A university student who wrote blogs attacking anti-Zionists has accused police of acting on behalf of the Church after he was questioned in connection with a harassment complaint.
Joseph Weissman, 23, author of the Seismic Shock blog, revealed that two officers had visited him asking for comments he had made about Church of England pastor Stephen Sizer to be removed from the site.
Rev Sizer, senior pastor of the Anglican Christ Church, in Virginia Water, Surrey, who has regularly spoken out against Zionism and accused the Israeli government of war crimes, complained to police last year that the blogs constituted harassment.
Dr Anthony McRoy, a lecturer on Islam and former National Front member, also complained that comments made about him on the blog, which was run from a Leeds University computer, were an incitement to violence.
Mr Weissman, a messianic Jew, said he had been at home in Leeds one Sunday morning at the end of last year, when police arrived at the door.
“I had a chat with them, they said there had been two complaints.”
The postgraduate student had drawn attention on his blog to Rev Sizer’s views on Zionism and posted links to an interview with the pastor on Iranian-backed Press TV in which he discusses Israeli “ethnic cleansing”.
He said: “I had asked questions in the blog, I was not accusing Rev Sizer, I was not saying he was an antisemite. I was commenting on the facts.
“The police did not caution me. They said they trusted me to take the blog down. I felt intimidated. I’m not a confrontational person, I just thought I’d do what the police said, but now I realise they went to the university and retrieved deleted files. The whole thing has been very upsetting.
“It is terrible that one arm of the state is acting upon the will of a state vicar.”
Rev Sizer was in Uganda and was unavailable for comment.
Dr McRoy is a born-again Christian who says he now works to expose the BNP and campaigns against racism.
He said: “Mr Weissman was running an anonymous blog. He never contacted me directly. We obviously have very different views on Palestine, that’s fine. My intention was not to stop him expressing his views.
“But on his blog he presented me as an al-Qaeda supporter, which is a wicked lie. It physically endangered me and my family. ”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The author voluntarily removed the blog. No formal action was taken.”