Premier Christian News Apology Accepted

I am grateful to Premier Christian News for removing the above article, publishing the retraction below and paying most of my legal fees. I regret that it was necessary for Premier to pay for information, freely available from my website, which contradicted the spurious allegations made in their article.

“On 14th August 2021 Premier Christian News (PCN) published an article entitled: Conspiracy theory’ vicar’s new charity receives thousands from his former church

After discussion with Reverend Dr Sizer PCN recognises that elements of the content and tone of the article did not meet the standards to which we hold ourselves to and we accept that parts of the article were inappropriate and sensational.

PCN acknowledges that Dr Sizer has publicly repudiated antisemitism and holocaust denial and conspiracy theories concerning Israel on numerous occasions. We also recognise that there were elements of the article which are contested by Dr Sizer and we should have provided him an opportunity to respond.

PCN apologises unreservedly to Dr Sizer and the trustees of Peacemaker Trust and regrets any distress caused.

PCN extends the same apology to the Rev Dr Simon Vibert, vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water, and their Parochial Church Council, who were also referenced in the article.”

In a letter to Premier’s solicitors, my solicitor pointed out, “Revd Dr Sizer has never questioned the fact of the Holocaust and he has regularly repudiated Holocaust deniers’ examples can be found of him doing so on his blog at the following links:

‘Alleged Holocaust Denier Arrested at Heathrow’ 3 October, 2008.
Auschwitz: Walking the Wire’, 3 June, 2010.
 ‘Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism have no place in PSC (or anywhere else)’ 4 January, 2012.

Revd Dr Sizer does not hold views that a Zionist Conspiracy controls the world or that a Zionist conspiracy controlled the events of 9/11. In a Diocese of Guildford press release published on 30 January 2015, they welcomed a statement by Revd Dr Sizer in which he stated: “I have never believed Israel, or any other country was complicit in the terrorist atrocity of 9/11…” 

The Diocesan press release also confirms that Revd Dr Sizer was not banned from using social media but voluntarily agreed to cease using social media for six months.” 

Further, I have repeatedly repudiated antisemitism and all forms of racism. Here are just a few examples:

The New Antisemitism, 20 May 2018.
A Symphony of Anti-Semitic Dog Whistles, 25 November 2010.
With God on our Side Film Tour, 20 October 2010.
Apples and Oranges: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism, 23 October 2008.

To make my views explicit, in my book Zion’s Christian Soldiers, I wrote the following:

It is true that at various times in the past, churches and church leaders have tolerated or incited anti-Semitism and even attacks on Jewish people. Racism is a sin and without excuse. Anti-Semitism must be repudiated unequivocally. However, we must not confuse apples and oranges. Anti-Zionism is not the same thing as anti-Semitism despite attempts to broaden the definition. Criticising a political system as racist is not necessarily racist. Judaism is a religious system. Israel is a sovereign nation. Zionism is a political system. These three are not synonymous. I respect Judaism, repudiate anti-Semitism, encourage interfaith dialogue and defend Israel’s right to exist within borders recognised by the international community and agreed with her neighbours. But like many Jews, I disagree with a political system which gives preference to expatriate Jews born elsewhere in the world, while denying the same rights to the Arab Palestinians born in the country itself.”

I take seriously the Apostle Paul’s injunction that Christians should not take fellow believers before the secular courts in 1 Corinthians 6. For that reason I am content with the retraction and apology from Premier.

However, my forbearance does not extend to secular or other religious media who persist in making these allegations, nor those who wilfully and knowingly continue to defame with the intent to cause reputational damage and further their racist political agendas.

I concur wholeheartedly with John Stott. In a sermon entitled The Place of Israel, which he graciously allowed me to include in my book, Zion’s Christian Soldiers, he said,

“Away then with anti-Semitism! It has been an appalling scandal in the history of Europe, and even the Christian church has been implicated. Christians should be ‘pro-Semitic’, in the sense that we recognize how the people of Israel have been highly favoured by God. We Gentiles are their debtors, Paul wrote (Romans 15:27). We owe them a huge spiritual debt, especially in their bequest to the world of both the Scriptures and the Christ.”