Clare Short on Anti-Semitism

“Dear Bishop Christopher,

I have read with great sadness the complaint which came to you through the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Stephen’s response. I am afraid there is a pattern across many sectors of society of mobilising such complaints against people who criticise Israeli policy. I believe this to be a very misguided policy, the history of anti semitism, particularly in Europe, has caused enormous evil, persecution and suffering, but to accuse anyone who is critical of Israeli policy, anti Semitic belittles the profound significance of anti semitism. It is also being misused so widely that the accusation no longer has the power, a well informed accusation of anti semitism should have.

I have met Stephen at a variety of meetings and conferences and have read his most important work on Christian Zionism. I hope that you have read it. This movement is very powerful in the US and is I think gaining ground in the UK. It is a complete distortion of the teachings of Christianity and is used to justify persecution, oppression and grave breaches of international law inflicted on the Palestinian people, including the Palestinian Christians who have been practising their religion in the Holy Land since Jesus moved amongst the places in which they live. Stephen’s work in seeking peace and justice for all the people of the Holy Land follows Jesus’s teachings on the blessedness of peacemakers.

Stephen is not in the least way anti Semitic. This is a disgraceful and completely false allegation and those who have made it should be held to account for their wickedness. I hope you don’t mind me saying that you have made a serious mistake in letting this complaint run on for so long and thus letting the impression be given that there is any substance whatever to this complaint. It has also wasted a lot of time and effort that should have been devoted to more important work. I would like to suggest that you consider looking at whether a case has been made and then dismissing this nonsense.

Part of the evil that is being done through this complaint, and similar complaints against others, is to frighten people from speaking out against the terrible injustices being inflicted on the Palestinian people. These complaints help to generate fear that similar hurtful and damaging allegations will be made against anyone who seeks to expose the grave breaches of international law being justified by Christian Zionists and those Israelis who favour Israel expanding its control over the whole of historical Palestine and therefore oppressing the whole Palestinian people causing terrible injustice and suffering. In addition, these policies have helped to destabilise the wider Middle East and I am afraid in the long term will endanger Israel itself, as many wise Israelis have argued.

I hope you will be able to use the best of your wisdom and live up to the best of Christian values in handling this complaint from now on. I would be happy to arrange to meet with you to discuss the whole situation if you would find this helpful.

Best Wishes
Clare Short”


Note: Although Clare Short wrote the above in support of Mr Sizer it is not posted here with that intention. The intention here is to show how Zionism has hijacked the term ‘Anti Semitism’ to meet a political end. I do not support Mr Sizer although i do accept that his is a peaceful message as opposed to the hate rhetoric preached in Zionism.



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8 responses to “Clare Short on Anti-Semitism

