CST Blog

Rev. Stephen Sizer speaking at antisemitic conference in Iran

2 October 2014

The Rev Stephen Sizer is a Church of England vicar with a long record of anti-Israel activity. In 2012 the Board of Deputies made a formal complaint to the Church of England about allegations that Sizer had used his website to link to antisemitic material from other websites. This complaint was resolved through mediation and a Conciliation Agreement was accepted by both parties, which included Sizer accepting that "on occasions his use of language has caused offence to some and agrees that he should have reflected on his choice of words more carefully." Sizer also stated:

I care passionately about the safety of the Jewish people and the right of Israel to exist within internationally agreed borders. I have always opposed racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial as well as Islamophobia and the denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination and will continue to do so.

Sizer's presence at an antisemitic conference in Iran this week brings into question whether he is honouring the spirit of this Conciliation Agreement in good faith.

The conference is the Second New Horizon Conference in Tehran. According to Iranian state-run Press TV, the conference intended to “unveil the secrets behind the dominance of the Zionist lobby over US and EU politics.” Those attending include a host of Holocaust Deniers and conspiracy theorists.

For an example of why this is an antisemitic conference, one of the conference sessions is on "Mossad’s Role in the 9/11 Coup d’Etat". This includes discussion of "9/11 and the Holocaust as pro-Zionist "Public Myths"":

Tehran conference

Sizer was scheduled to speak at several points during the conference. One of these was a panel on "The Mechanisms of Action of the Israeli Lobby and their Effects in Western Capitals", with Sizer speaking on "The Israeli Lobby in England". One of the other speakers scheduled for this panel was Ahmed Rami, a Swedish Islamist with a history of support for Holocaust Deniers and Nazis.

Tehran conference 2

Rami has a conviction for antisemitism in Sweden and his Radio Islam website includes the full text of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, plus extensive Holocaust Denial material. It is impossible to miss the antisemitism on the Radio Islam website: the first four articles listed on the homepage are "The Jewish hand behind Internet"; "Judaism - Jewish "religion" and racism"; "The Jews behind Islamophobia"; and "Al Jazeera English - under Jewish infiltration."

Another UK-based speaker at the Tehran conference was the former US marine Ken O'Keefe, who now inhabits the wilder fringes of pro-Palestinian activism.  In July, O'Keefe gave an interview to an online radio show hosted by American antisemite and former Klansman David Duke. In August he spoke at a London meeting of the far right Iona Forum. Typical of his speech on that occasion was this extract:

What we have right now is a world where, because we have a tiny tiny minority running the financial system, primarily Jew in the banking sector. But of course we’ve got Jews in the media, I mean come on, they own Hollywood, they own all the major cooperate media institutions, with rare exception, they’re have totally infiltrated the US government.

CST Blog has writtenseveraltimesbefore about the endemicantisemitism in the Iranian government, media and wider public debate. It is inevitable that an Iranian conference on "the Zionist lobby" would feature antisemites, Holocaust Deniers and conspiracy theorists. The fact that it also featured a Church of England vicar is utterly shameful.

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