the dark processes of Tribunals with no legal underpinnings, no genuine evidence or testimony, conducted solely against people whose views we don’t like – besmirch and destroy people’s lives – just to prevent criticism of Israel? Is it really so easy, in the 21st Century, to persecute people for their religious and political views? Savonarola meets Trump?

The charges against Dr. Sizer are untrue and trumped-up – and you all know it. Antisemitism?! How do you possibly defend yourself against such a charge? In the intellectual and democratic world in which most of us live, Dr. Sizer has made a rational, well-researched case for his views and analysis presented in articles, books and lectures based firmly on academic research and religious history. But that is exactly the type of person for which Tribunals are necessary, since analyses like Dr. Sizer presents, unpopular in some partisan circles as they may be, cannot be dismissed in academic circles or barred in courts of law. They must be denounced in Tribunals with no moral, legal or intellectual authority, and as in all religious Tribunals, the person maligned and destroyed in order to somehow delegitimize his or her views. I am embarrassed for all of you – and downright angry at the Jews who participate in the dark proceeding of religious Tribunals.

Let me say this as plainly as I can. I have known Dr. Sizer for over twenty years. I respect his moral position on Israel. I certainly respect his academic work on Christian Zionism, one of the most insidious and antisemitic religious doctrines in modern history and profoundly anti-Israel (Israel exists to bring on the Christian End of Days in which virtually all Jews die or become Christians). I respect Dr. Sizer’s willingness to go beyond the comforts of parish life to engage critically in an issue of central concern to us all: how to prevent Israel from becoming the next apartheid South Africa, how to prevent Jews from becoming Afrikaners, and how to liberate the Palestinian people from the yoke of occupation and apartheid – causes Christians and Jews should be engaged with rather than outdated and discredited Tribunals. And while I don’t use Dr. Sizer’s faith-based language, I have never heard him utter a word that I would consider antisemitic. To accuse or “convict” him of such is truly medieval. It is all the more outrageous if you and your Tribunal are basing your judgement on the false and tendentious position represented by the IHRA assertion that any criticism of Israel is de facto antisemitic – a position disavowed by Kenneth Stern, who drafted the IHRA paper (only intended as a “working definition”), as well as by dozens of prominent Jewish and Israeli scholars and progressive Jewish and Israeli organizations.

Not only should Stephen Sizer be “acquitted” of such ridiculous charges, he should not have been brought before a Tribunal at all. I would have advised him to disassociate from this entire inquisitorial process completely – and I urge you to do so as well. Especially the Jews, for God’s sake!

In solidarity (with Stephen),

Dr Jeff Halper

ICAHD Statement of Support

A Dossier on Israeli Apartheid

A Dossier on Israeli Apartheid: A Pressing Call to Churches Around the World. Prepared by: Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice 2022

Sisters and brothers in Christ,

We, members of Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice, have created a theological study for Christians and other civil society organizations who want to learn more about the crime of apartheid and why Palestinians and a growing number of churches and human rights organizations are using the word to describe Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

In this guide, you will find: a clear description of apartheid and how Israel’s laws, policies and practices meet theinternational definition; a Biblical/theological reflection describing the sin of apartheid; a heartfelt call to the global church to hear the pleas of Palestinian Christians; and a list of recommended actions. Also included are brief summaries of and links to many of the reports cited above, statements made by churches, faith groups, and international leaders (including prominent Israeli Jews), and a short book list.

We call upon the churches around the world to receive and study this Dossier and respond to the evidence and the call to do justice. It is our hope that this study will equip the global church to rise up and join Palestinian Christians as we work to end Israel’s apartheid regime for the sake of all who live in the Holy Land.

+ Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah Chair of Kairos Palestine

Rifat Kassis
General Coordinator: Global Kairos for Justice Coalition

Download the dossier here: https://www.kairospalestine.ps/images/kp-a-dossier-on-israeli-apartheid-main.pdf