Sizer, the Rivercourt Methodist Church and Holocaust denial.

Daud Abdullah being listened to by Arthur Goodman, the West London PSC Chairman, Linda Ramsden, Stephen Sizer.

Daud Abdullah being listened to by Arthur Goodman, the West London PSC Chairman, Linda Ramsden, Stephen Sizer

I feel somewhat rejuvinated after a moving and uplifting Yom Kippur sat in synagogue listening to inspirational sermons and prayers and it was good to see many friendly faces (note to self: must go to shul more).

So it is with sadness that I now have to write about yet another sick anti-Israel public meeting in London that took place last Thursday at the Rivercourt Methodist Church, King Street, Hammersmith.

The event was called Jerusalem Under Threat and was held by the West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Due to speak were Reverend Stephen Sizer, Arthur Goodman (Jews for Justice for Palestinians), Linda Ramsden (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) and Daud Abdullah (Middle East Monitor). Ghada Karmi couldn’t make it but instead we were subjected to a talk by an Anarchist Against the Wall (see clip at end).

After a long journey there I made straight for the toilets. One congregant told me that I should stay in there. Then as I sat down for the talk I was approached by a policeman who warned me not disrupt the meeting.

“Moi?” I asked, innocently.

Up first was Daud Abdullah who spoke about how UN Resolution 181 called for the internationalisation of Jerusalem, while disregarding the fact that 181 doesn’t apply now having been rejected by the Arabs in 1947. He also spoke of Israel digging up 14th Century Muslim cemeteries and burying the remains in “mass graves” to make way for the Museum of Tolerance.

Arthur Goodman gave us a lecture on international law regarding Jerusalem and spoke of a supposed “Masterplan” for Jerusalem which entailed Jews eventually making up 70% of Jerusalem’s population and the Arabs the remaining 30%.

Stephen Sizer was proficient at marketing his book Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon?, there being a leaflet on every seat. He was quick to tell us that Christians have lived in Jerusalem for 2000 years and in peace with their Christian and Jewish neighbours and that only recently have tensions grown. He said that since 1948 there has been a massive reduction of Christians in the West Bank and Israel. Not surprisingly he blamed Israel for this and referred to “the apartheid wall” as “segregation based on race”.

He quoted passages from the bible that he believes supports a “one state solution”, which was all lapped up in silence by his hypocritical audience who would have yelled derision at someone had that person quoted the many biblical passages that support the Jewish people’s right to Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan.

He said that church leaders refuse to speak out about Israel’s crimes because of “guilt for the Holocaust and fear of anti-Semitism” and that churches which side with “the occupation” and Zionism have “repudiated Jesus, have repudiated the bible and are an abomination” (see clip below).

At the end of the event Jonathan Hoffman persuaded me to stand outside the church with him to hand out pro-Israel leaflets to the congregants as they left the church. It was a futile gesture and all it did was encourage someone who called herself “Jane Green” to tell us that there weren’t any gas chambers in the Holocaust, that the Jews had instead died having had their foreskins chopped off, that only a couple of hundred thousand Jews died in the Holocaust, that the Jews are using the Holocaust to commit genocide against the Palestinians and that all the Jews in Israel are total Nazis, as you can hear here:

PSC campaigner “Jane Green” outside Rivercourt Methodist Church.

With that we trudged off home hungry, cold and dispirited that a British church can hold an event that seemed to engender such disrespect for 6,000,000 souls who died in the most dire of circumstances.

More clips/photos:

This Anarchist Against the Wall had no answers when challenged mid-flow by Jonathan Hoffman:

The West London PSC Chair says what he thinks about Israel:

Arthur Goodman readying himself to speak.

Arthur Goodman readying himself to speak.

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44 responses to “Sizer, the Rivercourt Methodist Church and Holocaust denial.

  1. It makes you wonder how Lord Soper would have reacted to the 8,000 plus missiles fired by Hamas and Hizbollah on Israel

  2. Respect to you and Jonathan for having the stomach to attend such loathsome gatherings and hear such appalling libels about the Middle East’s only true democracy.

  3. Janet Clifford

    Jonathan and Richard are the giants in this war such a pity the cowardly “leaders” cannot find the courage to help in any way whatsoever.

  4. Janet: what ‘leaders’ are you referring to?

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  6. Janet Clifford

    “Leaders” of our Communal Bodies. Please tell me if I have made a mistake and I will be glad to acknowledge.

