Christ at the Checkpoint 2012, Dr Jim West & pro-Nazi theology

Meet Dr Jim West, Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at the Quartz Hill School of Theology and Pastor of Petros Baptist Church, Petros, Tennessee:

He is supportive of the Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 conference, which is likely to be full of antisemitism, racism and replacement theology. He is also a fan of Stephen Sizer.

Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 will be hosted by Bethlehem Bible College. Raed Salah supporters Stephen Sizer and Ben White are due to speak there. Sizer is listed as an organiser.

Bethlehem Bible College has a worrying track record on antisemitism. They sent lecturer Alex Awad to represent the college, and share a platform with Hitler-admirer and Holocaust denier Frederick Tobin in Indonesia. Stephen Sizer also attended this conference in Indonesia, as did Iranian Holocaust denier and Faurisson admirer Jawad Shabarf.

Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 has a Facebook page and a Twitter page.

Here is what CATC tweeted recently:

A blog post from @drjewest on why he’s supporting the Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 conference http://wp.me/pLvic-a6q

Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 also issues a request for its supporters to follow Dr West on Twitter.

Dr West’s blog post accuses Christian Zionists of being heretics. Dr West has previously written that Jews and Christian Zionists are co-conspiring to produce “the sickest sorts of behaviors” in Israel.On Israel selling arms to Argentina during the Falklands, he wrote:

If hatred of Jews is antisemitism, Jewish hatred of Brits must be antibriticism. I wonder how many antibritites there are in Israel. […] It’s high time for Jews the world over to denounce antibriticism. That sort of ethnic hatred is intolerable in today’s world. It has no place here among the decent.

You can see already, why Christ at the Checkpoint organisers are interested in his writings. But there’s more. Here is Dr West on Martin Luther. Whilst he appears to denounce the work in his first paragraph, West then reveals his hand:

Luther didn’t hate the Jews- even when he wrote his tirade.  He hated falsehood. And he hated falsehood whether it was found in Rome or Wittenberg. Those poorly informed historical ignoramuses who repeatedly denounce Luther as an anti-semite are simply wrong.  They know nothing of Luther nor anything of the history of the Church.  All they know is their own biases and prejudices.

Here are some excerpts from Luther’s tirade against the Jews, On the Jews and their Lies:

 

Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts?

I shall give you my sincere advice:

First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. […] Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God. […] I advise that safe­conduct on the highways be abolished completely for them. […]

I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3[:19]}. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.

My essay, I hope, will furnish a Christian (who in any case has no desire to become a Jew) with enough material not only to defend himself against the blind, venomous Jews, but also to become the foe of the Jews’ malice, lying, and cursing, and to understand not only that their belief is false but that they are surely possessed by all devils.

Here is Jim West on the theologian Kittel: Gerhard Kittel: Was He The Nazi Devil So Many Presume?

He writes:

Let’s be fair for a moment. Kittel was a jerk. A completely disgusting human being. Wagner was a jerk too who ran out on his creditors and lived like a vagabond beggar. Does that mean his music has no value? Are people’s works so intricately connected with their personalities that we can’t value their good contributions while damning their bad? Are we really willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater?

This strikes me as odd – Kittel is politically well-known for joining the Nazis, and well-known theologically for his racialist antisemitism. Outside the Nazi party, Kittel’s theological writings mostly focused on the evil of the Jews. Alan Steinweiss observes in Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany [pp.69-70]:

Kittel was innovative in anchoring theological and religious differences in the divergent racial developments of Jewish non-Germans. […] As a rhetorical device, Kittel suggested four possible approaches for dealing with the Jews: extermination, Zionism, assimilation, and guest status. Kittel dismissed the option of extermination on practical rather than moral grounds. […] Kittel contributed his lecture and booklet on “The Jewish Question” at a time when the exclusion of Jews from German professions was not merely the subject of theological discussion, but a work in progress. In later years, the Nazi regime implemented similar purges in the fields of medicine and law, both of which, in Kittel’s characterisation, had been “over-flooded” with greedy, unscrupulous Jewish practicioners.”