  1. Christopher Proudlove

    While I can agree with much of Clare Short has to say in general I cannot concur with many of the points made in her letter regarding Stephen Sizer.
    Sizer’s book on Christian Zionism underlines his heretical views about Israel. Jews were exiled from their historic homeland, as prophesied in the Bible, a number of times. The last occasions were by the Roman Empire and the conquest of the Middle East and North Africa by the Muslim sword.
    As a successor to Rome I believe the European Union has a duty to support the Jewish state of Israel and to see it is not swamped either by Arabs or by military conquest from surrounding Muslim nations who have always threatened to obliterate Jews from the region. Don’t forget Arabs got 78 per cent of the old Palestine in 1922 and promptly banished all Jews. The rest was earmarked for the future state of Israel.
    The Bible is clear that the reconstitution of Israel in 1948 will last forever. Sizer teaches that the Church has replaced Israel, but the New Testament book of Romans, chapters nine to eleven, makes it clear that the Church has been grafted on to its Jewish root.
    Short’s letter is thus the real distortion of Christian teachings and flies in the face of the 1922 San Remo Treaty which gives Israelis the right to settle Jews between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Trevor disputes this but has failed to mention the treaty that supersedes San Remo or the date when San Remo ceased to be operative. Trevor’s previous attempts to delegitimize the San Remo Treaty were just gobbledegook bluster.
    Note that Short does not mention the 12,000 rockets fired at Israel from Palestinian Arab areas over the last decade which is the real offence under international law, as is the many suicide bombings and other terrorist atrocities. She does not mention how the Israeli government ordered all Jews out of the Gaza Strip in a move that should have brought peace, but the terrorist attacks from this territory actually increased.
    Short is oblivious of the fact that Muslim persecution has resulted in the recent flight of Arab Christians from Palestinian controlled areas as well as elsewhere in the Middle East. Meanwhile the number of Christians in Israel has grown exponentially!
    Stephen Sizer, and those of his ilk, are not even handed when it comes to dealing with the Israelis. Follow their writings and it is clear they are biased against Israel and overlook the many Palestinian Arab shortcomings. Sizer, like Trevor Barclay, the man behind this website, never lets up in his attempt to do down Israel. The Anglican priest even appears alongside that crazy Iranian Mahmoud Armadinejad, the man who wants to annihilate Israel off the map.
    Neither Sizer nor Barclay mentions the blessings that Israel has given the world, including the poorer nations, in information technology, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and water conservation. They deserve a land of their own after the millions of Jews that have been killed during the diaspora.
    If there is any frightening done to people in the Palestinian Arab areas it is done by the Muslim jihadists. I’ll give you a sample. A Palestinian lady complained that she had not received a penny from Israel after her home was demolished to make way for a security wall to protect innocent Israelis against terror attacks. This was black propaganda. In fact she had refused compensation because her life would have been in danger if she had received compensation from Israel. This would be seen by the jihadists as collaborating with the enemy.
    An Israeli local authority began to collect household rubbish from new Jewish facilities and offered the same service free of charge to nearly Palestinian Arab villages. This offer was also rejected because it would be seen as collaborating with the enemy. Things are never quite what they appear where Palestinian Arabs are concerned. They will cut their nose to spite their face.
    Clare Short does not mention that Palestinian Arabs turned down the offer of their own state in 1937, 1947 and in 2000-01. Why? This is because they want to the whole of the Holy Land. Their intentions are quite clear in the maps they publish. Not a hint of protest from Short and the blinkered pro-Palestinians.

