Rev Stephen Sizer showed 'appalling' judgement over antisemitic post, says his bishop


The Bishop of Guildford has condemned Reverend Stephen Sizer as displaying “appalling” judgement over his anti-Israel posts, but denied that the vicar had been deliberately antisemitic.

He promised that if Rev Sizer repeated his behaviour, he would be dismissed.

Rev Sizer, who has a parish in Surrey, posted a link to an article suggesting Israel carried out the 9/11 attack.

In an announcement made on Monday, the bishop, the Right Reverend Andrew Watson, said Rev Sizer was banned from using social media and prohibited from speaking about the Middle East on any platform.

Bishop Andrew said: “I do not believe Stephen has been antisemitic in his motivation. He’s been pro-Palestinian more than anti-Jewish. At the same time his judgement has been appalling, and it’s a question of the effect and influence of someone’s actions as well as someone’s motivation.

“Stephen’s recent actions have caused shock and consternation in all sorts of places and he has now rightly apologised for their impact.”

The bishop defended the Church’s decision not to terminate Rev Sizer’s employment, saying that a lengthy disciplinary case could have been damaging and that the punishment was proportional.

"Stephen hasn’t broken any of the laws of the land, to my knowledge, and a disciplinary process would have been lengthy and of uncertain outcome.

“Our judgement was that it was important to act fast and decisively, especially given the current climate with antisemitism on the rise, rather than hiding behind legal process for months on end. This agreement may be a pragmatic response, but it does what’s needed.”

He added: “Stephen is stepping back from a huge part of his life’s work, so this is no small measure.

“Stephen knows that if he steps out of line again, the agreement of resignation is not an empty promise. Although he has shown gross errors of judgement, Stephen is – I am told – a man of his word, and I am confident he will keep his side of the agreement.”

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