By Daphne Anson
|Who can this be? An actual or theoretical April Fool?|
After a two-week propaganda tour of Australia, Peacemaker Trust’s founder and CEO the Rev Dr Stephen Sizer, formerly vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water has returned to Southampton. And so has his luggage, temporarily lost.
Despite his return, echoes of his visit live on, in the interviews that he gave while here.
A wily disingenuous campaigner, he said nothing, at least that I heard, about his support for the Right of Return, or about the support for a One State Solution that, as I showed here, he has avowed.
This screenshot dates to 2014. But, at the time of typing this blogpost, our old mate is still listed as a “Liker” of “BDS for the Return”, and when we click on the links provided on its Facebook page we find:
“This page is for Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) Actions that are directly relevant to the implementation of the Palestinian refugees right to return to their homes and lands of origin.”
|Screenshot in 2014|
“Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, is a broad-based, non-partisan, democratic, and charitable organization of grassroots activists and students committed to comprehensive public education on the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands of origin, and to full restitution of all their confiscated and destroyed property in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International law and the numerous United Nations Resolutions upholding such rights.”
If the original Arab generation which fled (and were invited back by Israel) and the so-called “refugees” who are their descendants (the only such people with inherited refugee status in the world) were to “return” we all know how long the sovereign state of Israel would last.
On Good Friday the ABC (Oz’s answer to the BBC, and just as biased towards the left and against Israel, if anything more openly) Sizer was interviewed by regular presenter David Rutledge, a lapsed Christian with a theology doctorate, about Christian Zionism. The entire program was saturated with leftist propaganda, some of it more egregious than the rest, and the interview with Sizer fitted seamlessly into that predictable agenda.
“Many evangelical Christians today are convinced that recent events in the Middle East herald the imminent return of Christ and the establishment of his kingdom on earth – and Israel is central to the whole plan. These are Christian Zionists, and according to Stephen Sizer they’re misguided — and possibly dangerous”, runs the website.
At the ABC studios Sizer, pictured below with his minder Father Dave Smith, an anti-Israel Sydney clergyman, looks like the proverbial cat who got the cream:
Rutledge, in a somewhat lighthearted tone, described him as “a rather controversial Anglican cleric” and at the start of the interview mentioned the polarising effect he has. But Rutledge was soon sniggering in the background at some of the ex-vicar’s descriptions of Christian Zionist thought. Sizer’s spiel was his usual one.
Rutledge assured him “I accept that you are not an antisemite” and Sizer quoted the Bishop of Guildford (the one who suspended jim from social media for six months, though that was not spelled out) as privately telling him “Stephen, on the Middle East you’re on the side of the angels”.
Are you a glutton for punishment? The program is here
This weekend was broadcast former South Australian premier-turned-clergyman Lynn Arnold’s recorded radio interview with Sizer. It opened with such a lot of discussion about Sizer’s early life (our old mate was eventually obliged to spell out his birthplace, Lowestoft, for Arnold, who kept mispronouncing it Lowerstoke) that I was lulled into a false optimism that Sizer’s propaganda would be timed out. But alas.
“This evening my very special guest is Rev. Stephen Sizer” said Arnold by way of introduction, before reciting the biblical passage (no random choice, for it was cited again later on to deny the validity of Zionism) that Sizer had chosen to preface the interview, from Psalm 87. Suddenly, the interview turned to Sizer’s views on the usual Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Our old mate’s pleasant, plausible tones were heard declaring that the land is “occupied territory just as it was under the Romans” and that on the usual pilgrimage “On Day One you go to Yad Vashem … because then you are not going to criticise the Israeli occupation of Palestine” and launched into his well-practised critique of Christian Zionism and support for BDS.
Overlooking Sizer’s past excrescences (could he really have been ignorant of them?) the indulgent Arnold encouraged listeners to look at Sizer’s website and the Peacemakers website to learn more about his views. Deftly done. No word from Arnold about Sizer’s chastisement by his bishop, his notorious 9/11 post, his reasons for quitting his pulpit ahead of schedule. Nothing embarrassing to our old mate whatsoever was invoked.
I reckon Sizer left the studio well-satisfied.
