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.
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.