Thursday, 31 January 2013

Never Give In

In October 1941, in what was one of the darkest periods in British history, the then Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, visited Harrow School and gave an inspirational speech. Here it is:
Almost a year has passed since I came down here at your Head Master's kind invitation in order to cheer myself and cheer the hearts of a few of my friends by singing some of our own songs.

The ten months that have passed have seen very terrible catastrophic events in the world—ups and downs, misfortunes— but can anyone sitting here this afternoon, this October afternoon, not feel deeply thankful for what has happened in the time that has passed and for the very great improvement in the position of our country and of our home?

Why, when I was here last time we were quite alone, desperately alone, and we had been so for five or six months. We were poorly armed. We are not so poorly armed today; but then we were very poorly armed. We had the unmeasured menace of the enemy and their air attack still beating upon us, and you yourselves had had experience of this attack; and I expect you are beginning to feel impatient that there has been this long lull with nothing particular turning up!

But we must learn to be equally good at what is short and sharp and what is long and tough. It is generally said that the British are often better at the last. They do not expect to move from crisis to crisis; they do not always expect that each day will bring up some noble chance of war; but when they very slowly make up their minds that the thing has to be done and the job put through and finished, then, even if it takes months—if it takes years—they do it.

Another lesson I think we may take, just throwing our minds back to our meeting here ten months ago and now, is that appearances are often very deceptive, and as Kipling well says, we must "...meet with Triumph and Disaster. And treat those two impostors just the same."

You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination.

But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period—I am addressing myself to the School—surely from this period of ten months, this is the lesson:

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.

Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.

You sang here a verse of a School Song: you sang that extra verse written in my honor, which I was very greatly complimented by and which you have repeated today. But there is one word in it I want to alter—I wanted to do so last year, but I did not venture to. It is the line: "Not less we praise in darker days."

I have obtained the Head Master's permission to alter darker to sterner. "Not less we praise in sterner days."

Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.
 May it be as inspirational to you as it is to me.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Jerusalem

During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ecumenical celebrations were held throughout the Christian churches in Jerusalem. The Theme for the week was “What Does the Lord Require of Us?”

On Sunday, Jan. 20, a 5 p.m. Evening Service in celebration of the week of prayer was held at the Anglican Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Jerusalem. The theme for Sunday was ‘Walking in Conversation,’ based on the Road to Emmaus story from Luke 24.

Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani welcomed the large Christian congregation and spoke of the fellowship amongst the heads of churches in Jerusalem, how “we often walk together and share our common interests and concerns.”

Dawani spoke about the importance of “our care for and protection of Christian holy sites to ensure that Christian pilgrims of every denomination, and from around the world, can come to the Holy Land and experience the places sacred to the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord.”

Dawani said that “among our many important concerns and responsibilities is our mutual sense of urgency about the dwindling presence of Christians here in the Land of the Holy One. Not so long ago, indigenous Christians were more than 20 percent of the population. Today we are less than 2 percent. Christian faithful have been in Jerusalem since the First Pentecost, and we must ensure we remain present and faithful witnesses here till our Lord comes again.”

Dawani reminded the congregation that Christians in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East “have been peacemakers, building a bridge of understanding, tolerance, and acceptance between diverse peoples. The peace we seek and pursue is one with justice at its core. We are the voice of the voiceless and our voice needs to be heard here and around the world, as we remind Christians and non-Christians alike, that God demands justice for all God’s children.”

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, he said, “is answered in our context by being bold in our witness to our Lord Jesus Christ, of encouraging indigenous Christians to remain in the Holy Land, and of pursuing peace with justice.”

Following the service, The Olive Branch Choir offered a performance of choral works, including Vivaldi’s Gloria and W.A. Mozart‘s Te Deum. The choir includes Palestinian Christians from Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala and a number of resident foreigners. The director and accompanist for the choir is Fr. Aurelio Mule Stagno.

The theme of the Week of Prayer 2013 was prepared in India. It was decided that in a context of great injustice to Dalits (“outcasts”) in India and in the church, the search for visible unity cannot be dissociated from the dismantling of the caste system and a greater appreciation of the contribution of the poorest of the poor to unity.

