Rev. Nick Howard writes at Harry's Place:
The word ‘racist’ probably brings to mind a skinhead with a snarling face. But this image can blind us to the presence of well-spoken racists in very respectable jobs, who can capitalise on their social status to inflict more serious long-term damage than their counterparts on the streets. A prime example of this is one of my fellow Anglicans, Rev Stephen Sizer, vicar of Christ Church Virginia Water. It hardly needs saying that I would only make such a serious charge on the basis of convincing evidence, and having already pursued the official means of complaint without success.
On October 4th Rev Sizer posted a link on his Facebook page to a website called ‘The Ugly Truth’. The website doesn’t even attempt to conceal its anti-Semitism. It recently greeted its visitors with the Jew-as-Dracula cartoon reproduced below.
Jewish people have been characterised as metaphorical and literal blood-suckers for hundreds of years – and have frequently been slaughtered as a result. It’s not hard to see why ‘The Ugly Truth’ selected this cartoon to illustrate its vile scaremongering about ‘Global Zionism with its Exploitative Financial Institutions, National Debts and Permanent Wars’. But this cartoon is no one-off, as demonstrated by the other images below – which if anything are even more appalling. The entire purpose of this website is to demonstrate that ‘Zionism [is] making our world uninhabitable today’. It charges the Jews with:
‘The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The daily murder of Palestinian children “for sport”. Harvesting organs from Gentiles at gunpoint. Economic exploitation/ruination. De-moralizing entire swaths of civilization through unchallenged Jewish domination of the media. The complete corruption of every political office from the president to the town dog catcher.’
One article is simply titled, ‘God how I hate these people’. In response to a warning that the President of Iran is three months away from being able to fire a nuclear weapon at Israel, ‘The Ugly Truth’ says
‘Three months??? We have to wait THAT long??? Personally, It will be the best night of sleep I will have had in a long time, the moment when I know unequivocally that his “finger is on the button”. It will be the day wherein the seeds of peace are sown and the rest of us can breathe a little easier.’
Here are some further images from the Ugly Truth blog that Sizer recommends:
This is the website that Rev Sizer has encouraged his Facebook friends to visit – without any word of warning, apology or qualification.
Last year Bishop Pete Broadbent was suspended for posting offensive comments about the impending royal wedding on Facebook. Surely this established a precedent that should now be followed with Rev Sizer? And since Sizer’s use of Facebook is so much more offensive and serious, shouldn’t the action taken against him by the Church be correspondingly more severe? I put this to Bishop Christopher Hill, Rev Sizer’s diocesan bishop.
He replied by saying,
‘I see nothing which would merit disciplinary matters, not least because differing political opinions are definitely exempted from disciplinary proceedings in the Church of England according to the Clergy Disciplinary Measure.’
The complacency of this response is truly astonishing. The material on ‘The Ugly Truth’ bears comparison with the propaganda published in Germany in the 1930s. Would Bishop Hill excuse that, too, on the basis of the expression of ‘political opinions’? If not, why does he use that argument in this case? Rev Sizer has drawn the attention of his 850 Facebook friends to a racist website. The Clergy Discipline Measure covers any ‘conduct that is unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of the clergy.’ If Rev Sizer’s conduct does not fall into that category it’s hard to imagine what behaviour actually would.
This is not the first time that Rev Sizer has posted a link on Facebook to an anti-Semitic website: on July 2nd he recommended the Palestine Telegraph, a similarly poisonous site – at the time of writing, one of its headlines is: ‘Organ gangs force poor to sell kidneys to Israelis’, and its lead cartoon is a Jew-as-Dracula image by the notorious anti-Semitic cartoonist Latuff. More significantly still, Rev Sizer has a long track record of behaviour that shows his recommendation of these websites is not out of character. The following evidence will, I am confident, overcome any remaining scepticism about the reality of his anti-Semitism.
There are certain foul boxes that anti-Semites have a habit of ticking. Sadly, Rev Sizer ticks them all.
To begin with, one of the most long-running and virulent components of anti-Semitism is the portrayal of all Jewish people everywhere as Christ-killers. On Rev Sizer’s website there’s a gallery of photographs of Israeli soldiers, titled ‘Herod’s Soldiers Operating in Bethlehem Today’.
Herod was the king who ordered the massacre of every baby boy in the vicinity of Bethlehem, from new-borns to two year-olds, with the intention of murdering the Christ. As soon as you put a Jew in a soldier’s uniform, Rev Sizer is saying, you’ve got both a child-killer and a would-be Christ-killer.
Another feature of anti-Semitism is the belief, disseminated by the infamous forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion, that Jewish people or companies seek to exercise a shadowy control over world affairs. Earlier this year Rev Sizer ticked that box.
He promoted, via an interview on his blog, a boycott of McDonalds, Coca-Cola, L’Oréal and Nestlé, four of the world’s biggest and best-known companies, on the basis that they ‘channel their profits to the Zionist agenda.’ These are all publicly listed companies, open to any investor, which pay their profits to shareholders through dividends. Since a boycott of those companies wouldn’t affect Israel politically or economically – as Sizer knows very well – the purpose of this boycott must simply be to spread the lie among the easily-misled that four of the world’s biggest companies are secretly participating in a global Zionist conspiracy. Only an anti-Semite would promote that kind of sinister and totally false propaganda.
During the last ten years anti-Semites have conceived and promoted the utterly ridiculous notion that Israel was in some way responsible for 9/11. This has now become a central plank of modern anti-Semitism. Here too, Sizer gladly plays his part.
On p. 251 of his book, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon?, there is a footnote encouraging readers to look at an article that alleges Israeli complicity in 9/11. Again, as with his Facebook link to ‘The Ugly Truth’, there is no warning, apology or qualification – nor is there any citation of material putting across the standard view of 9/11 accepted by everyone else in the world.
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