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Are Stephen Sizer and Colin Chapman influenced

by anti-Semitic anti-Zionism?
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Dear brethren,

 

What is anti-Semitism? I offer a simple definition again: a malicious motivation towards the Jews (usually disguised), a falsification of facts about them, and its object is to harm or denigrate. It is diametrically opposed to the spirit of Leviticus 19.17-18.

 

Is it prevalent? Let an eminent Jewish historian, Martin Gilbert, speak, 'as my research into Jewish history progressed, I was surprised, depressed and to some extent overwhelmed by the perpetual and irrational violence which pursued the Jews in every century and to almost every corner of the globe'. (1)

 

Does it change? Beyond doubt, Nazi anti-Semitism was profoundly mutated and different from the religious hatred of the Jews, expressed by Catholics and Protestants. Whilst it exploited the former, it developed social Darwinistic, racist views to justify its mass murder of European civilians. Religious anti-Semitism had become racist anti-Semitism. Since the Holocaust, racism has been widely abhorred, religious intolerance at least in the West frowned on. So has anti-Semitism almost disappeared? With the rise of a Jewish nation and state - most visceral anti-Semites now express their hatred in terms that are anti-Zionistic. It is an anti-Israeli, anti-Zionistic engine that now propels Jewish hatred. In a world where many nations and groups openly seek the end of Israel's existence, many of whom its neighbours - this is no academic question.

 

The fact that Jews are amongst its proponents is nothing new to those familiar with the tragic history of anti-Jewish hatred. In 2005, Oxford historian, Avi Shlaim proposed a debate most Jews regards as evidence of wild anti-Israeli prejudice, entitled 'Is Zionism the Real Enemy of the Jews?'. Others like Israel Shamir, though he lives in Israel, and Norman Finkelstein, Britain's MP Gerald Kaufman are ferocious opponents of Israel to the extent some challenge its very existence.

 

Now the real question Alastair asked needs addressing, is there evidence of the influence of anti-Semitism in the writings of Stephen Sizer and Colin Chapman?. I am disappointed Alastair and the authors chose not to wait for the evidence I had promised before replying.

 

I recognise that both have not called for an end to Israel, and profess to seek peaceful solutions. That however is not the issue. Do they show a systematic bias in their writings against the Jewish state?

 

Stephen Sizer

He claims Israel is a racist state (2). He repeatedly cites the infamous 10 November, 1975 UN General Assembly Resolution, which condemned Zionism as racist, which almost all Western democracies rejected (2). He appears to regret that the resolution was subsequently rescinded. In his lecture at Keele 2002 (3), he endorsed the UN Durban conference, which to those familiar with its proceedings turned into a hatefest of anti-Israeli sentiment. The charge that Israel is racist is both not sustainable and profoundly tunnel visioned, given the region, it is a pluralistic, multicultural and multiracial society, which makes its neighbours look monotone by comparison. Even 'moderate' Jordan forbids Jews from citizenship. It bends over backward to the point where Arab MKs have often consorted with Syrian and Lebanese enemies of the state. Tackling extreme, eliminationist ideology and dealing severely with terror is one thing, systematic racism quite another.

 

He makes the strange and undocumented claim that the two rivers on Israel's flag are the Euphrates and the Nile (2), a frequent trope amongst haters of Israel, but one without historical foundation. This canard is addressed at Wikipedia (4).

 

 

His website contains this little piece, in which God addresses Tony Blair for his recent mediation efforts in the Middle East, 'You are not working for George or Ehud. They are not on my team, Tony. I wonder whether you�ve changed sides as well. What you are doing in the Middle East is embarrassing me, Tony. It really is. It ticks me off. Its giving me a bad name'(5). Aside from the irreverence, it shows his highly politicised attitude to the US President and PM of Israel, whether saved or not. It dovetails with his view that, 'Israel and the USA, are intent on occupying, colonizing, militarising and destabilizing parts of the Middle East...' (6), despite recent attempts by both countries to extricate themselves from these areas. The claim is more justly made against the US than it is against Israel, which occupied territory in defensive wars of elimination, not under a doctrine of preemption.