The brochure for 2013 is available here.

Monday, 28 January 2013

How the Nazis Escaped Justice


Coinciding with Holocaust Memorial Day and the 80th anniversary of the Nazi accession to power, Tony Paterson writes in the Independent, How the Nazis escaped justice based on the findings of a new book by German historian Daniel Stahl, Nazi Hunt: South America’s Dictatorships and the Avenging of Nazi Crimes.

Patterson writes, "As the world falls silent in memory of the Holocaust, a new book reveals how many of its architects were helped to live out their days in South America."

Of Stahl's book he writes,
It comes to the shameful conclusion that key officials on both continents, including the courts, police and governments, were reluctant to track down Nazi war criminals and even spent decades actively preventing their prosecution...

Official reluctance also prevented the arrest of one of the world’s worst Nazi war criminals, the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele who carried out hundreds of brutal medical experiments on patients at Auschwitz concentration camp. Attempts were made to track Mengele down in 1960 following rumours that he was hiding in Brazil or Chile. Yet he was never found.

Stahl concludes in his book that Mengele was never caught because French police officers employed by Interpol refused to conduct searches for war criminals because they were implicated as Nazi collaborators.
Paterson concludes
Yet evidence revealing how a “coalition of the unwilling” prevented Hitler’s henchmen from facing justice continues to emerge. Just two years ago, leaked German intelligence files revealed that for a decade before he was caught, the West German government knew that Adolf Eichmann – the Nazi SS officer responsible for organising the Holocaust – was hiding in South America. Mossad eventually tracked down and kidnapped him in Argentina in 1960. He was flown to Israel where he was convicted of crimes against humanity and hanged in 1962.
Read more here

See also Felix Bohr War Crimes: How Nazis Escaped Justice in South America

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Books of the Bible


The Books of the Bible is a revolutionary new presentation of Scripture that strips away centuries of artificial formatting, leaving behind nothing but pure Bible text.

The result is a Bible unlike any other available today — and more like the original Scriptures. The Books of the Bible is specially designed to be read from start to finish.

We have been blessed by it as a staff team at Christ Church in Virginia Water and will be commending it to the whole Church family during Lent.

To order your copy or for more information see Biblica

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Displaced in Diaspora: Palestinians in Iraq


The film, Displaced in Diaspora, premièred in London this weekend, tells the tragic account of the cycle of exile and expulsion faced by Palestinian refugees from Iraq. It is a deeply disturbing story that must be heard.

Following the US led invasion of Iraq, sectarian violence led to 35,000 Palestinians being forced into exile for a second time. The UNHCR sought to find a new home for them. Tragically, few countries were willing to help. Even those that did receive limited numbers invariably refused to accept whole families so husbands became separated from wives and children and from elderly parents or siblings. Most continue to live in poverty with the daily trauma of displacement.

Produced by Al-Jazeera and the Palestinian Return Centre, and directed by Jamel Dallali, the documentary follows the plight of these Palestinians beginning with an historical look at their flight from Palestine during the Nakba of 1948, their perilous situation during the invasion of Iraq, and subsequent search for a safe haven in countries including Syria, Brazil, India, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Many of those exiled to Syria are once again on the move as a result of the civil war there.

Angelina Jolie urges support for Syrian refugees and Iraqi returnees



Thursday, 24 January 2013

Connection Awarded 4th Place in National Parish Magazine Competition

Our parish magazine, Connection, is a 48 page monthly publication with a print run of 3,000 copies. It is professionally produced in full colour with a contemporary, modern design and is printed on high quality recycled paper by our Christian printers.

We have a dedicated team of regular, well-qualified contributors who submit informative, interesting articles and pictures covering a wide range of topics, from church matters to local education, community policing, culture, local ecology and local organisations. We have a free Noticeboard section in the middle of the magazine which gives local news updates with timings of upcoming local events and publicity for good causes. Production costs are more than covered by our advertisers (meeting local needs is more important to us than making a profit) and the magazine is delivered free to homes and businesses in the parish by our wonderful team of volunteers.