  2. Christopher Proudlove

    For a fairer interpretation about the Holy Land situation, read this item from Christian Middle East Watch:
    This year’s August Bank Holiday Greenbelt Christian festival saw the launch of “Kairos Britain”, a new and avowedly pro-Palestinian Christian organisation. Drawing its inspiration from a 2009 document produced by the Sabeel ecumenical movement of Palestinian churches, Kairos Britain joins a number of prominent Christian groups that have in recent years bought into the international boycott movement (Boycotts, Divestment & Sanctions, or “BDS”) calling for action against Israel.
    Where some Christian groups working in the Middle East have added political activism to their existing projects and policies in the region, Kairos Britain has its very foundation in a pseudo-religious political movement (Sabeel) that is more anti-Israel than pro-Palestinian.
    In 2005, Palestinian activists put out a call internationally for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The stated aim is to force Israel to withdraw both soldiers and settlers from the area known as the West Bank (biblical Judea and Samaria). The inspiration for this campaign was the success of similar international sanctions against South Africa, which led to the ending of apartheid. Of course, in order to join up the dots, the BDS movement seeks to paint Israel as an “apartheid state” – something only a little objective research shows to be manifestly untrue.
    The BDS campaign has proved to be a complete failure in terms of economic pressure on Israel. Trying to stop shoppers buying a few items of produce from Israeli settlements hardly measures against the billions of dollars of trade carried on with Israel by the international community in Israel’s high-tech, medical and agricultural developments! What the BDS movement is good at, however, is affecting attitudes negatively towards Israel. Regrettably, BDS output is marked by bias, distortion of history and deceptive assertions that have no foundation in truth or reality.
    In their desire to fight for justice for the oppressed, some Christian organisations working in the Middle East have absorbed the language, attitudes and tactics of the secular BDS groups. This dangerously compromises Christian standards and witness. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), for example, is one of the most prominent of the British BDS groups. Stand For Peace, an inter-religious (not Christian) anti-extremist website, has produced a detailed analysis of the PSC and says,
    “the PSC is an extremist, racist organisation, which tolerates homophobia and other forms of illiberalism. Well-meaning organizations that collaborate with the PSC on the basis of a presumed mutual belief in human rights, democracy and peace, should be informed of the PSC’s true nature; all political and human rights organisations that wish to demonstrate probity should take steps to distance themselves from the PSC’s anti-peace and counter-cohesive message.”
    Why would any “well-meaning” Christian organisation want to be identified with such a group? Yet several are and Christians can often be seen at PSC rallies and supporting them in different ways. Rev Stephen Sizer is a prominent pro-Palestinian evangelical minister and has been a speaker at a number of PSC events. It is a dilution of the Church’s witness to be identified with such an extremist, secular group.
    Christian groups that have allied themselves with the secular BDS movement also show a disturbing degree of imbalance in the way they approach issues concerning the Palestinians and Israel. Commonly much is made of alleged Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians, to the extent that Israel is accused of “ethnically cleansing” whole areas Palestinians (with no convincing evidence). No mention is made, however, of the suffering inflicted on Palestinians by their own leaders; of the massive corruption, misuse of international aid, torturing of prisoners or the incitement of a whole generation to hatred against the one nation the Palestinians are supposed to be making peace with! Nor is mention made of the thousands of rockets that have been launched against Israel from the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.
    Much is made of the evil of Israeli “illegal settlements” on alleged Palestinian territory with no mention of the 96,000 Palestinians earning good wages working in Israel (including 20,000 working in West Bank settlements). Demands are made for the cessation of settlement activity by Israel with no thought to the employment vacuum and suffering that would be left by their removal. Ignored also are inconvenient counter-arguments by top legal minds that Israeli occupation of the West Bank is completely legitimate.
    In November 2012, Christian Aid held a conference in Gateshead on “Peace And Justice In The Holy Land”. A non-Christian commentator (Denis McEoin) who is an expert on Middle East affairs, wrote a detailed account of the proceedings. In his opening paragraphs he says,
    “The conference was, from beginning to end, a total travesty of those ideals [of peace and justice]; it was in all respects one-sided, often dangerously so. One after another, the speakers all presented the pro-Palestinian narrative and arguments derived from Palestinian political theory. Not once was an Israeli or Jewish narrative even mentioned, where such a narrative would differ in substantial terms from the Palestinian one, yet Israel was on several occasions ridiculed and condemned.”
    Just before this conference was held, a coalition of 22 cross-Europe NGOs released the report “Trading Away Peace: How Europe Helps Sustain Illegal Israeli Settlements “. The report was basically an encouragement for Europe to increase boycotts and other sanctions against Israel until she lifts her “illegal occupation” of the West Bank. NGO Monitor condemned the coalition in a strongly-worded response to the 35 page paper entitled “How Biased Political NGOs Fuel Conflict”. This from a well-respected international organisation, going on to say,
    “…this political advocacy NGO network, which receives massive funding from European governments, markets a selective and one-sided narrative in order to demonize Israel. This is part of the “Durban strategy” of using highly distorted versions of the conflict and allegations of “war crimes” in order to isolate Israel – a strategy that these NGOs and their allies have employed for more than a decade.”
