Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Dr Martin Davie Responds to anti-Semitism Allegations

14 January 2012

Dear Bishop Christopher

I am writing to you to offer my support to the Revd Dr Stephen Sizer in the face of the accusations of anti-semitism that have been made against him.

When I was on the staff at Oak Hill College I helped to supervise Stephen’s Middlesex University PhD thesis on Christian Zionism alongside the Revd Dr Michael Butterworth and Dr Alan Storkey. It was clear from his thesis that Stephen had strong theological reservations about Christian Zionism, both in terms of its theological basis and in terms of its harmful impact on contemporary politics in America and the Middle East. At no stage, however, was there any indication that his opposition to many aspects of Christian Zionism was driven by anti-semitism. Had there been any such indication those of us who were supervising him would have refused to continue working with him on his thesis and Middlesex University would have refused to grant him his doctorate.

Nothing I have learned about Stephen’s subsequent work has led me to change my original assessment of his position. He is supportive of the Palestinian cause and critical of many aspects of Christian Zionism, but there is nothing to suggest that he is anti-semitic

He is a good scholar and someone who cares deeply about the need for peace in the Middle East. I very much regret the accusations that have been made against him and I hope that his name will soon be cleared.

With all best wishes

Yours sincerely

Dr Martin Davie
Theological Adviser to the House of Bishops

Other letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
Dr Bishara Awad, Founder and President Emeritus, Bethlehem Bible College
Dr Mark Braverman,
 Author of the Fatal Embrace
Canon Dr Mike Butterworth, former Academic Registrar, Oak Hill College
David Carter
, Director, Middle East Evangelical Concern
Anne Clayton, Coordinator, Friends of Sabeel UK
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Professor Emeritus of Judaism, University of Wales
Michael Connarty MP, Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Katherine Cunningham, Moderator, IPMN, Presbyterian Church USA
Dr Martin Davie, Theological Advisor to the House of Bishops
Professor Philip Davies, Department of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
Tony Greenstein, Founding Member, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Professor Mary Grey, Emeritus Professor of Theology, University of Wales
Dr Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Hank Hanegraaff, President, Christian Research Institute
Revd Phil Hill, Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary
Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder, Amos Trust
Dr Ghada Karmi, Fellow of the Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies, Exeter University
Manfred W. Kohl, Ambassador, Overseas Council
Dr Attorney Jonathan Kuttab, Chairman of the Board, Bethlehem Bible College
Venerable Michael Lawson, Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council
Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive, Embrace the Middle East
Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan
Diana Neslen, Ex-officio, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Professor Ilan Pappe, Director, European Centre for Palestine Studies, Exeter University
Revd Jack Sara, President, Bethlehem Bible College
Rabbi Dr Stanley Howard Schwartz, Hospice Chaplain and retired Army Chaplain
David Toorawa, Chair, Friends of Sabeel UK
Revd Dr Donald Wagner, National Director, Friends of Sabeel North America
Revd John Woodger, Retired vicar, St Mary's Watford

Anthony Julius is chairman of the London Consortium and a Visiting Professor at Birbeck College, University of London. His book Trials of the Diaspora, is a magisterial 800 page examination of the history of Anti-Semitism in England. In the final chapter which deals with the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, Julius writes,
"He has recently explained, however, that he 'categorically reject[s] any position that threatens the territorial integrity of Israel as a sovereign nation.... Stephen Sizer's work has the merit of clearly setting out the issues that divide the two sides, and furthermore doing so without the rancour or sheer nastiness of tone typical of the polemics in the conflict." (p.571)
And see also these articles from other news sources:

Jews for Justice for Palestinians One link does not equal antisemitism
Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Jeremiah's Underpants
Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Dr Sizer is cleared
Church of England Newspaper: Sizer complaint
Church Times:  Vicar is not Anti-Semitic
Church Times:  Rabbi Clears Vicar of Anti-Semitism
Jewish Chronicle: Bishop: anti-Zionist vicar ‘no antisemite
Jewish Chronicle: Sizer: I am ready to meet the Board of Deputies any time