Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Not So Fast, Anne & Co – Here's Where Stephen Sizer's Wrong

Remember my post here?

Well (groan) Stephen Sizer is recommending his interview with ex-Press TV hack Hassan Alkatib (to which I alluded in that post) to his Facebook faithful. (What took him so long?)
"Very interesting. I listened to it all with fascination. You were so fluent and articulate. Well done."
That's the adulatory comment by a follower whom we'll identify here only as Anne, and no doubt many more of Sizer's disciples (a number of whom have predictably pressed the "Like" button) will be equally mesmerised by the Anglican crusader against Christian Zionism's apparent expertise.

Indeed, just like Anne I listened to the video with "fascination".  Just like Anne, I found Sizer to be "fluent and articulate".  But, unlike Anne, what I found "interesting" was not his apparent expertise but the fact that he got so much wrong.

For many of the vicar's assertions, stated so confidently to his receptive Muslim interviewer, are erroneous, constituting a farrago of bias and nonsense.

Let's summarise:

1. Contrary to Sizer's claim, Israel is not the sole country in the world with unresolved borders; the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan is the most notable of many border disputes around the globe.  Indeed, the list is rather staggering. Moreover, veteran Arab affairs specialist Pinhas Inbari, in a masterly must-read article last month for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, shows that 'border conflicts are endemic in the Arab world'.  Writes Inbari, inter alia:
'[S]urprising though it may be, Israel already has clear, agreed borders to a much greater extent than most Arab countries. Thanks to the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, Israel has well-delineated borders with two of its neighbors. Almost all the Arab countries, however, are plagued with ongoing border conflicts that erupt violently when there is an interest in inflaming them, and lie dormant when there is no interest in doing so.
Syria, for example, does not recognize either its border with Lebanon or Turkey’s annexation of the province of Iskenderun (Alexandretta). Syria also claims Arab-populated territories along Turkey’s southern border, and has a water conflict with Turkey. Iraq does not recognize Kuwait, and has dormant claims to its border with Iran. The borders between the various United Arab Emirates have not been finally determined; nor has the one between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Egypt has longstanding border conflicts with Sudan, Libya with Chad, and the various border conflicts between Morocco, Algeria, and Mauritania have already sparked several rounds of war. Iran has territorial claims in the Persian Gulf, including a claim to all of Bahrain; Jordan has claims regarding Syria, and so on.
Border conflicts are, then, the rule in the Middle East, and there is almost no case of an agreed border between two countries. Israel is in fact an exception, and the Palestinians seek to impose the 1967 lines as their border with Israel. What appears to be a negotiation over borders is actually an attempt at compelling a settlement under the rubric of international legitimacy....'
2. Sizer states that the Israeli kibbutzim were modelled on the collective farms under Communism. This claim is downright nonsense.  The first kibbutz (Degania Alef), pictured in 1910, was established in 1909, nearly a decade before the Russian Revolution of 1917, and nearly two decades before the collective farm system was instituted.   The vicar's comparison of the Israeli voluntary, truly socialist humanitarian kibbutzim, which thousands of non-Jews temporarily join, with Stalin's totalitarian collective farms, which were entirely involuntary and in which millions were murdered, is ridiculous (and may well be seen by many to have unfortunate parallels with the Nazi spectre of "Judeo-Bolshevism",  the affinity of Jews and Communists.)

3. Regarding Sizer's snide reference to the supposed hidden meaning of the design of the Israeli flag to suggest that Israel is some sort of expansionist monster state: the notion that Israel wants to conquer Jordan and Iraq up to the Euphrates is too preposterous for serious analysis.  As I pointed out in the above-mentioned post, the two blue horizontal lines on the Israeli flag represent the sea and the sky, not the Nile and the Euphrates.  Indeed, during the Six Day War of 1967 the Israelis captured the Sinai, which abuts on the Suez Canal –  yet Begin, right-wing nationalist leader though he was, returned it to Egypt in 1977 since Israel has no historical claims to it.

4. Neither the Allies nor Germany "relied on the Rothschilds and other Jewish bankers"; this claim might be seen as having a whiff of antisemitism about it. Germany could not realistically consider making a similar offer to the Balfour Declaration. Palestine was part of Turkey's Ottoman Empire. Turkey was a wartime ally of Germany, having declared war on the side of the Central Powers early in 1915. Germany could therefore not have contemplated dividing up and weakening its ally, let alone giving Palestine to the Jews. Britain, by contrast, could do so because it was at war with Turkey.