    • No that’s fine. Now I understand who you mean. And yes, they are gutless in some ways, not wanting to undermine the status quo, playing it safe, keeping their heads down. You have to go right back to the 12th century to see where that circumspection comes from.

  7. I am curious as to how many people there were in the audience. How many PSC supporters turned up, how many pro-Israel 9pro-Truth) supporters and – most important – how many non-committed? Because I get the impression (possibly mistaken) that it’s only the committed (to one side or the other) who bother to attend.

  8. Jonathan Hoffman

    There was one other pro- person there but he didn’t declare himself until after the meeting. There were certainly several anti’s there. I believe there were a number there who were prepared to listed to both sides. Unfortunatrely they got neither side. All they got was ill-informed bigotry and from Sizer, supercessionism. It is appalling that neither Rowan Williams nor Sizer’s Bishop is prepared to read him the Riot Act. I suppose it reflects the sorry state of the C or E.

  9. Well done guys on challenging this awful prejudice.

  10. Ugh, how thoroughly depressing.

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  12. Richard and Jonathan were not the only Jews to attend church right after Yom Kippur. Coincidentally, I enjoyed a rather lazy late lunch yesterday in the yard of Christ Church, just after the Jaffe Gate, in Jerusalem. They were kind enough to supply strictly kosher sealed meals courtesy of the excellent Aroma restaurant.

    Though the trees are unmistakably palms, fig, citrus, etc the lawn, the high fences and rusting wheel-barrow could not help, but remind me of England’s green and pleasant land. I had occasion to chat with three men of the cloth and their wives. Inevitably, similar issues to those discussed at the Rivercourt Methodist Church were raised, but judging by Richard’s clips in an altogether more congenial atmosphere.

    These are not radically pro-Israel Evangelicals, but Protestants. If they “love” the Jewish people it is the same cruel and noxious love that caused their Crusader ancestors to kill us and others who refused to find Jesus, thus being spared from further sin. They seem to support Israel and her right to exist when I talk to them in the spirit of the 19th English Christian forerunners of Zionism, but for a moment I don’t allow myself to forget that they are a tiny minority of a fundamentally anti-Semitic church. Nor do they deny their hope that I will recognize Jesus one day. “Look” I explain, “If he comes back, we’ll talk about it.” Polite laughter follows.

    Besides the Arab-Israeli conflict, we discuss Jonathan Pollard, Vanunu (lehavdil) and the poor Copts in Egypt. Someone points out that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians are not persecuted. I remind her that they are persecuted in Bethlehem, how ironic.

    I present what I consider to be a fascinating paradox that Israel’s best friends in the world today, the US Evangelical Church and in the European Right Wing were and probably still are, traditionally anti-Semitic. For the first time Diaspora Jews may have to choose between politicians who “like” them and those who “love” Israel. The Republican Party is a wonderful example of this with presidential candidates who each seem more pro-Israel than the next, forever unable to pick up even 25% of the Jewish vote. We discuss other matters relating to Israeli religiosity and someone tells me he heard that my daughter refused to move to the back of a bus when confronted by Ultra-Orthodox men – a father glows with pride.

    It comes to leave and young Ariel asks the priest if he has a Jewish prayer book in his outstanding library that he might say grace after meals. The priest happily produces a Koren siddur. On the way back I pop into the Begin Heritage Center, sadly Israel Medad has just left. So we return home tired but content.

    Is there a similarity with Richard’s and Jonathan’s church visit? I’m not sure. However, I am certain that I had it far easier. I had never comprehended why playing at home is so advantageous, but I think I’m beginning to get the picture.

    • Daniel

      one question about Jesus:

      I have been told that God stopping Abraham from sacrificing his son marks the end of human sacrifice. Then after a while according to Christians God sacrificed his own son.

      Keeping it as straight as I like things to be and in hommage to Agatha Christie I can conclude only one of two things from it:

      a) that the God who is the father of Jesus is another God altogether, somebody masking himself or getting masked to pass himself off as the real one i.e. an impostor

      or

      b) that he is the same and sending a message that I can’t begin to imagine what it is supposed to mean.

      I think a) covers the facts available to me much better and thank heavens it isn’t the middle ages any longer (at least where I live, for the time being at least) where you could end up on the stake for denying that the Christian God is the real one.

