Category Archives: Jewish Network for Palestine

Pure Joy in Trials of Many Kinds

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2)

A Jewish, Muslim and Christian perspective on the outcome of my Ecclesiastical Tribunal following a complaint made by the Board of Deputies in 2018.

“As an Israeli Jew and the head of an Israeli human rights organization – ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – I am appalled by the very thought of bringing anyone, let alone such a principled person as Stephen Sizer, before a religious Tribunal. What, are we back to the Medieval days of the Inquisition? I can’t speak for the Church of England, but Jews, the British Board of Deputies, participating in a religious Tribunal?! The very thought is appalling. What has happened to us, Jews and Christians together? Are we willing to return to the dark processes of Tribunals with no legal underpinnings, no genuine evidence or testimony, conducted solely against people whose views we don’t like – besmirch and destroy people’s lives – just to prevent criticism of Israel? Is it really so easy, in the 21st Century, to persecute people for their religious and political views? Savonarola meets Trump?

The charges against Dr. Sizer are untrue and trumped-up – and you all know it. Antisemitism?! How do you possibly defend yourself against such a charge? In the intellectual and democratic world in which most of us live, Dr. Sizer has made a rational, well-researched case for his views and analysis presented in articles, books and lectures based firmly on academic research and religious history. But that is exactly the type of person for which Tribunals are necessary, since analyses like Dr. Sizer presents, unpopular in some partisan circles as they may be, cannot be dismissed in academic circles or barred in courts of law. They must be denounced in Tribunals with no moral, legal or intellectual authority, and as in all religious Tribunals, the person maligned and destroyed in order to somehow delegitimize his or her views. I am embarrassed for all of you – and downright angry at the Jews who participate in the dark proceeding of religious Tribunals.

Let me say this as plainly as I can. I have known Dr. Sizer for over twenty years. I respect his moral position on Israel. I certainly respect his academic work on Christian Zionism, one of the most insidious and antisemitic religious doctrines in modern history and profoundly anti-Israel (Israel exists to bring on the Christian End of Days in which virtually all Jews die or become Christians). I respect Dr. Sizer’s willingness to go beyond the comforts of parish life to engage critically in an issue of central concern to us all: how to prevent Israel from becoming the next apartheid South Africa, how to prevent Jews from becoming Afrikaners, and how to liberate the Palestinian people from the yoke of occupation and apartheid – causes Christians and Jews should be engaged with rather than outdated and discredited Tribunals. And while I don’t use Dr. Sizer’s faith-based language, I have never heard him utter a word that I would consider antisemitic. To accuse or “convict” him of such is truly medieval. It is all the more outrageous if you and your Tribunal are basing your judgement on the false and tendentious position represented by the IHRA assertion that any criticism of Israel is de facto antisemitic – a position disavowed by Kenneth Stern, who drafted the IHRA paper (only intended as a “working definition”), as well as by dozens of prominent Jewish and Israeli scholars and progressive Jewish and Israeli organizations.” Jeff Halper ICAHD Supports Rev Stephen Sizer, Accused of Anti-Semitism

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Conflict or Convivencia?

With friends at the launch of the Convivencia Alliance In London last Sunday – from Jewish Network for Palestine (JNP), Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), One Democratic State (ODS), Kairos Palestine, Naturei Karta and Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC).

This was my presentation at the launch of the Convivencia Alliance:

I have been looking forward to this day for a very long time. I became very excited when I read the first draft of the Convivencia Declaration. My dream has always been of seeing Jews, Muslims and Christians work together to bring justice, peace and reconciliation in Palestine. Why? Because, if with God’s help we can achieve peace in Palestine, we can achieve it anywhere.

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Convivencia Alliance Launch: Sunday 8 May

New Middle East peace initiative seeks to harness spirit of Spanish Golden Age.

You are invited to the public launch of the Convivencia Alliance on Sunday, 8 May 2022 at 2pm, P21 Gallery, 21 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

Speakers include: Mr. Awad Abd Al-Fattah, (One Democratic State, Palestine), Prof. Haim Bresheeth (Jewish Network for Palestine), Prof. Jeff Halper (ICAHD Israel), Rifat Odeh Kassis, (Kairos Palestine, Jerusalem), Mr. Massoud Shadjareh (Islamic Human Rights Commission), Reverend Dr. Stephen Sizer, Ms. Naomi Wimborne Idrissi and Prof. Ramón Grosfoguel (University of California, Berkeley)

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Convivencia: Interfaith Coexistence

Convivencia simply means ‘coexistence’. It is an academic hypothesis, first proposed by the Spanish philologist Américo Castro, regarding the coexistence of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities during the period of Spanish history from the Muslim Umayyad conquest of Hispania in the early eighth century until the expulsion of the Jews in 1492.

By extension the term can describe the contemporary religious and cultural interaction and exchange fostered by such proximity as a way to challenge the various forms of ethno-supremacism and exclusive religious nationalisms emerging in different parts of the world. 

Professor Haim Bresheeth has written a short introductory article on Convivencia published by Faith Initiative.

In June 2021, The Jewish Network for Palestine invited me to give a short presentation on Convivencia at their annual meeting. JNP have written a significant document on Convivencia to be launched in the Spring, in liaison with Muslim and Christian organisations.

Jewish Network for Palestine: Convivencia

The Jewish Network for Palestine invited me to give a short presentation on coexistence at their recent annual meeting.

Convivencia simply means ‘coexistence. It is an academic hypothesis, first proposed by the Spanish philologist Américo Castro, regarding the coexistence of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities during the period of Spanish history from the Muslim Umayyad conquest of Hispania in the early eighth century until the expulsion of the Jews in 1492.

By extension the term can describe the contemporary religious and cultural interaction and exchange fostered by such proximity as a way to challenge the various forms of ethno-supremacism and exclusive religious nationalisms emerging in different parts of the world. 

Jewish Network for Palestine: Zionism’s Christian Soldiers

Jewish Network for Palestine (JNP) Webinar: Zionism’s Christian Soldiers, Dr Stephen Sizer is interviewed about his work on the topic, and his two books on it. Held on November 28, 2020, by JNP, London.

Preceding Jewish Zionism by at least a half-century, Christian Zionism was called Restorationism, imagining that Jews everywhere would be ‘restored’ to their ancient homeland. In recent decades Christian Zionism has had a global resurgence, especially in the USA. Nowadays 9 of every 10 Zionists are Christians, well organized at national and global levels. They provide important support for the continuing Zionist colonization project and for pro-Israel government policies. They also seek to intimidate and disrupt solidarity activity by pro-Palestine Christians. Learn about this threat and efforts to counter it in JNP’s second webinar ‘Zionism’s Christian Soldiers’.

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