 

This evil influence even colours his exegesis. For his hermeneutical school, he makes the peculiarly literal claim that, Gen 15.18 �has been fulfilled in so far as Ishmael�s descendants� extend throughout the Middle East� (2), a quirk which a more accurate translation or better familiarity with the text might have delivered him from.

 

It is even plain in his travel diary, when security guards in Israel check luggage, he rests the blame with only one party �this is the nightmare contemporary Zionism has created.� (7)

 

Is it surprising he has justified Sabeel? Whilst he is absolutely right we should never neglect or forget the suffering of Palestinian believers, to malign Israel or to support the ruinous Islamist authority, which has both aggravated and perpetuated their sufferings is no service to Christ or His flock.

 

 

Colin Chapman

 

His recent, short resume of the history of Israel is revealing for its omissions and upon which side he almost exclusively lays blame for the conflict (8).

 

He mentions the 750,000 Palestinian refugees in 1948, but not the 560,000 Jewish refugees to Israel from persecution in her neighbours from 48 to 67 � some of these refugees were themselves anti-Zionistic, and some who had been in communities dating back to pre-Christian times, nor does he mention the 100,000s who fled to Europe or the US. He neglects to mention the extraordinary division of the UN�s dealing with refugees into Palestinians (UNRWA) and all others (UNHCR), with completely different definitions applied (especially with regard to the status of descendants), and contrasting objective of the two agencies � one to resolve and settle, the other apparently to perpetuate.

 

He describes the �67 war as the result of �Israeli provocation and Arab brinkmanship�. Almost as though Israel had been threatening to annihilate her neighbours, instead of Nasser repeatedly.

 

He lays the blame for the failure to address UN SCR 242 entirely at the feet of Israel, and fails even to mention Khartoum�s famous conference of the Arab League�s �three no�s�.

  

He lays the blame for Arafat's egregious failure to stop the murder of civilians at Israel's feet (and ignores the evidence he and the PA repeatedly funded and incited it).

 

He mentions Arafat's difficulties at Camp David, but fails to mention Barak's political suicide, destruction of his coalition and his alienation of his own foreign minister, in denigrating the sacrifice implicit in his offer.

 

In short, though many other examples could be supplied his account of the history is so biased as to be unhistorical. Even his chief source, the profoundly anti-Zionistic Jewish historian Avi Shlaim, whose debate was mentioned above, handles his data with greater balance.

 

For Christian workers amongst Muslims awareness of these issues is essential, and the Apostle�s challenge not to be high-minded nor wise in our own conceits against God�s ancient covenant promises and people is one we need to embrace (Rom.11.20,25).A Qatari newspaper cartoon

 

Yours in the Beloved Son,


 

Charles Soper

 


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 A Better Hope from the message of Jesus the Messiah from the changed hearts of Arabs and Palestinians

1 Gilbert, M. Atlas of Jewish History 5th Edn. 1995, Routledge, London.

2 Sizer, S. Website http://www.christchurch-virginiawater.co.uk/articles/debate.html Accessed 30/8/06.

3 Sizer, S. Website http://www.christchurch-virginiawater.co.uk/articles/alaqsa2001.htm Accessed 30/8/06.

4 Wikipedia Website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Israel#Claims_of_.22Nile_to_Euphrates.22_territorial_ambitions Accessed 30/8/06.

5 Sizer, S. Website http://www.christchurch-virginiawater.co.uk/articles/hello.htm Accessed 30/8/06.

Sizer, S. Website http://www.sizers.org/articles/journal.htm Accessed 30/8/06.

7 Sizer, S. Website Church of England Newspaper: 21 July 2006 p.19 http://www.christchurch-virginiawater.co.uk/articles/cenletter.htm Accessed 30/8/06

8 Redcliffe College Website. http://www.redcliffe.org/uploads/documents/israel_palestine1_05.pdf Accessed 30/8/06.


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