Back in the 1980s and thereabouts, Radio 3CR, Melbourne, was one of the most virulent Australian purveyors of anti-Israel propaganda, its most notorious anti-Israel voice being that of Bill Hartley, aka “Baghdad Bill”, an extreme left-wing figure in the Victoria state ALP (Australian Labor Party) whose hagiographic obituary (2006) in Green Left Weekly notes:
“His dedication to the Palestinians, one of the most oppressed and mis represented people of the past 60 years, was well known, and his connections allowed many of us to visit the Middle East and gain access to refugee camps and contacts that allowed an invaluable insight into the issues.”
While in Australia, Sizer was interviewed on 3CR by Robert Martin:
‘This week we are joined by Dr Rev [sic] Stephen Sizer with whom we have a discussion around Christian Zionism, its sway in America and the term “The Chosen People”. We exchange thoughts about the Christians who are scared to criticize Israel in fear of being labelled as an Anti Semitie [sic], as well as Armageddon and the attacks by the Hasbara.’
As Sizer posts triumphantly here, “Robert didn’t need convincing”:
No wonder he didn’t. Martin is a well-known anti-Israel activist:
In this video, which, like the above photo, can be found on his Facebook page, he buttonholes and then harangues a polite group of frum Israelis, including women and girls, his face growing contorted, and his voice strident, with rage:
“You’re racist …. You don’t care because you think it’s God’s will?…. I won’t talk nicely, because you’re a bunch of animals!”
A still from the video:
Martin’s Facebook page is littered with comments from feral antisemites. For instance:
I listened to Part One of his interview with Sizer, here.
An Arabic-accented voice announced that the program, “Palestine Remembered”, is brought to the listener by the only program in English “totally dedicated to the Palestinian cause”, spoke of the program’s honour and delight in having Dr Rev [sic] Stephen Sizer and Martin then declared: “I’m so honoured to be joined by Dr Rev [sic] Stephen Sizer today”.
Sizer gave the usual spiel, preached to the converted that “Zionism is a form of racism”, and answered Martin’s eager questioning about the “Chosen” concept with an analogy to colonialism, observing that it is “used to justify the theft of land from the indigenous people, the Palestinians”. He declared that “the Bible affirms the one state solution”, and told how the British government last year could not be persuaded to apologise for the Balfour Declaration (“the government were so in bed with the Zionist lobby”).
Of the messianic hopes of religious Jewish settlers Martin remarked “Let’s kill more Muslims, and kill more Christians — it doesn’t matter does it?, and Sizer did not demur.
He identified five stages of reaction by “Zionists” to anti-Zionists such as he:
1. They try to buy you …
2. They try to intimidate you, with emails and articles. People involved in Hasbara are paid to send emails, he alleged, before bemoaning this article in The Spectator by Melanie Phillips. It’s “a shock” to be accused of antisemitism, he told Martin, when asked.
3. They try to isolate you, turning publishers against you and causing people who have booked you to speak to cancel the event.
4. They stalk and harass you (telling of his woes with the Seismic Shock blog (his interviewer makes some telling crack when told the blog owner’s Jewish-sounding name)
5. They kill you. “They take people out.” (At this point the interview ended so abruptly that even the most pro-Israel of listeners could be forgiven for thinking Mossad had terminated it, but then came the Arabic-accented voice advising that Part Two will be coming soon.)
If Sizer doesn’t want to be lumped among the antisemites, he could begin by defriending on Facebook people such as the prolifically-posting Derek Andrew Hands (it would take him some time!):
And sever ties with this bloke:
Tony Gratrex, the PSC stalwart and 9/11truther, merits no fewer than ten pages in part one of David Collier’s superb exposé of antisemitism in the Palestine Live Facebook group and is mentioned in part two of the same report. Despite (surely not because of?) Gratrex’s appalling record, Sizer has welcomed him into an exclusive Peacemakers (I’m sorry, I’ll type that again, “Peacemakers”) Facebook group.
As well as eschewing one of the commenters on this recent article:
In response to these comments on that article in Sight
Sizer has posted the following
and his pseudonymous Facebook buddy Harriet S Place chimes in
Anti-Zionist blogger Harriet, whoever he is, seems mighty tolerant of conspiracy theories. Here’s what I just found on his Facebook page, with no trouble at all:
Not a good look for a nice Christian boy, Harriet.
Not a good look at all.