5. Britain did not seek a "compliant Jewish presence" in Palestine in the nineteenth century. This is sheer fantasy. The main foreign policy objective of Britain in the Middle East until the outbreak of the First World War  was to keep the Ottoman Empire intact, in order to prevent Russia, Germany, and France obtaining influence in the region. Britain did not facilitate Zionist settlement there, and had no means to do do, although of course in the opening decade of the twentieth century Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain did offer Uganda to the Jews.

6. The Balfour Declaration was not a part of "European colonial expansion," but was a component of the exact opposite: the growth of Woodrow Wilson's doctrine of self-determination for small nations, a doctrine that grew out of the USA's involvement in the First World War.

7. British Cabinet members such as David Lloyd George, Arthur Balfour, and Alfred Milner were pro-Zionist by conviction, chiefly because they wished to help persecuted Jewry.  As I wrote some time ago:
'David Lloyd George, that famous Manchester-born Welshman who presided over the Cabinet that promulgated the Balfour Declaration in 1917, once noted that
 "I was brought up in a school where I was taught far more about the history of the Jews than about the history of my own land. I could tell you all about the kings of Israel. But I doubt whether I could have named half a dozen of the kings of England and not more of the kings of Wales .... On five days a week in the day school, and ... in our Sunday schools, we were thoroughly versed in the history of the Hebrews."
Like other members of his Cabinet, Lloyd George was a philosemite. Although he joked that "Acetone converted me to Zionism" (a reference to Chaim Weizmann’s discovery of that substance [correction,  hat tip commenter cba below: "his discovery of a process for manufacturing acetone"]), which so crucially aided the British war effort), Lloyd George’s receptivity to the idea of a restored Jewish Homeland in Eretz Israel was embedded in his religious upbringing. Of the Jews, he said:
 "You belong to a very great race which has made the deepest impression on the destinies of humanity .... Your poets, kings and warriors are better known to the children and adults of Wales than are the names of our own heroes!... You may say you have been oppressed and persecuted – that has been your power! You have been hammered into very fine steel, and that is why you can never be broken."
To Lloyd George, the Balfour Declaration was
 "a charter of of equality for the Jews.... They belong to a ... race that has endured persecution which for the variety of torture – physical, material, and mental, inflicted on its victims, for the virulence and malignity with which it has been sustained, for the length of time it has lasted, and, more than all, for the fortitude and patience with which it has been suffered, is without parallel in the history of any other people. Is it too much to ask that amongst them whose sufferings are the worst shall be able to find refuge in the land of their fathers made holy by the splendour of their genius, the loftiness of their thoughts, by the consecration of their loves, and by the inspirations of their messages to mankind?"'
8. It should go without saying that Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin-Laden, of whom along with Ahmadinejad the vicar of Virginia Water is so airily dismissive, were not fantasy demon figures or bogey men, but mass murdering barbarians.  The United States responded to Bin-Laden because he murdered 3000 Americans, not owing to the concerns of the Zionist lobby, Christian or otherwise.

9.  It is breathtakingly noteworthy that the vicar's entire spiel ignores the central fact that it is fundamentalist Islamic militancy which is threatening the Christian presence in the Middle East. Apart from blaming Israel for persecuting Christians (which, of course, is unconscionable nonsense) he constantly whitewashes and ignores the Muslim nations and extremist groups which are actually persecuting and killing Christians, in Darfur, Nigeria, Pakistan, and many other places.


  1. Excellent post, as always.

    Just a small correction: Weizmann invented a process for MANUFACTURING acetone, he didn't discover the substance itself.

  2. Many thanks. I will try to correct it - or mention your comment.

  3. Thanks. What a sad individual Stephen is! His facebook caption and comment about Scarlett Johansson was utterly lacking in Christian grace and love. I can understand that many of us sometimes make comments on the net we later regret, I myself certainly have, yet I also then immediately publicly apologized for them. I only hope Stephen does the same.

    1. Sizer really needs to rein in some of his Facebook friends, who have made antisemitic comments. He cannot be expected to know what those friends write on their own walls and on other people's, but when they write on his wall (I mean, in response to something he has posted) that is antisemitic, he should chastise, correct, or de-friend them.