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Momentum withdraw Gaza fundraiser invite to vicar who promoted article blaming 9/11 on Israel

Pro-Corbyn group apologises, saying it 'wasn't aware' of his views

    Rev Stephen Sizer
    Rev Stephen Sizer

    A branch of pro-Corbyn group Momentum has withdrawn an invitation for a Church of England vicar to be guest speaker at a Gaza fundraiser after they learned he promoted an article suggesting Israel carried out the 9/11 attacks.

    The event in Leytonstone, east London was scheduled for October with Stephen Sizer billed as the guest speaker because, according to the leaflet promoting the event, Mr Corbyn admires “the excellent work” that Mr Sizer does.

    Mr Sizer has been warned about sharing Holocaust denial and Zionist conspiracy articles, and in 2015 he linked on Facebook to a page entitled ‘9-11/Israel did it,’ which alleges Israel was responsible for the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York and Washington.

    Under the link to the page on conspiracy theory website Wikispooks, he wrote: “Is this antisemitic? If so no doubt I'll be asked to remove it. It raises so many questions.”

    After the JC approached Momentum for comment, the group's Ilford branch wrote on Facebook: "We weren't aware of Stephen Sizer's past comments. After having been made aware of them we have recinded his invitation.

    "We oppose antisemitism in all its forms and we apologise for any offence caused."

    Islamic Relief, a charity whose logo was used on the flyer promoting the event, said they had had no part in organising it and had asked it to be removed.

    A spokesperson said: "It came to our attention this morning that Ilford Momentum was using our logo, name and web link to promote an event for Gaza hosting the speaker Stephen Sizer.

    "As soon as we knew about this, we requested that they remove any reference to us from their promotional material. They did not seek our permission; nor did they contact us to let us know that they were putting this event on."

    "Islamic Relief is a strictly humanitarian organisation, and does not align itself with any political point of view, remaining politically neutral throughout all our work. We condemn all forms of racism including antisemitism."

    In 2014, Rev Sizer attended a conference in Iran where Israel was accused of plotting the attacks on New York’s World Trade Centre buildings in a session called ‘Zionist Fingerprints on the 9/11 Cover-up’.

    At the time the Bishop of Guildford condemned Reverend Sizer for displaying “appalling” judgement over his anti-Israel posts.

    The bishop, the Right Reverend Andrew Watson, banned Rev Sizer from using social media and prohibited from speaking about the Middle East on any platform.

    But the vicar, who leads the Christ Church congregation in Virginia Water, Surrey, went on to attend an event at the House of Lords in 2016 at which an audience member appeared to blame the Jews for the Holocaust.

    The session, organised by the Palestine Return Centre, was hosted by Baroness Tonge and led to the Liberal Democrats suspending her party membership.

    After attending the event, Rev Sizer published a social media post about it, breaching the terms of his agreement not to say anything about the Middle East on any platform.

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