On May 23, a Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Winchester in the Church of England will convene to consider a 2018 complaint of antisemitism made against the Reverend Stephen Sizer by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
The Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network is aware of, and deeply appreciates the long and powerful witness of Reverend Sizer to the realities of life in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories. His criticisms have been recently substantiated by reports from the Israeli NGO B’Tselem and by international organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. We also agree with his criticism of the Scriptural interpretation of some fellow Christians who support an exclusive, supremacist, nationalist form of Zionism. His defense of Palestinian human rights is rooted in a profound commitment to truth and justice as the basis for an enduring peace.
In 1991, the Episcopal Church, adopted Resolution D-122, which expresses a forceful condemnation of antisemitism and distinguishes clearly between anti-Jewish prejudice and legitimate criticism of Israeli governmental policies. We believe the charges leveled against the Reverend Sizer to be a similar conflation of legitimate criticism of Israeli laws and policies with antisemitism.
Accusations of antisemitism leveled at those who advocate for Palestinian human rights are used to stifle the free-flow of information and debate and are being concretized in anti-boycott legislation passed in more than thirty American states. We deplore these infringements of our First Amendment, and we ardently support Stephen Sizer’s right to speak the truth, and stand with him as he faces the predictable fall-out.
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