An email sent by Jeremy Corbyn to the Church of England blatantly criticised Zionism in defence of a vicar accused of anti-Semitism.
Before becoming the Labour leader, Corbyn sent the email (below), which has been sourced by CUFI, expressing his support for Stephen Sizer, who will be addressing the pro-Hezbollah Al Quds rally in central London on Sunday.
In 2012, Rev Sizer, a leading voice in the UK for replacement theology, had caused controversy by posting a link to an article on an anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying website.
Writing to Rev Christopher Hill, the then Bishop of Guildford, Corbyn put the problem down to a “technical oversight” and went on to explain that the internet is a “complicated piece of technology” that would require “8 hours a day surfing” just to be “100% certain one’s views to not become contaminated in any way at all.”
But it was Corbyn’s support of Sizer’s stance on Israel that was even more remarkable.
He said, “Reverend Stephen 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, in particular by his very thorough analysis of ‘Christian Zionism’.”
This is the first evidence, to our knowledge, that Corbyn has implied such negative views towards Christian Zionism specifically. His disdain for Zionism continued,
“Might I suggest that such criticism is part of a wider pattern of demonising those who dare to stand up and speak out against Zionism, a philosophy that precludes the existence of the state of Palestine?”
Mr Corbyn therefore suggests the “philosophy of Zionism”, as he describes it, prevents a state of Palestine being created. This narrative places no responsibility on the actions of the Palestinians and undermines the fundamental principles of Zionism, which is the belief that Jews have a right to a Jewish homeland in the historic land of Israel.
Corbyn then gives his opinion of why anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same, accusing Sizer’s critics of conflating them.
Despite resigning from his post at Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey, in 2016, Sizer remains a prolific opponent of Israel and advocate of replacement theology having recently completed a speaking tour in the Southern Hemisphere with his new organisation, Peacemaker Trust. Whilst in Australia, broadcaster ABC came under fire for interviewing Sizer on breakfast TV on the morning of Passover in which he claimed Zionists have “diluted the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel”.
In December 2015, the Church of England condemned Sizer for sharing material which was “clearly antisemitic”. Sizer agreed not to write, speak or tweet about the Middle East for six months after he was disciplined for posting a link to an article suggesting Israel carried out the 9/11 attacks.
Sizer, who lectures in Iran, also defended his appearance in the 2014 New Horizon conference held in Tehran, which included sessions such as “Zionist Fingerprints on the 9/11 Cover-up” and has met Hezbollah’s leadership and toured south Lebanon with the terror group. He has given interviews on Iran’s Press TV, including one in which he said the Holocaust has been “perpetuated” for the past 40-50 years and that it is the Palestinians now experiencing a Holocaust.
Rev Sizer will join notorious anti-Zionist Mick Napier, of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, as a speaker at Sunday’s annual demonstration, which previous years has seen the yellow machine-gun bearing flags of Hezbollah paraded through central London, is organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission. Also speaking is Les Levidow an activist who has campaigned in opposition to the UK’s Terrorism Act 2000.
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