Sabeel-Kairos UK unequivocally stands in support and solidarity with the Revd. Dr. Stephen Sizer as he defends himself in a Bishops Disciplinary Tribunal this month. As a trustee of Sabeel-Kairos UK we have no evidence or reason to believe in the accusations of antisemitism brought against Stephen. As an organization we stand against any form of racism, be that antisemitism, Islamophobia or otherwise, and believe firmly that Stephen holds to these principles too.
We share Stephen’s concern and desire to see justice and equality become a reality in the Holy Land. These accusations of antisemitism raise significant concerns for us about the use of the IHRA definition to silence genuine concern and criticism of the Israeli government’s policies of oppression of the Palestinian people, now clearly evidenced as crimes of apartheid under international law, by respected international human rights organisations.
We sincerely hope that justice prevails in this trial, that Stephen’s name is cleared, and he receives adequate recompense for the distress he has endured.
Sabeel-Kairos UK Board of Trustees and staff members, May 2022.
Source: Sabeel-Kairos UK
Our dear friend Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer is facing spurious accusations, yet again, in response to his tireless advocacy for Palestinian human rights and brilliant scholarship on the historical and theological influence of Christian Zionism.
His very future as an Anglican vicar is at stake, as he is set to face a Church of England tribunal (held Monday 23 – Friday 27 May 2022) arising from a complaint made by the Board of Deputies of British Jews against Stephen in 2018. The Tribunal will be held at St. Andrew’s Church Centre Holborn, Central London.
In the words of Dr. Gary M. Burge: “Stephen, you have single handedly done more to change this conversation about Christian Zionism than anyone I know.”
The truth is that while Stephen has been somewhat of a lightning rod for cynical accusations of anti-Semitism, this could be any of us. As such, we must not shrink from such accusations as they come, but stand together in solidarity for truth and justice.
Messages in Support of Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer:
- RW: As a cradle Anglican now attending an Episcopal church, I know well that the church’s response to “difficult” or “uncomfortable” issues is too often silence or silencing. I therefore support and admire your willingness to speak out, as other principled clergy have done on this and other topics. I seem to have read somewhere that Our Lord had his own problems with the religious hierarchies of his time – and that, as Christians, we are supposed to follow in His footsteps. Good luck and blessings to you.
- LE: As a Jewish American, I strongly support your work, Rev. Dr. Sizer, and encourage you to stand firmly and proudly for Palestinian human rights. Judaism is a religion; Zionism is an ideology. To the extent that Zionism disregards, disrespects, disempowers and dispossesses the Palestinian people, it is immoral, unjust and cruel. People of faith oppose immorality, injustice and cruelty.
- MC: Dear Dr Stephen Sizer, my family and I greatly respect you for advocating for justice and human rights for the Palestinian people. You should not have to appear before a tribunal at all. Surely your church should be able to distinguish between anti-Semitism and your advocacy! Our best wishes to you.
- WE: Dear Dr. Sizer, I have just discovered your situation. I am a Canadian. I am Jewish. I was born in Russia in 1941. My parents fled from Poland and they were the only ones in my family to survive the Holocaust. I am a member of Independent Jewish Voices, a pro Palestinian Jewish organization in Canada. I am horrified that Israel is committing its crimes against humanity in my name. The Jewish establishment in England, and in Canada, are also guilty of these racist crimes. Your persecution is also a crime against humanity. Please stay strong. As you know very well, the Palestinians depend on us to help them in their struggle against their racist oppressors.
- JH: Dear Rev. Dr. Sizer, I write to send you my support, in solidarity with what you have done and what you stand for. I write to you as a personal friend of the former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, the late Rt. Rev. Samir Kafity. Samir was a family friend and knew my father well, once staying with our family here in Tennessee when he was on a fundraising mission to the United States when he was the priest at St. Andrew’s, Ramallah. (My father grew up in St. Andrew’s because his mother was the custodian of St. Andrews.) I later worked with Bishop Kafity when I was named U.S. Director of Development for the Ramallah Friends School in 1990, when I asked Bishop Kafity to serve as our Honorary Chairman for our Second Century Campaign, an assignment he gladly accepted. While in Jerusalem, I walked the Stations of the Cross with Bishop Kafity on Good Friday of that same year. I bring up my relationship with the beloved Bishop Kafity because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that were he living today that he would certainly be one of your most vocal supporters as you go through this shameful ordeal in the Anglican Tribunal. I hope you can take some comfort knowing that, were he with us today, the esteemed Bishop would be right by your side, metaphorically, lending you support and solidarity. All things must pass, and this spurious indiscretion being leveled against you by the Board of Deputies of British Jews shall pass as well. Until then, I remain your steadfast supporter. Sincerely, JH
- EF: Dear Reverend Sizer, I agree with you. What has happened to the Jews over time has been been appalling and unacceptable, but what I see happening in Israel now is also appalling and unacceptable. Please know that you are on the Lord’s side. EF, California
- JA: God is with you, as are we, with your defense of all peoples whose human rights and dignity are violated by others as scripture commands of us.
- JW: Hang in there Stephen!
- DT: HANG TOUGH!
- HG: A GHETTO IS A GHETTO IS A GHETTO…WARSAW , HARLEM OR GAZA!!!
ISREAL IN AN APARTHEID STATE…PLAIN AND SIMPLE, GUILTY OF GENOCIDE .
DOES “NEVER AGAIN” MEAN NOTHING?
- NL: I believe in your work. Being an advocate for Palestinian human rights is the Christian thing to do. To advocate for Palestinian rights does not make you anti-Semitic. The Church of England tribunal must dismiss the complaint of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. It is the Israeli Government, and their propaganda, not Jews themselves that you are against. I pray that you are able to continue your work for human rights.