James Lehman, providing an overview of Theologians Under Hitler for theNorthwest Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Ethnocide Education writes:

Gerhard Kittel came from a very prestigious and scholarly family.  Prior to the war, Kittel was a professor of New Testament theology and a leading scholar in the field of Judaism and its relation to early Christianity.  It was this relationship with Judaism that led Kittel to become the theological expert on the “Jewish Question.”  Kittel joined the Nazi party in 1933 with the hopes that a religiously based anti-Jewish policy would prevail over radical and vulgar racism.After the end of the war, Kittel claimed that he was innocent, that he began disagreeing with and denouncing the Nazi party and Hitler at the onset of the war.  However, there is no evidence of any criticism from Kittel.  He did not even stand up for the Church when the Nazi party condemned the churches; rather, he demanded that the church must respond to the historical hour of the German people.  In fact, Kittel’s scholarship made the extermination of the Jews theologically respectable.

How then, is there anything we can gain from Kittel’s theological scholarship – outside of his membership of the Nazi party – given that Kittel’s theology was largely driven by his antisemitism?

More pertinently, why is Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 delving into the sewers of Jim West’s blog – just to find some affirmation for their anti-Israel theology conference?

At the previous Checkpoint conference in 2010, speakers suggested that Jews had no Jewish blood, that jihadists have “every right” to attack people in other countries, and that it must look to Muslims, as if Jews were behaving like they did in Mohammed’s day, “repeating the hostile behaviour of Jews many centuries earlier towards the Prophet.”

However, the Checkpoint 2012 organisers appear to feel that, if they invite speakers like Richard Harvey to the conference, then they don’t have to deal with questions over antisemitism:

Unconvincing.

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Brother Andrew and Stephen Sizer at Christ at the Checkpoint 2010: Violent jihad has “every right” to attack the West

Rev. Stephen Sizer, and Dutch missionary Brother Andrew, in conversation at the last Christ at the Checkpoint conference.

Stephen Sizer: We need a Christian jihad.

Brother Andrew: That’s what Paul says, I’ve fought a good jihad. 2nd Timothy. I was speaking at Hamas university, and all the Hamas leaders were there. It was a very, very great occasion, for me and for them! At the end of it I said, I am not demanding for a dialogue with you Muslims, but at any time, anywhere, I want a dialogue with Muslims, what kind of person does the book produce? Your book, my book. That’s what I want to talk about.

[…]

Stephen Sizer: “[…] Paul says, I have fought the good jihad.

[…]

When we talk about Christian jihad, we’re not talking about violence or changing a political system. We’re talking about the way of Christ, the way of the cross.

Brother Andrew: Even in Islam they have two types of jihad. One jihad you fight against your own evil desires in your own heart. Especially the Sufis are doing that. But then there’s the other jihad. That’s a relatively new thing. Because of the increasing antagonism that it gets from the West. So now they’re more and more to determined to hit us back. And they have every right to do so.”

Sizer: Yeah. So we have much in common with fundamentalist Islam! You’ve been called a fundamentalist, I know, by Muslims, because you believe in the Bible.

Brother Andrew: “Yeah I still see the man at the university. I said, you’re the fundamentalist, I said to the Hamas leader, he said, no, either you follow Christ you go all the way, [but] most people stop half-way, and that he said makes you a fundamentalist.”

Bear in mind: this is a conference claiming to oppose violent fundamentalist and apocalyptic theology within Christianity.

Bang goes that argument.

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Antisemitism and Christ at the Checkpoint 2012

I have compiled a report, on antisemitism and the Christ at the Checkpoint conference.

You may download this document  here:

Antisemitism and Christ At The Checkpoint 2012.

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Friends of Raed Salah: The C of E-backed “Amos Trust” and the blood libel

How will Archbishop Rowan Williams react, to the growing support for a racist antisemite who believes in the blood libel, in the Church of England?

In late June, the houses of Parliament hosted a “Save Jerusalem Campaign“, with Raed Salah scheduled as the guest speaker. The event was afforded much credibility, due to its venue, and also due to the fact that several Labour MPs were in support.

Reverend Dr Stephen Sizer, a director of the Amos Trust, was Raed Salah’s official photographer in London.

Amos Trust director and founder, Garth Hewitt was in attendance. Garth Hewitt is the canon of St. George’s Church in Jerusalem, and he thinks anti-Zionist Jews are like Biblical prophets.

Here is Amos Trust’s Ben White, who manages their Just Peace for Palestinecampaign:

The “Save Jerusalem” event was supposed to host Sheikh Raed Salah, theracist, extremist hate preacher who funds Hamas.

Raed Salah has claimed that Jews baked “the blood of children” into their “holy bread”, which is the ancient and vicious blood libel. As Haaretzreported,

During the speech at the February 16, 2007 protest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, Salah accused Jews of using children’s blood to bake bread.

We have never allowed ourselves to knead [the dough for] the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children’s blood,” he said. “Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the [Jewish] holy bread.”

When Salah was detained by British authorities, following the Home Secretary’s decision to ban him, the Amos Trust – as well as Ben White and Stephen Sizer in personal capacities, signed a declaration which said of Salah:

The arrest appears to be the result of an orchestrated libellous campaign in the right-wing, pro-Israel media and bears all the marks of a political rather than a legal measure to curb freedom of speech. The arrest of such a high-profile and well-respected Palestinian leader will, inevitably, damage relations between the Muslim community and other sections of British society.

Sheikh Salah is renowned for his non-violent approach to the protection of Palestinian rights in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Home Secretary Theresa May has clearly succumbed to pressure from the pro-Israel Lobby in Britain to prevent Sh. Salah from being able to give a first-hand account of the discrimination faced by the so-called “Israeli-Arab” community; Israel’s Palestinian citizens who constitute 20% of the total population in the state.

Rather than condemning Salah’s blood libel, the Amos Trust teamed up with Raed Salah, portraying him as a man who will help to save Jerusalem. By signing this letter, the Amos Trust framed the arrest of Raed Salah, essentially as a Jewish conspiracy against a peace-loving man.

Stephen Sizer of the Amos Trust then paid Salah a visit, along with his congregant Tony Gratrex – who oversees Reading PSC and thinks the Jewscontrol the media.

Yet the Amos Trust’s campaigning on Palestine has widespread backing in the church.

The Amos Trust counts, among the organisations pledging support, theMethodist Church, the World Council of Churches, and two Anglican missions: The Church Mission Society (CMS), and USPG: Anglicans in World Mission.

Anglican churches across England raise money for CMS and USPG. Furthermore, Archbishop Rowan Williams is the Patron of CMS and thePresident of USPG.

Thankfully, the Archbishop clearly condemns the blood libel.

On Holocaust Memorial Day earlier this year, the Christian Post reported Archbishop Rowan Williams’ words. Then, he drew a clear link between the blood libel, the mass murder of Jews, and the religious-flavoured antisemitism that led to the Holocaust:

Williams noted that events in medieval Britain, such as the blood libel case against Jews following the mysterious death of William of Norwich in the 12th century or King Edward’s expulsion of all Jews from England were “almost completely lost to public awareness.”

“If the stories are not told over and again, we lose the memory of those who suffered and we risk losing something that protects our humanity,” he said.

Having recognised the terrible evil of the blood libel, Rowan Williams must persuade his mission charities to rescind their endorsement of the Amos Trust.

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Friends of Sabeel UK has an office in the Church Mission Society building

Friends of Sabeel UK (FOSUK) is the network of Sabeel supporters in the UK.

Sabeel is a Christian theology outfit based in Jerusalem, and its founder Naim Ateek says things like this at Easter:

In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.”

And this at Christmas:

“At this Christmas time, when we remember the message of peace and love that came down from God to earth in the birth of Jesus Christ, our celebrations are marred by the destructive powers of the modern day “Herods” who are represented in the Israeli government.”

Delightful.

One of Friends of Sabeel UK’s patrons is Ibrahim Hewitt, who FOSUKdescribe as:

coordinator of the Palestine relief organisation Interpal

Hewitt is an extremist and a promoter of antisemitism, and his charitysupports Hamas. In his role with Interpal, he has met with Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza.

Another patron listed is Manuel Hassassian. Hassassian has also defended the firing of rockets into Israeli civilian areas, supported Taleban rule in Afghanistan, and has praised Hezbollah as saviours of Arabs – this in spite of Sabeel’s repeated commitment to non-violence.

Another FOSUK patron is Jenny Tonge, who pushed the lie about Israelis harvesting organs in Haiti.

On the contact page for Friends of Sabeel UK, we now read:

Coordinator: Anne Clayton
Office: CMS
Watlington Road
Oxford
OX4 6BZ

Phone:(+44)1865 787419

(+44)1865 787420

Email:info@friendsofsabeel.org.uk

FOSUK have previously invited Hamas supporter David Halpin to address their meeting. Halpin has claimed that Hamas is being literally crucified by Israel.

Anne Clayton is the coordinator of Friends of Sabeel UK.

This is what she says about Naim Ateek, and her time living in Jerusalem:

“We were fortunate to work with and to know Naim Ateek and his wife Maha, among other great people there. Their example of Godly leadership and commitment to justice with peace was a challenge that inspired us and helped us to keep our focus”

She is speaking alongside Stephen Sizer at the Quaker House, in Plymouth, next month. Sizer is the former Vice Chair of Friends of Sabeel UK.

Anne Clayton’s office is at the Church Mission Society (CMS), which is the mission wing of the Church of England. Archbishop Rowan Williams is a patron of CMS.

As CMS has now provided FOSUK with an office, it looks like antisemitism has made its nest in the Church of England.

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Christ at the Checkpoint speakers claim to oppose violence and racism

The Christ at the Checkpoint conference scheduled for 2012, aims to:

“provide an opportunity for evangelical Christians who take the Bible seriously to prayerfully seek a proper awareness of issues of peace, justice, and reconciliation.”

To do so in a Christian way, you would need a commitment to truth.

Here is the 3rd affirmation of the Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 conference:

As followers of Jesus Christ we regret more than 60 years of conflict. We look forward to the time when the conflict will end and both peoples will enjoy genuine reconciliation. We commit ourselves to be peacemakers and to this ministry of reconciliation. As such we stand resolutely against all forms of violence and racism, regardless of the perpetrators.

Is Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 against all forms of violence?

They claim to be.

More importantly – do Christ at the Checkpoint organisers and speakers, tell the truth about political violence?

Here is Christ at the Checkpoint organiser Stephen Sizer, speaking about the 2010 flotilla to Gaza, that was intercepted by Israeli forces:

Getting behind the flotilla is a fantastic way [that] people here in Malaysia can help. Getting relief supplies into Gaza, breaking the siege. It embarrasses America and it embarrasses Israel. The ordinary human beings are willing to risk their lives to sail supplies into Gaza. We saw what happened to the Turkish flotilla. Coming up very soon there’ll be a larger flotilla […] so we’re really excited about what we can do together.

Remember – Christ at the Checkpoint organisers and participants claim to be against violence.

Let’s just remind ourselves of the Turkish flotilla’s cargo.

Adam Deifallah writes:

There are five easy, safe and legal crossing-points in Israel through which to reach Gaza: the northern Erez crossing, the eastern Karni crossing (specifically designed for cargo), the southern Sufa crossing, the Kerem Shalom crossing and Rafah. If the flotilla’s real intention were to deliver aid to Palestinians, it could be done wth no problem by passing through any of these points.

Items truly for humanitarian aid get through to citizens already. It is only those deemed as “dual-use” — things like steel pipes, fertilizer and cement — that are blocked. Some of the items on last year’s flotilla included ballistic vests, gas masks, night-vision goggles and clubs. You can expect more of the same this time.

Strange cargo to call “relief supplies”, surely.

Moreover, the Turkish flotilla was all about raising funds for Hamas, and open antisemitism, Jew-baiting, and martyrdom. Yet Sizer supports this outfit without hesitation.