  13. God, one needs an antivenin after exposure to such “people”.
    So the Christians aren’t happy, clearly, that the first Holocaust didn’t get rid of all the Jews (yes I’m aware Goodman is Jewish).
    As far as I’m concerned, the Muslims took the soul of the British/EU long ago. Let them have GB as well.
    Enjoy Shariah,British bigots!!

  14. See David Hallam’s comments and follow-ups
    http://methodistpreacher.blogspot.com/2011/10/anti-semitism-opnely-expressed-at.html
    He seems to suggest that a complaint from you or Jonathan Hoffman might be acted upon by the Methodist Presidency.

  15. But Ric, Sizer’s bishop has known about this for ages, and has done sweet FA. And the Idiot Rowan ‘Sharia’ Williams certainly has neither the brains, the balls or the integrity to do anything.

  16. Quite possibly the Egyptians may have the correct answer for these types of Christians.

    • Silke,

      I am no expert in Christian theology and your question might be better directed to the always articulate Tony Pearce. I would imagine that even the gentleman in question would concede that the sacrifice of Jacob did not mark the end of human sacrifice, but rather marked the time when such behavior went from being a legitimate means of serving G-d to an abomination.

      DavidinPT,
      I don’t think that the massacre of innocent demonstrators in the streets can ever be the “correct answer”. If it is, I shudder to think what the question might have been.

  17. Looks like that old time religion has been bitten by some old time anti-Semitism.

  18. Jonathan Hoffman

    Ric, the Methodists know our repulsion at what they do and what happens in their Churches but do nothing … draw your own conclusion …

  19. I wonder if Bloomsbury Methodists will be holding another Christmas hate fest organised by the PSC . Grotesque re workings of traditional Christmas carols in order to demonise Israel and every anti-Semites favourite Christmas panto , Churchs 7 Jewish children .
    When will the Church issue a statement condemning the use of church premises for one sided political diatribes and antisemitic discourse . Any group such as the PSC which demands a one state solution is intrinsically antisemitic .

  20. It is a question that I’ve asked on this excellent blog, but have never received an answer. I guess it must be so dumb that the answer is self-evident, but indulge me anyway. What is wrong with someone having or expressing anti-Semitic views?

    Obviously, I’m not saying for a moment that the discrimination against or persecution of Jews is justifiable any more than any other group. Nobody should be allowed to intentionally cause harm to anybody else, irrespective as to whether he does so out of hatred or professed love, but that is not what I’m talking about. I’m asking whether the very disliking of an individual or group or the expression of that dislike in a book or at a church meeting should not be permitted either.

    I don’t live in Great Britain, but I sometimes get the impression that Islamists try to label all those who dare criticize extremist manifestations of their faith as Islamophobes, while well-meaning supporters of Israel attempt to prove that any critics of Zionism are anti-Semites. It’s as if it’s acceptable to hate Israeli Jews but not all Jews – could someone explain to me why? Why does every goy in the world have to love us? And if he doesn’t, why isn’t he allowed to tell his mates about it?

    As Robert Wistrich explains, “Antisemitism in the British Isles is certainly not a new phenomenon. It has a long history…” http://sicsa.huji.ac.il/robert%20pp13.pdf

    British Antisemitism predates the establishment of the State of Israel by about 900 years, ” There were periods like the 12th century, as the historian Anthony Julius recently noted, when Anglo-Jews were being injured or murdered without pity or conscience—at times in an atmosphere of public revelry” and that was long before “the occupation” or the “settlements”. Most British goyim don’t like Anglo-Jewry, never have and never will. They may like certain Anglo-Jews, they might even love them, they could be best friends and they may even marry them, but as a group they’ll never like them. What’s there to like?

    Therefore, I recommend not to expect too much, or to imagine that a well composed letter to the Methodist Presidency will change any of this. Get used to the fact that, out of choice, you live in a society in which you are mainly disliked, because that will never change. Focus on the perks; great pubs, Strictly Come Dancing and extremely polite fellow countrymen with nice ties.

    • “What is wrong with someone having or expressing anti-Semitic views?”

      Expressing antisemitic views, like any other form of incitement, is highly likely to lead to acts of intimidation, violence and discrimination against Jews. That is why incitement to intimidation, violence and discrimination, all of which are illegal, is itself illegal.
      See, it wasn’t really all that difficult, and didn’t require verbal diarrhoea.

