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Anti-Semitism complaint filed against Surrey vicar: The Church of England Newspaper, November 25, 2012 p 6. November 29, 2012

Posted by geoconger in British Jewry, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Free Speech.
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The Board of Deputies of British Jews has lodged a complaint with the Diocese of Guilford accused the Vicar of Christ Church Virginia Water,with anti-Semitism.

The Rev. Stephen Sizer has been accused under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 for misconduct consisting of “conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders”.

The Chief Executive of the Board, Mr. Jon Benjamin told the Church of England Newspaper they had met “with the Bishop of Guildford who noted the formal mechanism for complaints that we have followed.”

On 31 Oct 2012 the Diocese of Guilford released a statement saying “the Bishop of Guildford is considering a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure against Dr Stephen Sizer and will be following the statutory procedures provided in the Measure.”

“Nothing else can be said at present, since the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 ensures that legitimate complaints against members of Anglican clergy are dealt with appropriately.”

Mr. Sizer has not responded to requests for comments on the allegations.

In its complaint, the Board said Mr. Sizer “spends time trawling dark and extreme corners of the internet for material to add to his website. Rev Sizer re-publishes such items to support the target of his polemical writing, while at the same introducing his readers to the racist and anti-Semitic websites from where he draws his material.”

Mr. Sizer had kept some “strange company” for a “Church of England vicar,” the Board said in a statement released on its website denouncing his association with “Holocaust deniers”, Iranian government agencies and anti-Israel groups. However, its complaint lay not in politics or “his supersessionist theology.  While we view all of these with concern and distaste, Rev Sizer is entitled to his views and may travel where he wants.”

“But we draw the line at making statements that we regard as anti-Semitic and advertising the content of racist and anti-Semitic websites.  It is a matter of great regret that we are driven to make this complaint, but the Jewish community should not have to stomach material that we see as crossing the line into anti-Semitism,” the Board statement said.

“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 anti-Semitic.  We don’t think that’s too much to ask,” the Board said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anti-Semitism charges laid against English Evangelical leader: Anglican Ink, November 14, 2012 November 14, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, British Jewry, Church of England, Judaism.
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The Rev Stephen Sizer

Aggressive blogging has led to the filing of misconduct charges against an Evangelical vicar in the U.K.  Last month the Board of Deputies of British Jews filed a complaint with the Diocese of Guilford charging the Rev. Stephen Sizer, Vicar of Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey, with anti-Semitism.

An author of works on Christian Zionism, prolific blogger and participant in the 2008 GAFCON conference in Jerusalem, Mr Sizer was the subject of a complaint brought last month under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 for misconduct consisting of “conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders”.

Mr. Sizer is not being charged with being two-clicks away from objectionable material, but with publishing links directly to anti-Semitic literature.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Newcastle bishop pulls out of EAPPI meeting following Jewish protests: The Church of England Newspaper, November 4, 2012 p 7. November 8, 2012

Posted by geoconger in British Jewry, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Judaism.
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The Bishop of Newcastle has withdrawn from a conference organized by the north-eastern branch of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine (EAPPI) after leaders of the Newcastle Jewish community warned Bishop Martin Wharton that his participating in the two-day meeting in Gateshead next month would end inter-faith relations.

The controversial motion had been a focus of discussion at this summer’s meeting of the Anglican-Jewish Commission of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel which stated the vote had “caused much distress within the Jewish community in Britain and also within the Christian community as well as in Israel and beyond.”

The presidents of the Representative Council of North-East Jewry, Brian Mark and Eric Joseph, also wrote to Bishop Wharton about his vote in favour of the EAPPI motion.  They were perturbed he had endorsed EAPPI “despite…our grave concerns about that proposal, especially that it would encourage anti-Semitism.”

The bishop also aroused their ire by agreeing to attend a meeting sponsored by EAPPI “in Gateshead in November, which plans to include a session on boycotts and divestment by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.”

These actions make “any further contact with the Jewish community in the North-East impossible,” they said.

Last week, Bishop Wharton said he would withdraw from the meeting “for the sake of good relations between all the faith communities in Newcastle”.