We have long felt that our magazine resonates with both the multi-faith and secular communities of Virginia Water and we consider it to be a valuable outreach tool. It was therefore a most welcome accolade to be placed 4th out of 890 in the 2012 National Parish Magazine Awards with our first entry.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Kairos Palestine and BADIL Report: Palestinian Christians - Ongoing forcible displacement and dispossession


For over 2000 years, the city of Jerusalem and the town of Bethlehem have held a deeply significant, enduring connection with one another. This connection is forged by cornerstone events of the Christian faith – those of the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ – but also by virtue of geographical proximity and the strong relationships between the Christian communities there, and in the surrounding areas.

However, the Israeli military occupation of Palestine and the accompanying construction of the illegal Annexation Wall and its associated regime have served to fracture this connection, with Jerusalem and Bethlehem now physically separated on opposing sides of a barrier which is impregnable to the majority of the Palestinian Christian community.

This paper seeks first to draw attention to the forcible displacement of the Palestinian people and the resulting human impact on the overall population, with a particular focus on the Christians and second to call for action to end this practice.

For this purpose, a general overview of the situation will be provided, alongside a series of case studies concerning the personal experiences of Christian families in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Finally, the paper will present recommendations on the issue at hand. Each case study will seek to explore and explain a key issue, with each supported by powerful testimony from members of the Palestinian Christian population.

These testimonies are drawn from extensive interviews conducted between August-October 2012 by Kairos Palestine and BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency Rights and Refugee Rights.

Download the report here

See also from Embrace the Middle East: The Forgotten Faithful

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Christ Church Virginia Water in Snow


Britain's Legacy in Palestine: PRC Annual Conference

I was delighted to participate in the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) annual conference yesterday. The theme was "Britain's Legacy in Palestine"

There was an impressive line-up of speakers including Professor Uri Davis, Dr Ghada Karmi, Martin Linton, Sabbah Al Mukhtar, John Bond, Alison Weir, Jeremy Corbyn and others. See here for photos of the speakers.
 
I gave a paper on the Theological and Ideological Roots of the Balfour Declaration. John Bond compared and contrasted the "Sorry Campaign" in Australia with the Palestinian claims and Sabbah Al Mukhtar and Martin Linton considered the "Mau Mau Case" in Kenya and their legal fight for compensation.

The conference was opened by Ambassador Manuel Hassassian and I was asked to give the closing summary and challenge.

Check out the PRC website for transcripts and videos of the presentations and here for photos from the conference


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Hong Kong at Night



For more videos of Hong Kong see here

For photographs of Hong Kong see here

Three Inalienable Rights and Responsibilities

I believe we have three inalienable rights from God which no government can legislate against:

1. The right to express our faith in God
2. The right to change our faith in God
3. The right to share our faith in God

I believe we have three inalienable responsibilities from God which no government can legislate against:

1. The responsibility to respect the expression of faith in God
2. The responsibility to defend those who change their faith in God
3. The responsibility to learn from those who share their faith in God


See 15 Years in Jail: Egyptian family charged for attempting to restore Christian names

See also Open Doors and Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Friday, 18 January 2013

Seven Biblical Answers now in Chinese

A Chinese version of  Seven Biblical Answers to Popular Zionist Assumptions, based on my book Zion's Christian Soldiers is now available here.

A simplified Chinese edition is also available here.

The Chinese version was kindly translated by Lo Yuk Fai.

Presentations of 'Seven Biblical Answers to Popular Zionist Assumptions' were delivered recently at Macau Bible Institute, Swatow Christian Church in Kowloon City, and All Saints Cathedral, Kowloon.

See more photos of recent visits to China here

See also:

Seven Bible Studies : Seven Biblical Answers : Seven Biblical Answers Video

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Dr Martin Davie Responds to anti-Semitism Allegations

14 January 2012

Dear Bishop Christopher

I am writing to you to offer my support to the Revd Dr Stephen Sizer in the face of the accusations of anti-semitism that have been made against him.

