Sunday, 23 December 2012

Professor Scott Elias on spurious anti-Semitic allegations

Dear Bishop Christopher,

I am a Professor of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, and have been a member of Christ Church, Virginia Water since 2000. During the last decade I have been both a member of the PCC and PC secretary at Christ Church. I have come to know the Reverend Stephen Sizer quite well during my time there. I am writing to you to express my support for Stephen, in the face of attacks on his character by Pro-Israel groups. Their accusation that Stephen is anti-Semitic is both spurious and unfounded.

Stephen has worked tirelessly to bring peace and reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians in Israel and Palestine. He believes that the way forward is for Israel to dismantle the walls they have erected to separate themselves from the Palestinians, and for them to give back property they have taken from the Palestinians in recent decades. There are a great many Jews, both in Israel and elsewhere, who believe the same way, and espouse the same cause as Stephen Sizer, yet no one labels them as anti-Semitic. Over the past twelve years I have held a great many conversations with Stephen concerning the situation in Israel/Palestine. Not once have I heard him voice any anti-Semitic opinions. In fact, quite the opposite is true. He has a real heart for the Jews. He just happens to believe that the only way the Jews can achieve a lasting peace with their neighbours is to dismantle the partitioning of the country, and to give the Palestinians a homeland they can truly call their own. He seeks peace and justice for all peoples of the Holy Land. Could there be a more Christian attitude to take?

Sincerely yours,

Scott Elias, PhD

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