Church of England Bans Priest Found Guilty of Antisemitic Activity
by Algemeiner Staff
A Church of England tribunal has barred a priest who promoted “virulently antisemitic” material from engaging in ministry for a period of 12 years.
The tribunal determined that the Rev. Stephen Sizer, who served a congregation in southern England until his retirement in 2017, will be barred until Dec. 2030. The ban covers the period from 2018, when the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) presented a formal complaint against Sizer and he was suspended accordingly.
Condemning Sizer for conduct “unbecoming to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders,” the tribunal upheld the BoD’s complaint in four instances, the BBC reported. It cited articles that Sizer had promoted online asserting that Israel was responsible for the September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda terrorist attacks in the US and another piece claiming that Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the British Labour Party, was a victim of the “hidden hands of Zionism.”
The tribunal also heard that Sizer had shared a platform with Fred Tobin, a Holocaust denier, at a conference in Indonesia in 2008.
In 2014, The Algemeiner reported on Sizer’s presence at the so-called “New Horizons” conference hosted in Tehran by the Iranian regime. Also attending the same event were the French-Cameroonian provocateur and comedian, Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the originator of the antisemitic “quenelle” gesture; Thierry Meyssan, the French author of a book claiming that the 9/11 atrocities were carried out not by Al Qaeda, but by the US government; Ahmed Rami, a former Moroccan army officer who set up the violently antisemitic “Radio Islam” website based in Sweden; and Manuel Ochsenreiter, a German far-right activist.
On his return from Iran, Sizer angrily rebuked his critics, arguing that “Jesus called his followers to be ambassadors of reconciliation” and warning that those “who criticize this kind of conference must think very carefully of the consequences of their words for Jews and Christians in countries like Iran.”
British Jewish leaders warmly welcomed the ban on Sizer.
“Given that he indulged in ‘antisemitic activity’ and caused grievous offense to the Jewish community over a number of years, this is the correct decision,” Marie van der Zyl, the BoD’s president, told the BBC.
“I am grateful to the Tribunal for hearing our evidence and look forward to a continued strong and close relationship with the Church of England in the coming years,” she said.