Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dr Donald Wagner refutes allegations of anti-Semitism

18th December 2012

Dear Bishop Christopher:  

Grace and peace to you and may the light of Advent guide us in overcoming the darkness.  The Middle East is often clouded by darkness, particularly in the regions under Israeli occupation that yearn for justice and peace.  

I am writing in support of my colleage Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer, who is a respected voice for the poor and challenges injustice across the Middle East.  I have known and worked with Stephen for nearly 15 years and have the utmost respect for his writing, pastoral ministry, and his speaking around the globe on behalf of the victims of persecution and human rights violations.  

His critique of Israel's policies vs. Palestinians is specific and legitimate, and of course is never welcomed by those who strive to cover-up the abuses of power.  

Stephen's voice must be safe-guarded and encouraged.  His challenges are consistent with those levelled by the pre-eminent Israeli human rights organization "B'Tselem," which of course translates as "in the image of", the image of God that we are called to honour and safeguard in all human beings.  

Dr. Sizer is within this tradition.  I sincerely hope that you will support his mission and ministry.  

In grace and peace, 

Rev. Dr. Don Wagner,  
Chicago, IL  

(National Program Director of Friends of Sabeel--North America)

See also letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
Dr Mark Braverman, Author of the Fatal Embrace
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Lampeter University
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Katherine Cunningham, Moderator, IPMN, Presbyterian Church USA
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
Tony Greenstein, Founding Member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Professor Mary Grey, Patron, Friends of Sabeel UK
Dr Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Revd Phil Hill, Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary
Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder of the Amos Trust
Dr Ghada Karmi, Exeter University
Manfred W. Kohl, Ambassador Overseas Council
Venerable Michael Lawson, Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council
Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive, Embrace the Middle East
Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Professor Ilan Pappe, Exeter University
Rabbi Dr Stanley Howard Schwartz, Hospice Chaplain and retired Army Chaplain
Revd Dr Donald Wagner, National Director, Friends of Sabeel North America
Revd John Woodger, Retired vicar of St Mary's Watford

Anthony Julius is chairman of the London Consortium and a Visiting Professor at Birbeck College, University of London. His book Trials of the Diaspora, is a magisterial 800 page examination of the history of Anti-Semitism in England. In the final chapter which deals with the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, Julius writes,

"He has recently explained, however, that he 'categorically reject[s] any position that threatens the territorial integrity of Israel as a sovereign nation.... Stephen Sizer's work has the merit of clearly setting out the issues that divide the two sides, and furthermore doing so without the rancour or sheer nastiness of tone typical of the polemics in the conflict." (p.571)
It is ironic that much of the "rancour or sheer nastiness" comes from Zionists unable to distinguish between two.

And see also these articles from other sources:

Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Jeremiah's Underpants
Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Dr Sizer is cleared
Church of England Newspaper: Sizer complaint
Church Times:  Vicar is not Anti-Semitic
Church Times:  Rabbi Clears Vicar of Anti-Semitism
Jewish Chronicle: Bishop: anti-Zionist vicar ‘no antisemite’
Jewish Chronicle:  Sizer: I am ready to meet the Board of Deputies any time