Arzu Merali reflects on the targeting of Revd. Sizer, and the accusations made.
Revd Stephen Sizer’s Church of England hearing upon accusations of anti-semitism began yesterday. Amongst the accusation levelled at him (all of which are spurious and made, it appears, to malign his anti-racist work and muddy the waters around pro-Palestinian activism) is that he attended the conference, ‘Towards a New Liberation Theology: Reflections on Palestine’ organised by Islamic Human Rights Commission in 2005, held at SOAS.
I was one of the organisers of that conference and I am one of the editors of the book of papers presented that was published afterwards. The conference was the coming together of various Christian, Muslim and Jewish figures to discuss and present ideas on liberation through a theological lens, using the example of Palestine. Bizarrely, an event that brought people from three different traditions, including Israelis and Palestinians has been maligned as anti-semitic in this discourse. You can download the book for free here, but if you can please buy a copy and help support some worthy causes.
According to Scottish Palestine Solidarity’s Mick Napier, who has reported on the first day’s hearing here, the fact that one of the attendees was a member of the Political Council of Hizbullah was cited as ‘evidence’ of Sizer’s anti-semitism. As Napier points out, not only was that speaker given a visa by the Home Office at the time to attend this conference, whilst in the UK she met with a number of mainstream political figures and think tanks. I know because I organised and or was in some of those meetings.
Please watch Mick Napier’s reports. They cover many of the details of this ridiculous case with clarity. Yesterday he described the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl’s demolition by Revd. Sizer’s barrister. In response to many key questions about how the accusations against Revd. Sizer work or what the specific content of those accusation were, she was reduced to saying she didn’t know or, “It doesn’t matter.”
Please also share his and other reports that expose the witch-hunt against Revd. Sizer.
I will be posting updates on Revd Sizer’s case on my social media from Mick Napier’s report but you can find them directly here.