    • Daniel, you raise an interesting point. I would come at it from a different angle. Since the Holocaust became known to the general public, the label ‘antisemite’ has been freighted with such odium that it is, as it were, a nuclear option in an argument. Thus you get a situation where a self-styled ‘critical friend of Israel’ can accuse the Israeli government of ‘genocide’ in Gaza, for example, but if you accuse this friend of such prejudice against the Jewish State that it is effectively antisemitism, he will exclaim: “How dare you call me antisemitic! I don’t want to exterminate all the Jews!” This then shuts down all debate.
      As things stand, to accuse someone of antisemitism is on a par with accusing them of paedophilia or cannibalsim.
      We must stop being afraid of calling people antisemites if their speech or activities are covered by the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism
      http://www.european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/working-definition-of-antisemitism/english/

      • Hi Ric,

        A very thoughtful comment, which I need time to chew over. Thanks.

      • “We must stop being afraid of calling people antisemites if their speech or activities are covered by the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism”

        Absolutely (although frankily, I don’t need the odious EU to tell me what’s antisemitic).

    • Daniel
      I get you and I like the way you go for it ;-)

      I think it was somebody by the name of Weizman who dared to say it some years ago a lot more directly about Jews living in Germany. As best I remember the German Jews booed him into silence

      But in another context your comment made me realize that I can’t think of a term that sums up dislike/hatred of blacks or for that matter Armenians or American Indians. If I am right why is that so?

      Why are there some hatreds/dislikes that are amenable to getting theorized and others are or were successful without such “academic” framework?

      • Hi Silke,

        I once came across a Japanese-English dictionary and noted that the Japanese have a word for “gentile” – ジェンティーレ. I doubt that there is a word in any language to describe someone who isn’t a Christian or Muslim, so why do the Japanese need this?

        There is a story an Englishman a Frenchman and a Jew who are all commissioned to write books about the elephant. The Englishman produces, “The Anatomy of the Elephant” the Frenchman writes, “The Sex Life of Elephants” while the Jew writes a learned treatise “The Elephant and the Jewish Question”. I’m not sure whether these answer your question, do they?

      • Daniel

        I’m not sure I get you this time. Are you suggesting that this we and the others thingy is typical for Jews?

        As it happens I just went back to the computer to remark that as best I know the term Anti-Semitism is a German invention and I’d be very much interested to find out whether the term Islamophobia is also.

        If yes it would be another item in my collection of what constitutes our German “identity” since most of what the media propose as typically German I’ve found just as much elsewhere.

        A more than common need to label things and living beings including humans to make them compatible to filing systems would have some credibility with me as “our” speciality if I could find enough facts to support it.

        As best I know Muslims have a word for all who aren’t Muslims – it is infidel. And in my youth the Christian word for non-Christians was still very popular. It was Heiden = pagans. I was too young and too uninterested or too much in love with Homer to remember who’d be all those subsumed under Heiden. I got baptised only at the age of 11 (1953) and was considered a Heidin by the nuns and the protestant pastor teaching at the school I attended then. They asked my parents to have me at least baptised a protestant since accepting somebody not cleansed from the Erbsünde=inherited sin (of Eve and Adam eating the apple if I remember correctly) was more than they could stomach. Normal public schools at the time had up to 50 pupils in one room and so my parents abandonned their plan to let me decide for myself after I would have come of age.

      • ooops first paragraph should have been Jews only or Jews exclusively

      • I know that getting into a debate on semantics is not advisable with you, however, I would respectfully suggest that neither heretic nor pagan are idiomatic equivalents of the term gentile.

        Without getting into their etymology, and if we just limit our discussion to their common usage, while both the former terms are fundamentally derogatory suggesting ignorance, lack of belief, possibly worthy of punishment – certainly condemnation, the latter gentile merely denotes he who is not a Jew, without passing any value judgment regarding that state.

        Furthermore, while any religion might have its heretics or pagans, from inside or outside the faith, gentile today is a wholly non-Jewish term applying only to those not belonging to the People of Israel.

        Though many think the Hebrew/Yiddish word goy to be disparaging, it is not,
        and may be the most correct translation of the word gentile. In Hebrew it means nation and whilst in Biblical Hebrew it was used to refer to all nations, Israel included, by Mishnaic and Talmudic times it was more often used to refer to non-Jews. The use of a feminine form of the word, goya, bears eloquent witness to the fact that it now refers to individuals rather than nations or people rather than peoples.

