The Board of Deputies of British Jews have issued this press statement:
In a move believed to be without precedent in modern times, the Board of Deputies has lodged a formal complaint against Revd Stephen Sizer under the Church of England’s disciplinary process – an Act of Parliament known as the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003.
The complaint is based on statements made by Revd Sizer that the Board regards as antisemitic and a series of instances where Revd Sizer has posted internet links to articles on racist and antisemitic websites.
The complaint must first be considered by Bishop Christopher Hill, the Bishop of Guildford, as Revd Sizer’s church in Virginia Water, Surrey, comes under his jurisdiction.
Board President Vivian Wineman said, “Making such a complaint about a Church of England minister is not a step the Board has taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration. This action sends a clear, strong message from our community that we will not remain quiet in the face of actions and remarks capable of being seen as antisemitic even where they are disguised as anti-Zionist attacks on Israel.”
Submitting the complaint on behalf of the Board of Deputies, Vice President Jonathan Arkush said, “The evidence disclosed indicates that Rev Sizer spends time trawling dark and extreme corners of the internet. Revd Sizer re-publishes items to support the target of his polemical writing, while at the same time introducing his readers to the racist and antisemitic websites from where he draws his material.”
Last December Rev Nick Howard publicly accused Rev Stephen Sizer of anti-Semitism on Harry’s Place, and in March Anglican Friends of Israel denounced Sizer; the Council of Christians and Jews did likewise.
Sizer responded with a Church of England and Church Times article on his blog.
Ultimately the Board of Deputies are seeking the following:
To anyone who asks what it is that we seek from the complaint, my answer is simple. If it is upheld, it will be a matter for the Church of England what action to take to address Revd Sizer’s conduct. But I can say that we are not seeking to have him stopped from his ministry or dismissed from his job. We only ask one thing, which is that effective measures are taken to prevent him from publishing or re-publishing material that we find to be not merely offensive, but antisemitic.
We don’t think that’s too much to ask.
We shall see.
UPDATE: Comments on Harry’s Place are worth watching.