Archbishop of York acts after Jewish News exposes reverend’s inflammatory ‘Zionists’ posts

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Archbishop of York acts after Jewish News exposes reverend’s inflammatory ‘Zionists’ posts

EXCLUSIVE The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell has withdrawn permission for Rev Stephen Griffith to officiate after we revealed his social media posts on "Zionists" and "Jews"

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell

The Archbishop of York has withdrawn permission to officiate from a Reverend exposed by Jewish News over his extreme social media posts about “Zionists”, “Jews” and Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

York Minster confirmed on Monday that it had been informed the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, had taken the decision in response to the conduct of Rev Stephen Griffith, who retired from paid duties in the Southwark diocese a few years ago, but after moving to York has continued to perform duties at the cathedral as a volunteer.

Rev Stephen Griffith (pic X/Twitter)

The Dean of York, the Very Revd Dominic Barrington said: “I want to acknowledge how distressing and profoundly harmful Mr Griffith’s comments were, particularly towards those in the Jewish community.

“Rev Stephen Griffith has ceased to be a volunteer chaplain at York Minister. York Minster enjoys good relationships with our Jewish brothers and sisters and remains committed to working for peace, reconciliation and understanding against the background of the continuing conflict in Israel and Gaza’.”

In a December 2023,  in posts on X/formerly known as Twitter, Griffith had responded to Labour MP Chris Bryant writing: “As Israeli-owned Labour MPs continue to take the shekel of genocide more and more people are abandoning Labour….. Zionist Labour is an abomination.”

Earlier posts see Griffith condemn both the existence of a “Jewish” state and make claims that “Israel murders children daily. Like a vampire needing the blood of the living.”

He also posted “that’s the problem when you have a Jewish state” and in October 2022 claimed of Israel: “Most Jews choose to live elsewhere: why would they want to live by stealing land, burning crops, shooting children when they could live decent lives making the world a better place?” In December 2022 he wrote: “The Zionists dance their war dance with evil intent.”

Returning to condemn Labour, he wrote last December: “Starmer takes Zionist money. He is on the side of Zionists…..This is Labour’s leader and he should be on trial for genocide.”

Post by Stephen Griffith

In January he shared claims on X that the Labour Friends of Israel group should “be proscribed as a genocide enabler.”

Asked to comment on his posts Griffth, told Jewish News last month: “The huge number of Jews who have spoken out bravely against this absolutely astonishing destruction of Gaza, who have demonstrated in their thousands in London, and in their tens of thousands in Israel and in the exact place as I am.“We want an Israel which flourishes with its neighbour.”

Posts by Stephen Griffith

A spokesperson for York Minister also told Jewish News last month: “The Rev Stephen Griffith is a volunteer at York Minster. He has no official spokesperson role and he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the cathedral.

“The views on his social media feed are his own and do not represent York Minster in any way whatsoever.”

Griffith has now been approached for comment on the decision taken by the Archbishop of York to withdraw permission for him to officiate.

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