So far, Virginia Water vicar Stephen Sizer has gone undisciplined and uncriticised by the Church, and has enjoyed protection from his own diocese.
Sizer has backed a campaign of antisemites standing synagogues, on shabbat and high holy days, to protest against Israel. Sizer has been documented to have recommended the writings of Holocaust deniers, cited Holocaust deniers in his academic work, accept speaking invitations from Holocaust deniers, and shared platforms with Holocaust deniers to denounce the Jewish state.
Sizeralso thinks that Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi was tied to the USA by Jewish blood, which stopped America from reining in Gaddafi from mass murder, because “blood is thicker than water”. He also thinks it commendable to call for Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine“. He meets with Islamists in Hezbollah and in the Iranian government, who seek the destruction of the Jewish state.
Sizer is rightly the subject of a complaint from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, to the Bishop of Guildford.
On Boxing Day, the Holocaust denier Paul Eisen posted an email he received from Jeremy Moodey, the organiser of “Stephen Sizer’s defence fund.”
Dear friends of Stephen Sizer
A massive ‘thank you’ to those of you who contributed to Stephen’s defence fund. We quickly raised £1,140 thanks to your generosity, which meant that we were able to cover the first payment of £1,000 to Stephen’s lawyer, Simon Natas at Irvine Thanvi Natas.
The latest situation is that Stephen is preparing his formal response to the Board of Deputies’ complaint. This needs to be with the Bishop of Guildford by 18 January and Mr Natas has been helping him with the document.
Under the Clergy Discipline Measure the Bishop then has up to 28 days to review the dossier and can choose one of the following courses of action:
· To dismiss the complaint and take no further action (the Board of Deputies could appeal against this within 14 days)
· If the respondent (Stephen) agrees, the Bishop can decide on a “conditional deferment”, which means the complaint is “kept on file” for up to 5 years, but with no further action taken unless the alleged misconduct reoccurs. However this usually only happens when the respondent admits the misconduct.
· The Bishop can decide in favour of conciliation, although this is usually reserved for situations where pastoral or personal relationships have been damaged.
· The Bishop can also impose a “penalty by consent”. But again, such a penalty (eg prohibition for a period of years, revocation of licence, rebuke) can only be imposed if the respondent admits the misconduct.
· The Bishop can decide in favour of a formal investigation by a disciplinary tribunal headed by an independent party, usually a judge. Significantly, the standard of proof in such a tribunal – which can be decided by majority vote – is the civil standard (“balance of probability”) rather than the criminal standard (“beyond reasonable doubt”). The tribunal can decide on an appropriate penalty if the accusation of misconduct is proven, and the respondent has a right of appeal.
Given that Stephen is vigorously denying the Board of Deputies’ accusations, the two effective scenarios are dismissal of the case (which of course is what we are all praying for, given that the complaint is baseless) or referral to the disciplinary tribunal. In this latter case Stephen’s legal costs will of course increase significantly.
Paul Eisen is on the mailing list of the Stephen Sizer defence fund. Eisen recently wrote an article “How I became a Holocaust denier.”
It is interesting how Sizer has turned to lawyer Simon Natas to help him write a reply.
Natas works for ITN Solicitors, who instructed lawyers for the defence of hate preacher Zakir Naik, a man who claims that America is controlled by Jews and that apostates from Islam deserve death, when he wanted to enter Britain. ITN Solicitors also defended Raed Salah, who was deemed acceptable to visit Britain, but still someone who promotes the antisemitic blood libel.
Sizer’s case will be submitted on January 18th. With that out of the way, Sizer will participate in a day conference at the Palestinian Return Centre on January 19th, hosted at Friends House. The PRC seeks the elimination of the Jewish state. It is a pro-Hamas outfit, which has previously welcomed the neo Nazi MEP, Krisztina Morvai, to an earlier and similar event.
Sizer is confident of a successful outcome to his case.