The Jewish Chronicle reported that Bishop Seamus Cunningham, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle had also withdrawn from the meeting.  A spokesman said that “after becoming aware that many Jewish people in the north-east were angry and upset. They feel that EAPPI speaks for only one side of a complex situation and that, as the conference is to be held on a Saturday, they could not attend and present an alternative view.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Newcastle inter-faith talks ended over EAPPI vote: The Church of England Newspaper, August 19, 2012 p 6. August 20, 2012

Posted by geoconger in British Jewry, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Judaism.
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While formal relations between the Anglican Communion and Judaism appear unaffected by last month’s General Synod vote to endorse the work of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), the 9 July vote has seen a breakdown in some local ecumenical relationships with the Church of England.

The Representative Council of North-East Jewry has broken off relations with Bishop Martin Wharton of the Diocese of Newcastle in response to his support for the EAPPI motion.  However, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office reports that a two-day meeting held after the synod vote of the Anglican-Jewish Commission of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel  had been cordial.

Meeting from 31 July to 1 August at Mansfield College, Oxford, the Anglican-Jewish Commission received papers Dr Jane Clements on “Anglicanism and the Secular State” and Rabbi Rasson Arousi on “Democracy in Judaism’s Political Vision”.

A communique from the gathering stated the commission also discussed “various matters of concern, including the recent Private Member’s Motion that related to Israel/Palestine at the Church of England’s General Synod.”

The commission acknowledged the strain imposed on Anglican-Jewish relations by the Synod vote stating “there was acknowledgement that this had caused much distress within the Jewish community in Britain and also within the Christian community as well as in Israel and beyond.”

However, it also noted there was “appreciation” for the “efforts of all those who were engaged on the issue to introduce greater understanding and a wider perspective. The Commission discussed steps that could be taken to address the complexities of the challenges raised.”

Last week the Jewish Chronicle reported that the presidents of the Representative Council of North-East Jewry, Brian Mark and Eric Joseph, had written to Bishop Wharton about his vote in favour of the EAPPI motion.  They were perturbed he had endorsed EAPPI “despite…our grave concerns about that proposal, especially that it would encourage anti-Semitism.”

The bishop also aroused their ire by agreeing to attend a meeting sponsored by EAPPI “in Gateshead in November, which plans to include a session on boycotts and divestment by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.”

These actions make “any further contact with the Jewish community in the North-East impossible,” they said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Jewish leaders urge Synod to reject Palestine motion: The Church of England Newspaper, July 1, 2012 p 7. June 28, 2012

Posted by geoconger in British Jewry, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Israel, Judaism.
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The Board of Deputies of British Jews has urged General Synod to reject a private member’s motion to endorse the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

The chief executive of the Board of Deputies, Jon Benjamin told The Church of England Newspaper “there are many programmes and organisations seeking to promote tolerance and understanding, bringing both sides of the conflict together. EAPPI doesn’t claim to try to do that, but just focuses on the perceived iniquities of the Israelis — and by implication Jews abroad who support Israel.”

The first clause of the motion “Palestine and Israel” brought by Dr. John Drinnen of the Diocese of Hereford will ask synod to “affirm its support for: (a) The vital work of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), encouraging parishioners to volunteer for the programme and asking churches and synods to make use of the experience of returning participants.”

General Synod Paper 1874a states the EAPPI programme was established in 2002 at the request of the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem and its volunteers “spend about 3 months in Israel and the West Bank including East Jerusalem.”

“In Hebron they escort Palestinian girls to Cordoba School which lies between two Israeli settlements in the heart of this Palestinian town and the girls often suffer threats and attacks by extremist settlers on their way to and from school. Across the West Bank they monitor checkpoints at the separation barrier, where people queue for up to four hours every morning in order to get to work, school or hospital. The International Red Cross and UN humanitarian and human rights agencies rely on the statistical data and eyewitness accounts collected by the EAs at check points or house demolitions. Local people, say they feel safer, and that the world is watching, when they see EAs at work,” the paper said.

In a letter published in the Jewish Chronicle, Mr. Benjamin said Synod would be mistaken if it assumed the EAPPI was the “gold standard in dispassionate and fair reporting from the Holy Land.”

EAPPI’s “lack of balance” was “no mere oversight”, he argued. “The stated purpose of the EAPPI programme is to bear witness to hardships faced by Palestinians at checkpoints or caused by the security barrier,” but “to hear only those voices, and to compound these views further by meeting only Israelis on the political fringes, no effort is made to engage with ordinary Israelis or to appreciate their own aspirations for peace. Instead, they become inclined to a view that there can be no dialogue with Israel, except through boycott, divestment and sanctions.”

