A few weeks ago a highly influential Church of England vicar, Stephen Sizer, promoted a website that supports Holocaust denial and warns of a Zionist conspiracy controlling the world. Reverend Sizer just received the support of the Bishop of Guildford Sizer, Reverend Christopher Hill, a former chaplain to the Queen, following calls for him to be suspended for linking to the site.
Sizer used his Facebook page to link to the piece on American website The Ugly Truth, which claims to highlight “Zionism, Jewish extremism and a few other nasty items making our world uninhabitable today.” The site also runs cartoons of Holocaust deniers and supports Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The Bishop of Willesden was suspended in 2010 after using his Facebook page to make inappropriate gossip remarks about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But in the face of such blatant anti-Jewish hatred, the Church of England took Sizer’s side.
The case is severe because Anglicanism is not just another Protestant denomination; rather, it’s the official UK Church headed by the Queen. Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is the spiritual head of 77 million Christians worldwide.
The hostility to Israel
within the Church is rooted in a dislike for Jews. According to the Jewish Chronicle, “Rav Sizer has a long track record of arguably anti-Semitic behavior.” He has described the IDF
as “Herod’s soldiers operating in Bethlehem today” (King Herod ordered his troops to kill all the Jewish babies in and around Bethlehem.)
Sizer promoted boycotts of companies on the basis that they “channel their profits to the Zionist agenda.” Sizer’s book, “Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon?”, which has been endorsed by leading British and American bishops, rejects the eternalness of God’s promises to the Jewish people and revives the obscurantist anti-Jewish theology known as “supersessionism.”
Sizer’s case is not isolated. In 2006 the UK Church reviewed its investments in companies with ties to Israel’s presence in the territories. Bishop Riah El-Assal, the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, is a well-known apologist for Palestinian terrorism. Anglican cleric Naim Ateek is the founder of the notoriously anti-Israel, Jerusalem-based Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Center, which promotes a theology severing any link between God and the Jews.
Sizer is one of the major organizers of the “Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 Conference,” which the Bible College of Bethlehem will host in March. The impressive range of theologians and pastors from churches located in the United States make the gravity of the upcoming conference and Sizer's important position much clearer. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the US National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, “spiritual adviser” to Bill Clinton Tony Campolo, and President of the World Evangelical Alliance and Asia Evangelical Alliance, Sang-Bok David Kim, will all attend the event.
The “Bethlehem Call” manifesto, which serves as platform for the Bethlehem 2012 Conference, has just been published on the websites of the World Council of Churches, the Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ. It defines Israel as an “illegal regime” and a “crime against humanity” and promotes “international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns” against Israel.
In the words of UK columnist Melanie Phillips, these are “Christians who hate the Jews.”
Many UK clerics are now saying openly that the Jewish State should never have been founded at all. In 1190, British Christians slaughtered York's Jews after calling them "serpens antiquus qui vocatur Diabolus et Satans." Now their Intifada from Heaven is breathing new life into a kind of demonology that bans Israel from the family of nations.
Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of the book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism