Pastor Mike Fryer is no stranger to students of Christian Zionism, and I've mentioned him on this blog more than once for his sterling efforts on behalf of Israel.
In 2010, here, I drew attention to an impressive essay on Christian antisemitism that Mike Fryer wrote the previous year, which contains the following observations:
‘Many in Christendom today are using charity and good works to re-enforce in the minds of many Muslim fundamentalists that Islam has the right and even a duty to take land from the Jewish people and establish a homeland for themselves. They are referring to land, which the Jewish people by right, by international law and by religion are entitled to possess.
“Christian” organizations such as Sabeel and Christian Aid speak openly in favor of a Palestinian homeland and use terms such as an “oppressive Israel regime” and “Israeli Occupation”; Church denominations such as the Church in Wales, the Anglican Communion, Methodists and Presbyterians have all spoken of divestment of Israel and support the Palestinian cause to create another state within the confines of the land of Israel. These and many other church organizations, such as the Vineyard, are encouraging governments to negotiate with terrorists ... [and] have eagerly moved away from the term antisemitism and now use the term anti-Zionism. What is the difference? By using the former you can be called a racist and prosecuted but the term anti-Zionism is not perceived in the same way and although it means the same it is, in this current political climate, “acceptable”....
In the [Welsh] town in which I live an anti-Israel play was performed at our local theatre. I led some other Christians for Zion supporters as we stood at the door to the theater and gave out leaflets, not criticizing anyone but stating facts. Many local church leaders and Christian groups attended the play and were obviously opposed to our stance. We found it difficult that many who teach from their pulpits that we are always to seek truth actually ignored the truths in our message….
Three years ago I attended a meeting at which a Church in Wales canon was speaking about the situation in Israel. There were a number of clergy present, none of whom knew me. I listened to lie after lie encouraging the audience to sympathize with Islam and the Palestinian people, and to see Israel as an aggressive regime, hell bent on persecuting the Palestinian people. At the end of the presentation there was a time for questions. At the conclusion of a stream of pro-Palestinian questions, I asked some pertinent questions which showed that the speaker was aware that he was not telling the truth about the actual matters he was referring to. The meeting was immediately stopped and worried clergy, thinking I was a journalist surrounded me in an effort to find out what the purpose of my attendance was.’Last year, Mike Fryer condemned the anti-Israel Greenbelt festival (at which, be it noted, one of the speakers was the Reverend Lucy Winkett of St James's Church, Piccadilly, the woman behind the recent replica Wall stunt) in the following terms (read more of his remarks and about his efforts then here):
'During the years which preceded the Second World War Political and Religious meetings were being held throughout Europe during which Jews were condemned as a danger to society. Little was done by Christians to stop this teaching which incited the hatred which enabled the mass murder of men women and children to take place. Ordinary men who before the war were upright members of the community joined such units as Battalion 101 who were reservist Police officers and who became the most violent killers in history. Within five short years those men in that battalion, who numbered less than 500, originally defenders of communities, became the murderers of 83,000 Jews. They, who had families of their own, stripped and shot women and children at point blank range and the local Clergy watched. This happened for many reasons but one reason was that people were afraid to do anything to oppose such violence. If you were caught helping Jews you would be arrested and taken to the murder camps or executed on the spot, as were your family.
On Sunday the 25th of August the Greenbelt Christian Youth Summer Camp being held at Cheltenham Racecourse will host Reverend Lucy Winkett the Chair of the Amos Trust who will launch, on behalf of the trust, the Kairos Britain network of Churches. This network, which is also being launched in other countries around the world is targeting Israel as an oppressive unjust and racist nation who give no rights to the Palestinians. They condemn Israel and call out for Justice for Palestinians but they ignore the rights of Israel to defend herself and to live on land rightfully her own. They call for what they describe as an end to oppression and injustice by Israel but refuse to address the oppression of Christians in Gaza or the removal of Human rights of women and young men or the summary executions in HAMAS governed areas. They don’t condemn the firing of 29,000 rockets which have been fired at Israeli communities since 2000 or the suicide bombings which are now being prevented by the security fence. They don’t address the increasing teaching of hatred in Palestinian Arab schools. I could go on but I think I have made my point.
The difference between now and then is that we are not going to be rounded up and shot for standing with Israel and speaking out when the rest of the Church is condemning her. So why aren’t we? In every genocide there are victims, perpetrators, bystanders and rescuers. Many Christians in Holocaust were classified as bystanders because of the real threat of being murdered alongside Jews. So today why are many in the Christian community bystanders when there is no threat except that of words from those fuelled by antisemtism?
We are conditioned to believe that by attending a conference or a meeting held by a pro-Israel speaker and giving our money to support such ministries that we are doing all we can to help Israel. We are conditioned because this is how it has always been done and we go home satisfied that we have done the work that God has called us to do. We have actually become by-standers even by-sitters unless we put the knowledge we gain from such meetings into real action. Why aren’t we rallying at Greenbelt or New Wine or any anti-Israel meetings? Why aren’t we gathering together to pray at such events and show these groups that their teaching is heretical and inciting hatred.
The first part of the definition of Hate Speech is “Speech which generates fear on the part of an individual or group” I believe the Jewish community here in the UK are not as much fearful of the anti-Israel meetings as they are of the apathy within Christendom which allows these meetings to take place without a challenge.
I have written to the BBC who will hold their Radio 2 good morning Sunday programme at Greenbelt when this network is launched to point out that we will be attending because there is another side to the story, but they have not replied. I know the Jewish community have asked Greenbelt to allow them a speaker but that has been denied....'Regarding the despicable Wall stunt at Lucy Winkett's church Mike Fryer wrote on Christmas Eve:
Rev Lucy Winkett of St. James and Chair of “The Amos Trust” another organisation which spends its time lying about, and vilifying Israel was the person who launched the Kairos Network at the Greenbelt festival this summer and is backing this horrible construction .
The wall has been erected to try and tell a tale that it is a wall of occupation and apartheid and it is being connected to the Christmas story in Bethlehem which adds to the heretical message. The wall will remain in position for twelve days.The wall is another attempt to sow the seeds of hatred into to congregation members and those who pass by this central London Anglican congregation and is nothing less than despicable.
There is not one acknowledgement of the real security barrier in Israel being a construction for the protection of Israeli citizens from suicide bombings and terror attacks.
It is very sad to this happen in our time in our Capital city but it also sad that the Church leaders has not ordered that it be removed from Church premises.'I don't know how Mike Fryer persuaded Lucy Winkett to afford him the small concession of holding yesterday's event at St James's Church, and I don't know how successful, or otherwise, the event was, given that there appears to have been little publicity about it. (Update: report by Nick Gray here)
"Racists for Israel"
He really should take more care regarding the company he keeps on social media.
A few, at least, of his Facebook Friends have an unfortunate history of what by any fair assessment can be regarded as antisemitic track records. They have been identified as such not by me (though I have indeed pointed out a few particularly egregious comments by his Facebook Friends) but by other bloggers. They themselves know who they are. But does he?
Sizer cannot be expected to know what his Facebook Friends write away from his Facebook page, but it is surely unconscionable that a man of the cloth such as he allows messages that disparage Jews as Jews, including the racist canard that Ashkenazi Jews are not semites but rather of Khazar stock, to go unchallenged and unchastised.
If that somebody was the vicar, then, praise where it's due.
But in any case more dissociation from Friends who leave antisemitic comments on his Facebook page needs to be done.
"Racists against Israel"?
Update: see what the survivor of a ghastly attack by Palestinian Arab terrorists says here about Stephen Sizer (hat tip: reader Herb).