Saturday, 20 April 2013

Tanas Alqassis on Palestine, Zionism and anti-Semitism

Dear Bishop Christopher,

I have known Stephen for over 10 years and have learned so much from him, he have been and still a very close friend of the Palestinians and specifically the Christian Palestinians. I know him as a kind, gentle and godly man, who speaks the truth and seeks justice for the Palestinians.

For many years many of us Palestinians Christian did not even bother to look at end time theology or even study it, we were always told by many Christian Zionists that we are a stumbling block in God's plan for the Jewish people. I know that I felt let down by God and could not understand what would he favour someone over me, I am also His child.

During all of these years not many Christians stood beside us nor I heard them speak against Christian Zionism.

Stephen have opened our eyes and also challenged the Christian Zionists, not in hate but in rethinking what it means to be brother and sister and carry our responsibilities toward each other. He spoke on behalf of the one that could not speak.

I myself been called anti-Semitic just because I opposed the wrong doing that Israel is doing to the Palestinians. The Jewish lobby does not want us to criticise, speak against human right violations or be able to live a normal life.

They do not even want us to associate ourselves with any person that does not support Israel. It is like as believers we should not be with any non-believers because then we could be considered wicked. I spend most of the time with people who do not believe in God so that I can reach them for the Lord.

I hope that no action will be taken against Stephen, he is a wonderful brother and friend that is loved by many Palestinians. I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Blessings and thanks,

Tanas Alqassis
Chairman, Arab Vision International



Forty similar letters from:

Tanas Alqassis, Chairman, Arab Vision International
Revd Andrew Ashdown, Enham Team Rector and Trustee of Embrace the Middle East
Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
Fr Robert Assaly, Priest in the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa
Dr Bishara Awad, Founder and President Emeritus, Bethlehem Bible College
Dr Mark Braverman,
Author of the Fatal Embrace
Canon Dr Mike Butterworth, former Academic Registrar, Oak Hill College
David Carter
, Director, Middle East Evangelical Concern
Anne Clayton, Coordinator, Friends of Sabeel UK
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Professor Emeritus of Judaism, University of Wales
Michael Connarty MP, Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Katherine Cunningham, Moderator, IPMN, Presbyterian Church USA
Dr Martin Davie, Theological Advisor to the House of Bishops
Professor Philip Davies, Department of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
Adam Estle, Executive Director of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding
Right Revd John Gladwin, former Bishop of Guildford and Chairman of Citizens Advice
Tony Greenstein, Founding Member, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Professor Mary Grey, Emeritus Professor of Theology, University of Wales
Dr Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Hank Hanegraaff, President, Christian Research Institute
Revd Phil Hill, Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary
Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder, Amos Trust
Dr Ghada Karmi, Fellow of the Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies, Exeter University
Manfred W. Kohl, Ambassador, Overseas Council
Dr Attorney Jonathan Kuttab, Chairman of the Board, Bethlehem Bible College
Venerable Michael Lawson, Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council
Anne Martin, member of Christ Church, Virginia Water
Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive, Embrace the Middle East
Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan
Diana Neslen, Ex-officio, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Professor Ilan Pappe, Director, European Centre for Palestine Studies, Exeter University
Revd Chris Rose, Director of the Amos Trust
Canon John Salter, Vice Chair, Garden Tomb Association
Revd Jack Sara, President, Bethlehem Bible College
Rabbi Dr Stanley Howard Schwartz, Hospice Chaplain and retired Army Chaplain
David Toorawa, Chair, Friends of Sabeel UK
Revd Dr Donald Wagner, National Director, Friends of Sabeel North America
Revd John Woodger, Retired vicar, 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)
And see also these articles from other news sources:

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
Jews for Justice for Palestinians Digging for dirt: the campaign against Stephen Sizer
Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Jeremiah's Underpants
Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Dr Sizer is cleared