Former vicar Stephen Sizer, who once supported claims that Israel was behind the 9/11 terror attacks, engaged in conduct which “provoked and offended the Jewish community” and in one “serious allegation” was found to have “engaged in antisemitic activity”, a church disciplinary hearing has concluded.
Rev. Stephen Sizer, who was vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water, in Surrey, for 20 years, had 11 allegations about his conduct between 2005 and 2018, brought to the tribunal by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Out of the 11 allegations, a panel concluded that in four of them Sizer’s conduct was “unbecoming to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders, in that he provoked and offended the Jewish community.”
In a decision announced on Tuesday, the tribunal concluded: “The most serious allegation against the Respondent relates to posting a link on Facebook in January 2015 to the article blaming Israel for 9/11.
“The tribunal finds the article in its tone and content truly shocking.”
“It is satisfied that the respondent would not have posted the article without reading it in full first. In reaching this decision, it pays particular importance to his comment on the post, when he said: ‘Is this antisemitic? If so, no doubt I’ll be asked to remove it. It raises so many questions.’
“It does not consider that he would have made this comment unless he knew or thought that the article was antisemitic.”
It was further concluded:” The tribunal is satisfied that the Respondent reposted the article in the knowledge that it would provoke and offend the Jewish community.”
Sizer was also condemned for his “unacceptable” and “unauthorised” meeting with Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, a senior commander of Hezbollah forces in Beirut in the summer of 2006.
A photograph of the meeting was published by the Daily Mail in 2015.
It was confirmed: “The tribunal considers that the Respondent’s meeting with Sheikh Kaouk is an example of where he did not take into account his role as a public representative of the Church, and showed a lack of sensitivity to the Jewish community.
“It showed an extraordinary lack of sensitivity to be photographed in clerical dress meeting Sheikh Kaouk.”
The tribunal also condemned Sizer’s conduct after in September 2010, he posted a link to an article entitled ‘The Mother of All Coincidences’.
It concluded:” Once again it considers that the posting of the link to this article demonstrated the Respondent’s lack of awareness of his being a public representative of the Church and showed a lack of sensitivity to the Jewish community.
“The article raised the issue as to whether 9/11 was a plot by Israel and did not specifically refer to Jews.
“The final sentence, however, did not contain a clear rejection of Israel’s involvement. Whilst the article did not go as far as the 9/11 article, and blame American Jews for 9/11, the Tribunal considers that the Respondent, as an ordained minister, should not have been giving the oxygen of publicity to such an article. ”
Sizer was also condemned by the tribunal for an interview on 30 March 2018 he gave to Australian radio, defending the link he posted to the article blaming Israel for the 11 September 2011 terrorist attacks.
The tribunal decision, following an earlier hearing in May, was handed down by the Church of England on Tuesday by chair David Pittaway KC, at Church House, Westminster.
It was announced that on the balance of probability seven of the allegations – including a meeting with Michael Hoffman, a Holocaust denier and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist – remained unproved.
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 through his new organisation, Peacemaker Trust, and chairs The Convivencia Alliance, an initiative founded in 2022 and supported by groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain – boycotted by the UK government – and IHRC – a UK charity that backs the Iranian regime.
The Convivencia Alliance, which Sizer is also convener, calls for a model of coexistence in “Palestine/Israel” based on that seen in southern Spain when Muslims, Jews and Christians “lived in harmony side by side under Muslim rule”. It also describes the ‘Abraham Accords’ as “toxic”, opposes the International Definition of Antisemitism, and defines “Judeo-Christian heritage” as “racist”.
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