Dr. Drinnen did not respond to our request for comments but Ben White writing in the Electronic Intifada denounced the board’s comments as a “misrepresentation” and “smear” of the EAPPI. A spokesman for EAPPI told Mr. White that “EAPPI is surprised and disappointed at being described as ‘anti-Israel’ when we work closely with many respected Israeli NGOs.”

However, the independent Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor last year stated EAPPI was a “biased” organization that “presents a one-sided Palestinian narrative, participating in activities commemorating the Palestinian ‘Nakba’ (catastrophe) and promoting the ‘right of return’. The organization ignores terror attacks against Israelis and blames Israel for the conflict.”

“EAPPI consistently demonizes Israel, making accusations of ‘apartheid,’ ‘war crimes,’ and ‘Bantustans’.” NGO Monitor said, and was active in the boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaigns against Israel.

Mr. Benjamin told CEN there “clearly are hardships faced by Palestinians and they should be addressed,” but to “blame Israel alone is clearly absurd. The EAPPI methodology cannot fail to promote bias.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Sacks becomes first rabbi to address Anglican bishops’ conference: JPost 8.02.08 August 2, 2008

Posted by geoconger in British Jewry, Jerusalem Post, Judaism, Lambeth 2008.
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British Chief Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks extended a hand of friendship and word of forgiveness to the world’s Anglican bishops last week, calling upon Jews and Christians to be agents of hope in a violent world.

The 670 bishops greeted the first speech by a rabbi in the 140-year history of the Lambeth Conference, the decennial gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world, with two standing ovations, marking a rapprochement between the two faiths that in recent years had been hurt by calls for divestment from Israel from the Church of England.

Sacks urged the Anglican Communion to hold together, and find a way to work through its theological divisions. His words came as welcome relief to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, providing the first words of support for the embattled Anglican leader from outside the church during the course of the 22-day gathering.

Read it all in the Jerusalem Post.

UK Palestinians put heat on Brown over JNF patronage: JP 10.14.07 October 15, 2007

Posted by geoconger in British Foreign Policy, British Jewry, Israel, Jerusalem Post.
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Palestinian activists in Britain are pressuring Prime Minister Gordon Brown to step down as patron of the Jewish National Fund UK, claiming the JNF’s refusal to sell land in Israel to Arabs is a discriminatory practice that taints the prime minister.

“Scottish public opinion, if made aware of the true nature of the JNF, would join us in condemning your association with such an organization,” the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign said in an October 13 letter to the prime minister.

Read it all in the Jerusalem Post.

UK Jews – “We’re not tools of the Israeli gov’t”: JP 2.06.07 February 6, 2007

Posted by geoconger in British Jewry, Israel, Jerusalem Post.
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The Board of Deputies of British Jews has disputed claims levelled by the “Independent Jewish Voices” coalition that it is a tool of the Israeli government.

“The overwhelming view” of British Jewry is “one of support for Israel; not necessarily every action of its government, but its right to exist, the right all of its citizens of whatever faith to live in peace and security and, as a corollary of that, the right of Israel to defend itself,” the statement given to the Jerusalem Post by Board chief executive Jon Benjamin said.

Read it all in the Jerusalem Post.

UK Jews push for ‘different voices’: JP 2.05.07 February 5, 2007

Posted by geoconger in British Jewry, Israel, Jerusalem Post.
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A coalition of prominent British Jews has attacked the country’s Jewish establishment, claiming it puts loyalty to Israel before the human rights of Palestinians.

An open letter entitled “A Time to Speak Out: Independent Jewish Voices” was published in Monday’s issue of the Times and in the Internet edition of the Guardian newspaper. It marks a growing division within the Jewish community over the nature of its ties to Israel.

Read it all in the Jerusalem Post.

UK Top Rabbi takes on Angican Church: JP 2.19.06 February 19, 2006

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, British Jewry, Church of England, Interfaith, Israel, Jerusalem Post.
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British Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks’s charge that the Church of England’s stance on Israel had grossly damaged Jewish-Christian relations has drawn a muted response from church leaders.

In an article printed in the Jewish Chronicle of London on Thursday, Sacks denounced the vote by the General Synod, the Church of England’s legislature, to disinvest from companies whose products are used by the Israeli government in the territories.

Read it all in the Jerusalem Post.