When I was on the staff at Oak Hill College I helped to supervise Stephen’s Middlesex University PhD thesis on Christian Zionism alongside the Revd Dr Michael Butterworth and Dr Alan Storkey. It was clear from his thesis that Stephen had strong theological reservations about Christian Zionism, both in terms of its theological basis and in terms of its harmful impact on contemporary politics in America and the Middle East. At no stage, however, was there any indication that his opposition to many aspects of Christian Zionism was driven by anti-semitism. Had there been any such indication those of us who were supervising him would have refused to continue working with him on his thesis and Middlesex University would have refused to grant him his doctorate.

Nothing I have learned about Stephen’s subsequent work has led me to change my original assessment of his position. He is supportive of the Palestinian cause and critical of many aspects of Christian Zionism, but there is nothing to suggest that he is anti-semitic

He is a good scholar and someone who cares deeply about the need for peace in the Middle East. I very much regret the accusations that have been made against him and I hope that his name will soon be cleared.

With all best wishes

Yours sincerely

Dr Martin Davie
Theological Adviser to the House of Bishops


Other letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
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
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
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 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:

Jews for Justice for Palestinians One link does not equal antisemitism
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

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

One link does not equal antisemitism

By JfJfP postings editor
January 14, 2013

The most recent denunciation of Stephen Sizer is in Harry’s Place, a website which seems to exist for the sole purpose of witch-hunting. Its research into who or what is antisemitic seems to consists entirely of finding critics of Israel who have inadvertently, ignorantly, foolishly, used material which links to a genuine antisemitic website. (The trouble with all blogs is that they are the one form of publication in which there are no editors or sub-editors to check for appropriateness, readability, accuracy, consistency, spelling, grammar, defamation…)

On January 8th Harry’s Place published Stephen Sizer and an antisemitic website. This refers to a long and serious document by Sizer, Child Abuse: Palestinian Children in Israeli Prisons. At 12 pages long, and some 5,000 words, the only words of note which Harry’s Place found were three at the end: Welcome in Palestine (WiP). This is the antisemitic link.

At first sight, WiP is a standard website documenting the abuses of Palestinians’ human rights. These, and no antisemitic links or material, feature on its homepage. However if you search – and you have to search – there is a most obnoxious page promoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the notorious forgery/hoax about a world Jewish conspiracy, probably produced by the Tsarist secret police in 1903. This was the Warrant for Genocide discussed by Norman Cohn in his book of the same name.

Does that one link make a document or a person, antisemitic?

These are the people and sources which Stephen Sizer links to, mentions and actually quotes in Children in Palestine:

● Benjamin Netanyahu

● Mark Regev

● spokesmen for the IDF

● ‘Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

● “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

● Defence of Children International (DCI) : Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted: Children held in military detention. The report is the culmination of four year’s work by DCI, with the support of the European Union, focusing on verifying reports of ill-treatment and torture of children in the Israeli military detention system.

● DCI 2011: Voices from East Jerusalem: the Situation Facing Palestinian Children , numerous case studies of children abused by the Israeli army. See www.dci-pal.org for more information.

● B’Tselem 4 Dec 2012, 12 October 2012: Unlawful detention for questioning of boy under age of criminal responsibility

● The report funded by the UK Foreign Office: Children in military custody. The report found that Israel is in breach of a series of articles under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Fourth Geneva Convention. This report was covered in the UK by:

● The Independent – Nothing resonates like the mistreatment of minors

● The Independent – UK ready to take on Israel over fate of children clapped in irons

● The Guardian – Israel subjecting Palestinian children to ‘spiral of injustice’

● Channel 4 News – Israel ‘breaches rights of Palestinian children’

● The Jewish Chronicle – Israel ‘in breach of international law’ over child detainees Palestinian children

● [And JfJfP Lawyers’ report indicts Israel over treatment of child prisoners]

No Minor Matter: Violation of the Rights of Palestinian Minors Arrested by Israel on Suspicion of Stone-Throwing, July 2011 , B’Tselem report on Israel’s violation of the international convention on the rights of the child, which Israel has ratified, and the fourth Geneva convention.

● Several British parliamentary delegations have witnessed child hearings at Ofer [prison] , Lord Alf Dubs reported back to the House of Lords last May, saying: “We saw a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old, one of them in tears, both looking absolutely bewildered … I do not believe this process of humiliation represents justice. I believe that the way in which these young people are treated is in itself an obstacle to the achievement by Israel of a peaceful relationship with the Palestinian people.”

● Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan. witnessed the trial of a shackled 14-year-old at Ofer last month, found the experience distressing. “In five minutes he had been found guilty of stone-throwing and was sentenced to nine months.”

Coerced False Confessions: The Case of Palestinian Children: Psychiatric Expert Opinion By Graciela Carmon, a child psychiatrist and member of Physicians for Human Rights. She said that children were particularly vulnerable to providing a false confession under coercion.

● The YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) in Beit Sahour.

Monday, 14 January 2013

My Jihad: What's Yours?



During the Jan 25 revolution in 2011, Kasr el Dobarah Presbyterian church in Cairo opened its doors for treating the wounded and caring for people in Tahrir Square irrespective of whether they were Muslims or Christians. Next to that church there is a mosque that did the same thing.

On January 7, the Christmas day in Egypt, the Imam of the mosque in Tahrir Square area and many from his mosque walked to the church to visit and to celebrate Christmas with the Christians in Egypt.

The video is 13 minutes long in Arabic with subtitles in English and was originally shown on Sat7.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Craig Murray Responds to anti-Semitism Allegations

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. Today he published an article Defend Stephen Sizer

Stephen Sizer has been active for many years in areas of humanitarian concern for the Palestinian population. I was with him on my recent trip to Baghdad, and I am convinced he is a good man.
Stephen is a Church of England vicar. He is under huge pressure at the moment as he is under a formal complaint from the Board of Deputies of British Jews to the Church of England on a charge of anti-semitism. This is very serious indeed and could lead to the loss of both his job and his home.

The essence of the long complaint is that he has posted links on his website to other websites which contain anti-semitic material. It is not alleged that he has linked to material which is itself anti-semitic; but that elsewhere on websites linked to there is such material.

That may or may not be true. But in the real world, the idea that in posting a link to an article you are endorsing every other article (which in practice you cannot have seen) on a website is nonsensical and would make much current blogging practice impossible.

That Stepehn is not an anti-semite and has not knowingly endorsed anti-semitism, I have no doubt. But what worries me is the growing bravura with which all critics of Israel or supporters of the Palestinians are charged with the – rightfully – damning slur of anti-semitism.

Just as the government of Israel has lurched to the far right, so “official” Jewish institutions in the UK have abandoned their once notable liberalism. The Board of Deputies used to deserve high respect and be a pillar of reason. It is astonishing to me that it has launched this absolutely unfounded attack on an Anglican priest. The Jewish Chronicle has lurched so far to the right as to be off the scale. There seems to be such a disconnect now between these institutions and the views of the Jewish people I know that I hope this state of affairs cannot last."
Craig Murray concludes
It is important that we do not allow the victimisation of those who try to defend the Palestinians to proceed apace. Please do donate anything you can; if you feel able to add a comment saying that you have done so, that might encourage others.
See also The envoy who said too much: Guardian


Other letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
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
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Katherine Cunningham, Moderator, IPMN, Presbyterian Church USA
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
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
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 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:

Jews for Justice for Palestinians One link does not equal antisemitism
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

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Hank Hanegraaff Responds to anti-Semitism Allegations

Dear Bishop Christopher,

Allow me this opportunity to add my voice to the list of noteworthy men and women who have written to you on behalf of Dr. Stephen Sizer. I write in full recognition that the charge leveled at Dr. Sizer is a most serious one. In an age in which Internet lies travel halfway around the world before truth has had the chance to put its boots on, I find it ever more crucial to counter insidious falsehoods such as this one immediately.

Let me first note that I am intimately acquainted with Dr. Sizer's perspectives in that I have read his work exhaustively and have quoted him extensively in major trade publications. I recognize him as a gifted exegete and a much needed voice respecting unnecessary roadblocks erected on the path to peace in the Middle East. He consistently and even-handedly warns against the grievous sin of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism as well as the abomination of turning a blind eye to a Zionist theology that divides people on the basis of race rather than uniting them on the basis of righteousness, justice, and equity.