- PC: I wholeheartedly support the hard work you are doing to educate people about Israel’s vicious attacks on innocent Palestinians. I cannot understand how Zionists can endorse the systemic, inhumane punishment of ordinary people who have been victimized for over 70 years. It is an abomination and must stop now before it escalates further.
- BR: It has always been thus–those who dare to stand up to Empire will be attacked. Stay strong! You must stay strong, and we must all stay strong with you and with each other. Banding together and supporting issues vital to the human spirit and to the expression of the Divine, we will be able to create the kind of world that we want for ourselves and for others, free from oppression.
- ST: My father and his family were driven from their home in Jaffa in April 1948. They were never able to return. My father eventually made it to the US through the help of Quakers. Many communities of faith have provided support and refuge for Palestinians and many spiritual leaders like yourself, Stephen Sizer, have led the way. We stand in solidarity with you.
- JB: Rev. Dr. Sizer, You are a brave man. I stand with you! Thank you. Justice for all. Freedom for Palestine.
- BS: Spiritual people see our similarities. Religious people see our differences.
- MC: Standing in solidarity with Rev. Stephen Sizer and in support of his advocacy for truth and racial justice.
- VJ: Standing up for Palestinians is not anti-Semitism.
- NM: Standing up for what is right has nothing to do with anti-Semitism.
- AB: Stephen, I believe that being critical of the way Palestinians are treated in their homeland by the Israeli government is not anti-Semitic. I am critical of many Canadian government policies, especially ones that do not recognize and speak again the illegal occupation of Palestine. I am opposed to anti-Semitism, however critical comments of a governing body do not constitute anti-Semitism. Please continue your advocacy on behalf of the Palestinians in the middle east.
- VH: Thank you for doing the right thing and for your courage. Speaking the truth to the powerful is what Christ did and what you are doing now. Praying for a quick resolution of this injustice.
- RB: Thank you for your tireless work for justice and fairness. We stand with you as you meet before the tribunal. We pray God’s Spirit to be present with you, that honesty, justice, and truth may prevail. Again, thank you for being a beacon of light in the dark places of this world. God be with you.
- SG: Too many people are using an overly broad, inaccurate definition of antisemitism that conflates valid criticism of governmental actions with bigotry. Thank you for standing up for acceptance and honest discourse.
- MS: We stand with you, Stephen, against all spurious accusation. Never give up. Stand up to what is right in your opinion no matter what.
- LR: Your tireless work to bring light and honest conversation to a deeply disturbing problem is the work of God, in my view. I cannot imagine how you must be feeling, but I wanted to offer you some encouragement to always stand in your truth and remember that God is always with you. Don’t ever give up hope, don’t ever feel abandoned. Truth will always prevail.
- DH: Palestinians are denied their inalienable rights by a settler oppressor. It’s the duty of every Christian or human being to speak out against oppression and their oppressor.
- CC: Thank you for your witness!
- VH: Thank you for your courageous commitment to truth and justice in the cause of peace and reconciliation for Israel and Palestine. You are in my prayers.
- AM: Thank you Stephen Sizer for being such an example of integrity and love for your fellow human beings. You are an inspiration in how you insist on seeing the image of God in all human beings, including those who accuse you falsely. Thank you for standing against people who have twisted the term anti-Semitism from a term used for fighting discrimination to a term now used to defend discrimination and the violation of human rights by the state of Israel.
- SS: It is so encouraging to see church leaders standing up to Zionist lies and bullying. Stay strong!!
- MB: Stephen, I have rarely met any person with your level of integrity and sense of gods calling for the disenfranchised and downtrodden – you are entirely innocent of any of these malicious accusations and remember your god loves you as does anybody who knows you and who stands in solidarity with you and all Palestinians- love and prayers to you and your family.
- AS: I stand in solidarity with you Stephen and I appreciate your efforts to educate the world about the plight of Palestinians. Your fight is a fight for humanitarian reasons and you represent Christianity in a positive and uplifting way to show compassion for your fellow humans.
- ID: Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer, YOU ROCK! As an American Jew, I wish you the very best with this bullsh*t tribunal. I hope you and allies transform the event into an opportunity. I hope you make it an indictment of bad-faith actors who wallow in moral filth by corrupting the legitimate meaning of “anti-Semitism” to wage war against the oppressed.
- RW: Dear Stephen, I’m sorry this comes rather late in the week, but I want to send you my support. Please be assured of my prayers for the Lord’s guidance, strength and clarity of mind, and a just outcome. You are going through this on behalf of so many other people who speak out against Christian Zionism and for justice for Palestinians. Thank you so much for all you do. With every blessing, R. (Amos Trust visit to Israel-Palestine 1998)
- LL: Dear Stephen, Really sorry that this is happening to you – again. We are thinking of you and I know Diana came to speak in your support. I do not have much more to say other than to emphasise the importance of your work on Christian Zionism, note the (to put it mildly) over reach of the Board of Deputies and to write about my concerns for justice, But all this you know. The one silly thing you did, posting a link to a conspiracy theory, you removed and apologised for – but in this scenario, nothing will ever be enough for the BoD or the Establishment because they want to crush all opposition – especially articulate and informed opposition that they cannot write off and so they try to write off the person. I hope the outcome will not be what we are, sadly, rather expecting. In solidarity, L. ”
- MM: Dear Stephen, I was deeply moved by your presentation in the Kumi Now program in 2020. You brought together the key arguments from Scripture that Christian Zionists wield and precisely clarified how each one is false. Thank you for your truth-telling. The persecution you are experiencing by the Church is a testimony to what it means to be a person of deep faith, telling the truth and bearing the cost. I pray you faithfully continue in God’s strength to lead this very difficult work of righteousness and justice. Stay strong! M.