An Anglican Rebuke of Rev Dr Sizer
Why ‘Size-r’ does matter:
The cautionary tale of a Wrong-Headed Reverend … and why anyone should care.
We respond to Rev Stephen Sizer’s latest voyage into absurdity with sadness and a grim sense of deja vu. In our opinion, he is simply wrong-headed; and like the Hydra of antiquity, the wrongheadedness is multiple… each head is wrong and each head is unpleasant.
Here are just three of the Reverend’s ‘wrongheads’:
Theological chicanery: Sizer intones a clerical version of ‘hocus pocus!’ in order to replace Israel with the Church … and hey presto! as quickly as a rabbit disappearing in a magic show, the eternal covenant between the God of the Universe and the Jews is discarded; the Jews of course not being up to scratch and therefore disposable are quickly replaced by the Church … mmm, now is that comforting or downright scary? If God only keeps covenant with the worthy, our guess would be that the Church, the Reverend’s branch included, is fairly deep in the proverbial.
Masterful sleight of hand: In his advocacy of the Palestinian narrative, Rev Sizer is a master conjuror. We acknowledge freely that it may not be his intention to deceive; but sadly, that is the precise outcome of his trenchant activism. He makes facts disappear; ‘poof!’ and the decades-old, internationally binding recognition of the historic, cultural and religious links of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel are gone. The call to reconstitute in Palestine the national homeland for the Jews, likewise international and likewise affirmed in binding international law, are also conjured out of existence. With the artful use of smoke and mirrors, Sizer portrays Palestinian suffering, Palestinian victimhood and even Palestinian violence as being generated in aggressive, apartheid Zionism.
The Middle East … as seen in Sizer’s Hall of Mirrors: When you were a kid, did you ever stare in amazement at yourself and wonder, a little panicked, just how long your head had resembled a pumpkin … or when your left leg had got so fat … or why your face now looked like an ogre? Welcome to the Hall of Mirrors, where nothing is as it seems. In Sizer’s Middle East, things are just like that. The Palestinians are ready and waiting for statehood; they are governed by moderates; they want to live in peace with the Jews next door; they are keen to negotiate and stick to the terms of their agreements … peace will break out just as soon as those Jews across the border learn to behave themselves and stop throwing their weight around. In Sizer’s sideshow, everything is distorted.
Why does any of it matter? Because truth and peace matter:
Stephen’s Sizer’s participation in the ‘New Horizon Conference’ in Tehran is provocative. He argues that he was there as an ‘ambassador for reconciliation’ and that he is a passionate supporter of Israel’s right to exist … though perhaps not quite so passionate about its right to exist as a Jewish state. It’s difficult to understand how his participation in the conference, alongside out-of-the-closet antisemites and conspiracy theorists, advances the cause of truth or peace. To make matters very much worse, the conference was endorsed by the Iranian government … what was the man thinking about? Unless he was willing and able to make a strong call for deep and profound change in the Islamic world, including a fatwa on the war against Israel and the Jews, Sizer’s participation will have only added a ‘Christian’ bauble to a vicious, deluded talkfest that was no more about peace than it was about truth.
Rev Sizer’s comments about the conference on his website do not ameliorate our concerns; three examples:
1. He explains that ‘The conference addressed issues where faith and politics intersect in the Middle East such as Israel’s war on Gaza.’ Really? Israel’s war on Gaza?? Here is a cogent example of the Sizer Hall of Mirrors: no mention of Hamas crimes against humanity; their deliberate targeting of civilians; the tunnels built with EU money and custom designed for Gazan death squads to launch unspeakable acts of barbarism from. No referencing of anything other than Israeli aggression, Israeli war mongering and Israeli murder of Palestinian children. Shame on you Reverend!
2. ‘Zionism,’ he enlightens us is ‘that secular distortion of Judaism that itself is racist, and has been used as a pretext to dispossess and kill Palestinians.’ He will not reveal the fact that the international community has affirmed and enacted binding laws to legitimate the very tenets of Zionism which so outrage him. The starkly tragic fact of persistent Arab rejection of every 2-state proposal and the ambitions of genocidal Palestinians are simply ‘disappeared’ using his masterful sleight of hand. Shame on you Reverend!
3. Finally and most egregiously, Sizer records that the Tehran conference issued a resolution which condemned both ISIS and Zionism. Now at this point, his position moves from the absurd and disingenuous to something approaching treachery. The resolution is an appalling, dangerous calumny arising from an obsessive pathology of Jew-hatred and Sizer should be attacking it, not crowing about it. What motivates a Christian leader to endorse such invective? Shame on you Reverend!
So why does Size-r matter? Because with his warm, pleasant manner Sizer morphs a radical agenda into something approaching homely common sense, something many good, kind people can relate to and endorse. But he is in fact dismembering truth and mutilating peace … and that matters.
Rev Arthur and Sue Comery
Arthur Comery is a retired Anglican Priest
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