Moreover, I find it wholly ironic that courageous men such as Dr. Sizer are uncharitably charged with anti-Semitism while precious little is said respecting the unbalanced perspectives of Christian Zionists who communicate that directly following their own glorious rapture a numberless multitude of Jews will be slaughtered in a bloodbath that they say will exceed even the horrors of the Holocaust. Indeed, those who dare question their notion of a pretribulational rapture followed by a Holy Land holocaust, in which the vast majority of Jews perish, are shouted down as peddlers of godless heresy. The ultimate pejorative phrase has even been coined for those who deny the heart of their Zionist eschatology. They are dubbed “replacement theologians” and are said to be guilty of spreading “the message of anti-Semitism.” Indeed, popular dispensationalists are blunt in their denunciations: “Replacement theologians are now carrying Hitler's anointing and his message.” Little wonder then that this charge is now being gratuitously directed at Dr. Sizer.

I am deeply grateful for Dr. Sizer's willingness to stand for truth no matter the cost. He is an example to me and thousands who have listened to his gracious and godly communications on our nationally syndicated radio broadcasts. It is my prayer that you will continue to be a great source of encouragement and support to Dr. Sizer in the days ahead.

Blessings,

Hank Hanegraaff

President
Christian Research Institute
Charlotte, North Carolina

www.equip.org


See other letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
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
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Katherine Cunningham, Moderator, IPMN, Presbyterian Church USA
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
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
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 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:

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

Monday, 7 January 2013

David Carter Responds to anti-Semitism Allegations

31st December 2012


Dear Bishop Christopher,

I am writing with regard to the complaint made by the Board of Deputies of British Jews against Revd. Dr. Stephen Sizer. In the three years I have known him I have never heard or read a word that could be construed as anti-Semitic. The allegation that Stephen has published anti-Semitic material is extremely serious. Having accessed the complaint and evidence from the BoD website and spent some time evaluating it may I make the following comments.

First, the claim by BoD to be the 'representative organisation of the United Kingdom Jewish Community' would be challenged by, for instance, 'Jewish Voice for Peace', 'Jews for Justice for Palestine' and 'Independent Jewish Voices'. So, their claims must be balanced by other Jewish voices who take a different view.

Second, the complainant has to show that the websites Stephen has linked to are anti-Semitic. On this they clearly fail. It is not sufficient to show that they contain material critical of Israel: criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic; it has to be demonstrated that the criticism is applied either to all or a large majority of Jews, as Jews.

Third, the complainants must show that the specific articles to which Stephen provided links are both anti-Semitic and obviously untrue. Not only does the 'Evidence' fail in demonstrating this is it is mendacious. For example, its entry for 14th October 2011 (actually 2010) backed by a screenshot on page 7 of the Appendix refers to a post by Stephen on Helen Thomas. The BoD text is:
“Rev Sizer posted comments on his blog from Helen Thomas, the former White House correspondent forced to retire after telling Jews in Israel to go ‘home’ to Poland, Germany or America. He prefaced the comments with:

“Helen Thomas is one gutsy 90 year old lady to take on the Israel Lobby.” And ended them with “Bring it on.” “
A comparison between what Helen Thomas actually said and what BoD reports her to have said reveals their true colours. She did not tell “Jews in Israel to go 'home'...” she said, (and it's on Stephen's post, “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine”. (we might object to the language but the sentiment is in line with international law!). To be clear, Thomas is referring to Israel in Palestine, not “Jews in Israel”.

As to Stephen's end comment, “bring it on” which BoD wants to link with the “go home” comment; in context it seems much more logically associated with Thomas' desire to “work again”. Perhaps the BoD could be invited to explain why they have distorted the item to read this way?

Fourth, the complainant has to show that, in making these links and comments Stephen did so from a position of racial hatred. It is not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel, nor is it anti-Semitic to criticize individual Jews, or even to criticize a collective of Jews who represent a particular viewpoint, such as Zionist extremism; if such were the case no comment would be possible on anything involving people!

