By RYAN JONES, ISRAEL TODAY—
The Church of England has launched an investigation into charges of anti-Semitism made against one of its more controversial vicars, Dr. Stephen Sizer.
Sizer, it would seem, has joined the ranks of what the Americans call “truthers” – those who insist that the truth has been concealed regarding who was behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Most truthers promote theories that the US government itself was behind the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. But Sizer has endorsed a smaller group of truthers who, in medieval blood libel fashion, say the Jews did it.
Sizer this week posted to Facebook a link to an article titled “9/11 Israel did it.” In text accompanying the link, Sizer wondered, “Is this anti-Semitic?” Whether or not it is didn’t seem to matter to Sizer, in whose mind the link in question “raises so many questions.”
Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, echoed the outrage felt by most of those familiar with Sizer’s antics. “Posting, and giving approval to, an article which in effect accuses Jews of responsibility for the 9/11 atrocity is unquestionably anti-Semitic, just as it is beyond absurd,” Arkush told Jewish News.
As protests mounted, Sizer quickly removed the Facebook post, but not before a number of people saved screenshots and filed complaints with the Church of England.
A spokesman for the Church of England was quoted in British media as calling Sizer’s remarks “unacceptable whenever they were posted,” but especially egregious given that this past week marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the foremost symbol of the Nazi Holocaust.
An unrepentant Sizer told London’s Telegraph that he was merely “encouraging debate.”
It was not the first time Sizer had gotten himself into trouble by bashing Israel to the point of being anti-Semitic. In 2013, following an earlier investigation by the Church of England, Sizer agreed to tone down his rhetoric and be more thoughtful about which links he posts in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But last October, Sizer was at it again, participating in a conference in Tehran where Iranian and foreign scholars debated the “Zionist” involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks. Sizer later denied officially endorsing the conference, but also defended it as not being an anti-Semitic affair.
Sizer has also been a regular organizer, lecturer and panelist at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference hosted by Bethlehem Bible College. The bi-annual event has been characterized by what amounts to Replacement Theology and a general attitude that Israel and its Christian supporters are to blame for most, if not all the woes in this region