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October 16, 2018 10:13 am

‘Christ at Checkpoint’ Hosting Antisemitic Speaker at Oklahoma ‘Peacemaking’ Confab

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A nun hurries by the separation wall toward the checkpoint from Jerusalem on her way to the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem on December 11, 2008. Photo: Yossi Zamir/Flash90.

JNS.org – The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has condemned organizers and planners of the “Christ at the Checkpoint” Conference for hosting Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer, a well-known purveyor of anti-Zionist and antisemitic conspiracy theories.

The conference is currently taking place in Oklahoma City as part of the organization’s concerted effort to turn Middle America away from supporting Israel.

One of the key points in the Christ at the Checkpoint ‘manifesto’ is that, “for Palestinian Christians, the occupation is the core issue of the conflict.”

“Sizer’s presence at a ‘peacemaking’ conference hosted in part by the United Methodist Church Foundation in Oklahoma is a shock,” said Dexter Van Zile, senior Christian media analyst for CAMERA. “Sizer’s animus toward Israel and his disdain for Jews is well-documented. He has demonized Israel and its supporters in the US before audiences in Iran and Malaysia. He has posted antisemitic links on his social media accounts.”

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Sizer retired as a priest in the Church of England after a series of scandals prompted church officials to instruct him to remain silent about issues related to the Middle East. After retiring, he participated in a pro-Hezbollah conference that took place earlier this year in London.

“Sizer promotes a theological and political antisemitism that has made Jewish life increasingly difficult in England,” said Van Zile. “Why are Oklahoman Methodists helping to import his message to America’s heartland?”

He also posted a link in 2015 to a 9/11 conspiracy theory article titled, “9/11 Israel did it,” and attended a 2014 conference in Iran devoted to promoting Holocaust denial. Panel discussions at the conference included “Zionist fingerprints on the 9/11 cover-up,” and “US-Israeli dual citizens working in the interest of Israel: the case for treachery.”

“Christ at the Checkpoint has long been a forum for bigots and antisemites,” said Yona Schiffmiller, director of the North America desk at NGO Monitor. “Predictably, this gathering seems poised to follow in that dubious tradition. The decision to give a platform to a 9/11 conspiracy theorist—a participant in Iranian Holocaust-denial conferences—and to those who try to engage avowed terrorist organizations in ‘non-violence training’ exemplifies the radical agenda of this gathering’s organizers.”

Despite his troubled past, Sizer is scheduled to speak on Oct. 17 at the conference organized by officials from Bethlehem Bible College in the West Bank and staffers from the United Methodist Church Foundation in Oklahoma.

“Sizer has encouraged his followers to visit explicitly antisemitic websites,” said Van Zile. “Do conference organizers truly think that he is a ‘peacemaker?’”

Local Christians affiliated with the United Methodist Church Foundation in Oklahoma, who helped organize the “Christ at the Checkpoint” Conference, should have prevailed upon Palestinian Christians from the West Bank to keep Sizer off the agenda.

“Sizer was sanctioned by his superiors in the Church of England before his retirement and his books were remaindered by his publishers because of his irresponsible posts and undeniable animus,” said Van Zile. “Prominent Methodists played a significant role in organizing and publicizing this conference. Why are they helping Sizer get a stage in the US when his own church and book publishers decided to keep him at arm’s length?

He added that “for Christian organizations to assist in the broadcasting of antisemitic conspiracy theories is profoundly irresponsible.”

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