    We should be very concerned at this because the 22-strong coalition of “Biased Political NGOs” includes Christian Aid, The Quakers and the Methodist church. This again reveals Christian groups identifying with un-biblical values and attitudes and is damaging to our Christian witness to the world. Christian NGOs should surely not allow themselves to be in a position where they are the objects of such severe censure from a secular organisation!
    The launch of Kairos Britain at the weekend was accompanied by an “occupation game” for children invented by Embrace The Middle East (used to be The Bible Lands Society), a Christian charity that does some amazing educational work among the Middle East’s poor. Using a simulated board game to take children through “checkpoints” and other barriers to their movement, the game presented by CEO Jeremy Moodey abuses a very serious subject and only serves to trivialise the experiences of ordinary people while demonising Israel once again. No mention here of Muslim persecution of Christians in Bethlehem or of the consistent suppression of free speech by the Palestinian leaders; just “nasty old Israel” at it again. Children should be allowed to grow up at least, before people try to indoctrinate them!
    The same imbalance in treatment of the two protagonists in this conflict can be seen in the output of the World Council of Churches’ “Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme to Palestine and Israel” (EAPPI). While claiming not to take sides, their practice of hovering around Israeli security checkpoints in tasteful coloured vests is solely with the aim of capturing examples of brutality by Israeli soldiers. Why not stand outside the Palestinian prison in Jericho and complain about the torture of prisoners there, or show support for Baptist Pastor Naim Khoury in Bethlehem whose church has been fire-bombed by fellow Palestinians?
    Kairos Britain sadly follows in well-trodden paths; distorting history, making emotive claims without supporting evidence and, on a theological level, supporting a Palestinian interpretation of “Liberation Theology” that only sees itself as a victim. (What happened to “more than conquerors”, Romans 8)? For example, their website page on the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict includes the statement,
    “In 1967, during a war with the neighbouring Arab states, Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza Strip…”
    This is an unbelievably skewed interpretation of known historical facts. Presented with a number of unequivocal actions showing that an attack was imminent from Egypt and Syria, Israel carried out pre-emptive attacks on both in June 1967. Frantic diplomatic pleading with Jordan not to join the conflict failed and Jerusalem was attacked by Jordanian forces from the (illegally occupied) West Bank. Fighting back defensively on three fronts and massively out-numbered, Israel succeeded in securing strategically defensible borders against her three attackers. After the dust settled, she held the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the whole of the Sinai peninsula.
    Besides this, the Kairos Britain website inevitably excludes Israel’s immediate offer to return all the territory she had taken in the war in return for peace. It also excludes the vital fact that this offer was categorically refused by the whole Arab League with the statement, “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.” Please tell me, then, who is responsible for Israel’s continued hold on the West Bank and the Golan Heights; who is refusing to make peace with whom
    Kairos Britain, Amos trust, Christian Aid and the other “pro-Palestinian” Christian organisations draw their inspiration (and most of their catch-phrases) from the “Kairos Palestine Document: A Moment of Truth”, published in 2009 by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem. This groups speaks for the traditional Christian denominations, but includes no representation from the newer Palestinian Evangelical churches. It is an expression of a Palestinian version of Catholic Liberation Theology, which politicises the plight of the poor and oppressed and almost sanctifies their victimhood.
    The Kairos Document is more political than spiritual in its tenor and places the whole blame for the difficulties of Palestinian Christians on Israel. Never once in the document is the Palestinian Authority censured for its human rights abuses, its incitement to hatred of Israel and Jews or its provocation of security restrictions by sending terrorists to attack Israelis and rockets from Gaza. These are high on the list of causes for the problems faced by both Christian and Muslim Palestinians. For a comprehensive breakdown of discrepancies in the Kairos Document, see this Christian blog post, published as the Document was fresh off the press.
    If there is a “Kairos moment” for the Church in this arena it is to commit to presenting a more balanced face; engaging compassionately and genuinely with both sides in this seemingly endless conflict that has brought so much pain and death to both Palestinians and Israelis and acknowledging that both sides have a story to tell

  3. That’s a lot of bluster that totally misses Clare’s point.

    Zionism has hijacked the term “anti semitic” to meet a political end.

    Do you agree or not?

  4. Christopher Proudlove

    You have hijacked the word ‘Islamaphobic”, Mr Barclay. Yet I note you are now using accounts of atrocities by Muslim jihadists. I wonder if this a smokescreen attempting to show how fair-minded you are. However, we can all read how perverted most of your comments are.

  5. Another failure at answering the question posed.

    Do you have any intention of giving an honest answer?

  6. Seems like there’s no answer forthcoming from Chris.

    No surprise there then.

  7. Christopher Proudlove

    Stephen Sizer is like Trevor Barclay. Both say they are not anti-Semitic but there writings clearly demonstrate that they are. Both men, of course, will deny this accusation. However, examine their prose and you will find a constant stream of anti-Israel abuse. There are lots and lots of good things coming out of Israel but you will not find one jot of it from Messrs Sizer and Barclay. They are jaundiced to the extreme against Israel.

  8. Christopher Proudlove

    Clare Short’s letter was to support Stephen Sizer. I’ve answered why I disagree with her.

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