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Stephen Sizer engaged in ‘conduct unbecoming’ and antisemitic exercise, Church tribunal guidelines

Rev Dr Stephen Sizer(Photograph: YouTube/Stephen Sizer)

Outstanding evangelical, Rev Dr Stephen Sizer, engaged in antisemitic exercise and “conduct unbecoming” of an ordained minister, a Church of England tribunal has dominated.

Dr Sizer was introduced earlier than the disciplinary Tribunal after a criticism of antisemitism by Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, made to the then Bishop of Winchester in 2018. 

The Tribunal’s judgment was printed on Tuesday following a listening to in Could throughout which Dr Sizer denied that he had engaged in antisemitic exercise or carried out himself in an unbecoming or inappropriate approach.

A complete of 11 allegations in opposition to Dr Sizer had been thought-about. They included his involvement in occasions and conferences, social media posts, feedback made on Australian radio, and a 2006 assembly with senior Hezbollah commander, Sheikh Nabil Kaouk.

Seven allegations had been rejected however the Tribunal concluded that the assembly with the sheikh was conduct unbecoming and inappropriate.

“The Tribunal considers that the Respondent’s assembly with Sheikh Kaouk is an instance of the place he didn’t have in mind his position as a public consultant of the Church, and confirmed a scarcity of sensitivity to the Jewish group. It confirmed a unprecedented lack of sensitivity to be photographed in clerical gown assembly Sheikh Kaouk,” it stated. 

Just one rely was discovered by the Tribunal to be antisemitic exercise – selling the concept Israel was behind the terrorist assaults on 11 September 2001 by posting a hyperlink in January 2015 to an article entitled “Sep 11/Israel did it”  which blamed Israel for the assaults.

The tribunal stated that the article was “extremely repellent” and “actually surprising” in its tone and content material.

“Within the Tribunal’s opinion, [Dr Sizer] is somebody who believes passionately within the rights of Christian Palestinians, and different Palestinians, typically to the exclusion of values that he is aware of or ought to have identified that he’s required to uphold as an ordained minister,” the judgment reads.

“On events the Tribunal has concluded that he pushed the boundaries past what was acceptable conduct, and in January 2015, he engaged in antisemitic exercise, when he knew, because the tribunal finds, that the article he was posting was virulently antisemitic.”

It added, “[The Tribunal] does think about that there’s regrettably a sample of behaviour which falls in need of the usual to which the Respondent ought to have aspired as an ordained minister.”

A penalty will now be decided by the Tribunal. 

Dr Sizer stated in an announcement: “I’m most grateful to the Tribunal for the cautious approach during which they approached the proof and reached their conclusions.

“I settle for these conclusions and the criticisms of my conduct, and apologise unreservedly for the damage and offence brought on.

“As I stated on the time, I’m significantly sorry that I posted a hyperlink on Fb in January 2015 to an article blaming Israel for 9/11, and repeat my apology for the deep damage that my conduct brought on. 

“I don’t suggest to say any extra at this juncture as I pray and mirror additional.”

Ms van der Zyl counseled the Tribunal’s resolution.

“I’m grateful to the Tribunal for accepting the proof of the Board of Deputies. The Board will at all times act to defend and defend the Jewish group,” she stated. 

Responding to the judgment, the appearing Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Rev Debbie Sellin, stated, “The Church of England, along with our companions in ecumenical and interfaith working, is dedicated to constructing cohesive communities and fostering sturdy interfaith relations constructed on belief and respect.

“As Archbishop Justin Welby stated in 2018, in a joint letter with different Christian and Jewish leaders, antisemitism has no place in our society and people in positions of energy and affect should take heed to issues about it.”

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