      • Daniel
        I’d never dare to go into semantics with you first of all because I am not even sure of what the word really means without looking it up.

        I was talking about my own memories and I am not so sure that the use of Heiden in my youth was so derogatory. I remember them talked about mostly as people that must be saved like the people that the IMF is called to save these days.

  21. And once again after reading the first paragraph, our foul-mouthed friend barges onto the blog like that bull in its proverbial china shop.

    For any new readers who suppose my words are being taken out of context or twisted intentionally, let me assure you that that nothing could be further from the truth. “Leayoni” really didn’t understand – or in other words, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

  22. Off subject, I’m sure all have heard that it appears a “deal” has been reached to free Gilad Shalit. A thousand terrorists must be released, hundreds of past murderers and judging by recent precedent dozens of future killers among them.

    When he returns home to his family, we will all celebrate – Left and Right, those who supported the deal, those who did not, and those like myself who would have had no idea how to vote.

    From today the walking dead will dwell amongst us, those who shall be killed by the freed terrorists and those they will inspire, also those murdered by others who now no longer fear incarceration in Israeli jails. Every Israeli who supports the deal, and polls will soon show them to be a huge majority, does so on the assumption that neither he nor his loved ones are among those walking dead. Sadly, history has shown that hundreds will be wrong.

    Finally, there is the soldier waiting somewhere at a bus stop or perhaps yet to be enlisted in the IDF. He is the next in line to be kidnapped and he will be payment for the release of those future murderers.

    Despite all that we will celebrate. There is a time to weep and a time to laugh. When a Jewish boy returns to his mother after so long and so much, it is always a time for joy. The time to cry awaits us.

    Chag sameach

  23. West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign

    START
    Statement Following Public Meeting In Hammersmith On 6 October 2011

    We unequivocally condemn the views recorded by Richard Millett of a person on the public pavement in Hammersmith on 6 October 2011. Even though the recording suggests that the person appeared to have been harangued by the interviewers, the sentiments expressed have no place in the campaign for Palestinian rights and justice. Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has a very clear policy opposing all forms of racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Jewish prejudice. Moreover, PSC has issued a further statement opposing attempts to deny or minimise the Holocaust.
    It is important to remember that the recorded remarks were made outside,and not inside, a meeting organised by West London PSC which was widely advertised and open to all members of the public. The meeting itself drew upon a panel of speakers of different faiths – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – who all focused on the necessity for Jerusalem to be a city for all its residents, irrespective of faith or ethnicity.

    West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign
    pscwestlondon@googlemail.com
    END

    West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign

    pscwestlondon@googlemail.com

    • “opposing all forms of racism, including Islamophobia”

      What ‘race’ is Islam, darling?

    • Dear WLPSC Spokesman,

      Your point about the ladies remarks being made “outside, and not inside” is indeed well taken, and I apologize for not having considered it, for as it is as you correctly say, “important to remember”.

      While antisemitism, racism or all other forms of needless hatred and bigotry are both wrong and worthy of censure “inside”, “outside” is quite a different matter. This “inside-outside defense” once accepted by the courts, is sure to prove highly useful to barristers representing football hooligans, muggers and street rapists, whose clients generally commit their crimes outside, not inside too.

      Your comment about the lady in question being “harangued” is equally reasonable. The lying facade of “I don’t hate Israel, I just don’t agree with the policies of the Israeli government” cannot be easy to maintain at the best of times, and how easy it must be for that mask to slip after being asked a few simple questions.

      We have an expression in Hebrew that when wine enters secrets leave. In other words, after a few drinks a man often says what he truly feels rather than what he wants others to think he is feeling. It appears that the lovely Jane Green required no alcohol to free her of inhibitions and with an honesty that might put many members of the WLPSC to shame, she gave us a glimpse of the monster hiding underneath that wafer-thin veneer of humanity and decency.

      For all this Jane has done us all an important service, is a credit to your campaign, inside or out, and is worthy of justification rather than condemnation.

    • While you’re here, just as a point of interest, which areas of the former British Mandate for Palestine (as mandated by the San Remo Resolution of 1920) would you be willing to see as a Jewish State with a majority Jewish national character? And if the answer is none, what future would you like to see for the 5,800,000 Jews living there?

  24. Jonathan Hoffman

    ” Even though the recording suggests that the person appeared to have been harangued by the interviewers”

    Utter rubbish. She spoke of her own volition.

    Only cowards “shoot the messenger”

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