Earlier this year, Christ at the Checkpoint speaker Ben White addressed a PSC meeting, commemorating one year on from the flotilla.

Here is what Sami Awad – another Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 speaker – had to say about the flotilla, in the week after the event:

The world woke up Monday morning to a shocking and tragic scene, as Israeli commandos launched an unprovoked raid on a flotilla carrying nonviolent activists attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

According to Sami Awad, the flotilla activists were “nonviolent”.

Yet this was found on-board their cargo:

As were these:

Here are the “nonviolent activists” of the Gaza flotilla, loading weapons on-board:

Here they are calling for the murder of Jews:

Here is one of the flotilla leaders, calling for participants to throw Israeli commandos overboard:

You can see antisemitic hate preacher Raed Salah in the front row, on the flotilla.

Salah thinks Jews did not turn up for work on 9/11, and Jews baked matzah bread with the blood of Christian children, during the Middle Ages:

Sizer, White and Awad all support Raed Salah as a political voice.

So CATC 2012 speakers like Ben White, Stephen Sizer and Sami Awad, claim to oppose violence and racism, but are happy to pretend the Gaza flotilla 2010 was non-violent and non-racist.

This is dangerous theological and moral ground.

Here is a full list of speakers, at Christ at the Checkpoint.

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A Review of Sizer Reading’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign


This is a guest post by Levitt on a Palestinian Solidarity Campaign meeting that Stephen Sizer addressed.  – Part 1.

When you first meet Stephen Sizer it’s hard to see what the fuss is about. I heard him at a recent “The Middle East Conflict, a Christian Perspective” meeting.  He is a small framed, grey haired individual, with glasses.  He dresses smart casual in beige jacket, with Oxford blue cotton shirt. He looks as gentle as a sheep. His speech is temperate, soft, and sounds kind, compassionate and concerned. He carefully chooses his words, frequently pausing to craft his sentence prudently. His presentation is persuasive, with colourful well-organised slides. He speaks with an air of authority on many subjects regarding Israel such as its geography, history, religion and politics. But don’t be deceived by the sheep’s clothing, when you study his words closely you’ll see his wolf’s teeth.

Speaking to a modest group of about two dozen, Sizer says of the church, there is, “a reluctance to speak out on Palestine, because of our guilt, for the Holocaust and the suffering of the Jewish people at the hands of Christians in Europe over 100’s of years, and we should repent of that, and get over it, and make sure we treat Jews and Arabs the same.”

Firstly I agree that Jews and Arabs should be treated righteously and fairly. The conflict is complicated, and every follower of Yeshua, Jew or Gentile should pray and hope for the peace of that land and for justice to be done. I would hope that whatever our religious viewpoint no one wants to see a fellow human suffer whatever their race or religious viewpoint. The church should do more to speak up against oppression all over the world.

But lets get back to Sizer, who treads on dangerous ground. He states that the church should repent of its guilt in European history. The shocking truth is that the Church has some responsibility for centuries of hatred and violent persecution, which was often been inspired by erroneous Christian theology. Christians should feel deep sorrow for the atrocities, which have been committed in “Christ’s” name.  Although there were brave people, the church in general in the Holocaust didn’t do enough to defend or help the Jewish people. For this we must be deeply sorry, and never deny the church’s responsibility. But according to Sizer, we should just get over it. Worse still he says the church’s sin is not so much it’s behaviour toward the Jewish people, but the sin is the guilt that some Christians still feel about that history of Church anti-Semitic violence and murder.

I am not against speaking out. We should help the oppressed and marginalised. However Sizer has a disproportionate interest in the minor injustices of Israel as a Nation. Why does he never mention the major injustices throughout the world? When does he speak of North Korea, China, Iran, the Arab world, I could go on?  Speak up if you want, Sizer, about the injustices the nation of Israel has committed. No nation is perfect. But why do you focus just on Israel and no other nation? There are two sides to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But why do you unexplainably present only the Palestinian side. I fear you discriminate and have a prejudice against the Jewish people and the Nation of Israel. You may speak softly and not say directly, but your words don’t deceive me.

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