Should you wish I can provide my own analysis of the 'Evidence' and its 'Appendix'. Frankly, I view this complaint as an attempt to silence a godly man who works for peace with justice in the not- so-holy-land. As Christians we are called to speak out against injustice wherever we see it, and we do so echoing Israel's prophets. That is what Stephen does: as critical of anti-Semitism as of Islamophobia. To their shame many of our forebears forgot or ignored the call of righteousness and they persecuted Jews. That wrong cannot be righted by doing injustice to Palestinians.

What the BoD complaint and evidence demonstrate is that any criticism of Israel is regarded as anti-Semitic. That surely is the kind of idolatry that Israel's prophets spoke against. The Board of Deputies is uncomfortable with hearing truth spoken about Israel's behaviour, and want to limit freedom of speech to exclude criticism of Israel. This cannot and must not be allowed.

I pray that you will reject their complaint.

Yours Sincerely

David J Carter

Director, Middle East Evangelical Concern


See other letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
Dr Bishara Awad, Founder and President Emeritus, Bethlehem Bible College
Dr Mark Braverman, Author of the Fatal Embrace
David Carter, Director, Middle East Evangelical Concern
Anne Clayton, Coordinator, Friends of Sabeel UK
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
Hank Hanegraaff, President, Christian Research Institute
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
Dr Attorney Jonathan Kuttab, Chairman of the Board, Bethlehem Bible College
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
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 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", it seems, comes from those unable to distinguish between two.

And see also these articles from other news 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

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Bethlehem Bible College on anti-Semitism allegations

Dear Bishop Christopher,

Grace and peace through our Lord Jesus Christ!

From Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, we wish you a blessed New Year.

We write to you on behalf of the Board of Directors, Faculty and Staff of Bethlehem Bible College regarding our friend and colleague, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer. We have known Rev. Sizer for many years, and on many occasions he visited us and spoke in conferences organized by the College. More recently, he was part of the organizing committee of our 2012 international Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC) Conference.

In knowing Stephen for all these years, we are witnesses of his passion to promote a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis. In our experience with him in preparing for our CATC, we have also seen his dedication to reconciliation between Palestinian Christians and Israeli Messianic Jews. Together, we met with Messianic Jews, and wrote statements that called for reconciliation, a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis, and a rejection of all forms of violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

Rev. Sizer has been an advocate of human rights and a just peace in the Holy Land for both Israelis and Palestinians. We appreciate his courageous commitment to the truth. Rev. Sizer is fully aware that proclaiming the truth in regards to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the political conditions in Palestine is neither popular nor rewarding. However he decided to take the “narrow path”. In his books he uses ample evidence from the Holy Scriptures to challenge the teachings of Christian Zionism. In so doing, he staunchly defends the faith that was handed to us by our Lord and His Apostles while not neglecting to stand with the oppressed or to address the needs of the oppressor.

We are, therefore, shocked to hear about the allegations of anti-Semitism against Rev. Sizer. We feel that this is an attempt to silence Rev. Sizer for his criticism of certain policies of the State of Israel - policies that the international community consistently condemns. Fair criticism of certain policies of Israel should not be confused with anti-Semitism. If this campaign against Rev. Sizer succeeds, then the church will lose a very courageous and prophetic voice.

Dear Bishop, as you lead the Church in this important matter, we from Bethlehem Bible College pray that the Lord will endow you with the spirit of discernment, wisdom and courage. We will be glad to discuss these issues in further details if needed.

Yours in the Service of the Prince of Peace,

Dr. Attorney Jonathan Kuttab
Chairman of the Board, Bethlehem Bible College

Dr. Bishara Awad
Founder and President Emeritus, Bethlehem Bible College

Rev. Jack Sara
President, Bethlehem Bible College

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Faculty and Staff of Bethlehem Bible College.



See also letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
Dr Bishara Awad, Founder and President Emeritus, Bethlehem Bible College
Dr Mark Braverman, Author of the Fatal Embrace
David Carter, Director, Middle East Evangelical Concern
Anne Clayton, Coordinator, Friends of Sabeel UK
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
Dr Attorney Jonathan Kuttab, Chairman of the Board, Bethlehem Bible College
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
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 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", it seems, comes from those unable to distinguish between two.

And see also these articles from other news 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