The Church of England has recently begun a public hearing concerning charges of antisemitism against Dr. Stephen Sizer, former vicar of the Anglican parish, Christ Church, in Surrey, England. The church opened the official case after the Board of Deputies of British Jews filed a complaint citing eleven incidents of antisemitism.  The Bishop of Winchester suspended Sizer from ministry in 2018 pending the outcome of this hearing.  The case is being held in the courtroom of St. Andrew’s Church in central London and is the first case of its kind to be held publicly. 
Attorney Nicholas Leviseur, who is presenting the case, said Sizer faces three separate allegations, “each of which relates to activities between 2005 and 2018. . . . The first allegation is that Dr. Sizer’s actions were unbecoming or inappropriate to the office of a clergyman, that he provoked and offended the Jewish community. The second is engaging in antisemitic activity.” The third is that he caused “a just offence to others,” breaking the Church of England’s code, according to Leviseur. 
Sizer denies the allegations, claiming that his actions were targeted at Israel rather than the Jewish people––that he’s merely an anti-Zionist, not an anti-Semite. Some of the antisemitic activities being brought against Sizer in the case include:
- Participating in a conference run by the Iran-supported Islamic Human Rights Commission in 2005 
- Speaking at a conference with alleged Holocaust-denier, Fred Tobin in 2008 
- Promoting Holocaust-denier and antisemitic conspiracy theorist, Michael Hoffman, in 2008 
- Meeting with senior Hezbollah commander Sheik Nabil Kaouk in 2006 
- Sharing an article online in 2010 called “The Mother of All Coincidences,” which blamed Israel for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York City 
- Sharing another article five years later called “911/Israel Did It” 
Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism
Although anti-Zionism does not always necessitate antisemitism, it often leads to it. Sadly, the church’s history is replete with examples of how anti-Zionist theology leads to antisemitism, which then leads to persecution of the Jewish people. That is why our third denial in our Statement on Israel, the Nations, and the Gospel says, “We deny the notion that flawed theology regarding the Jewish people is without consequence. To the contrary, the chronic pattern of theologians removing ethnic Israel from God’s plan has led to virulent antisemitism bringing great harm to the Jewish people and hindering the proclamation of the gospel to the Jewish people, for which the church should repent (Romans 11:17–24, 28–29, 15:25–27).” 
We believe that being critical of Israel and its policies alone is not antisemitism. But when criticism of Israel turns into the demonization of Israel and of Israelis with classic antisemitic rhetoric and caricatures, this becomes antisemitism. When anti-Zionists delegitimize the right of the Jewish people to live in safety in their own homeland, this is antisemitism. When anti-Zionists employ double standards to call out only Israel for its faults while ignoring those of other countries, this is antisemitism. To read more about how anti-Zionism often devolves into antisemitism, check out our previous article, “The ‘New’ Antisemitism.”
We applaud the Church of England for taking this bold step against antisemitism, and we encourage American evangelical leaders to do the same. We stand with Israel and the Jewish people and continue to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).
by Jennifer Miles
 “Church of England Vicar Who Shared Article Blaming Israel for 9/11 Faces Removal,” The Times of Israel, May 30, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/church-of-england-vicar-who-shared-article-blaming-israel-for-9-11-faces-removal/.
 Nic North, “Vicar Accused of Antisemitism Faces Removal from Church of England at Disciplinary Hearing,” The Jewish Chronicle, May 24, 2022, https://www.thejc.com/news/news/vicar-accused-of-antisemitism-faces-removal-from-church-of-england-at-disciplinary-hearing-3BfOl2HhZVLj74O55NuCba.
 Ben Cohen, “Disciplinary Tribunal for Church of England Vicar Accused of Antisemitism Begins,” World Israel News, May 25, 2022, https://worldisraelnews.com/disciplinary-tribunal-for-church-of-england-vicar-accused-of-antisemitism-begins/.
 Chris Matthews, “Vicar Faces Removal from Church of England after Being Accused of Posting anti-Semitic Material Online and Sharing Platform with Holocaust Deniers,” The Daily Mail––UK, May 23, 2022, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10846479/Vicar-faces-removal-Church-England-accused-posting-anti-Semitic-material.html.
 “Our Hope for Peace: A Statement on Israel, the Nations, and the Gospel,” Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem, accessed June 21, 2022, https://allianceforthepeaceofjerusalem.com/statement/.