Vicar ‘shared articles suggesting Israel was behind 9/11 attacks’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Vicar ‘shared articles suggesting Israel was behind 9/11 attacks’

Tearful Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl gives evidence at Church of England tribunal of Rev. Dr Stephen Sizer, who is also accused of “mixing” with Hezbollah.

A vicar allegedly shared “sickening” articles suggesting Israel was responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks, the tearful president of a group representing British Jews has told a tribunal.

The Rev. Dr Stephen Sizer is fighting 11 allegations from the Board of Deputies in a Church of England tribunal at St Andrew’s Court Room in Holborn, London.

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies, appeared emotional as she gave evidence at Dr Sizer’s tribunal, which started on Monday.

It is alleged Dr Sizer’s conduct between 2005 and 2018 was “unbecoming or inappropriate” in that he “provoked and/or engaged in antisemitic activity”, claims he denies.

He allegedly posted a link to an article entitled “The mother of all coincidences” in 2010 “promoting the idea” Israel was behind terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001, the tribunal heard.

Dr Sizer is also accused of posting a link to another article in January 2015, entitled “9/11/ Israel did it”, again allegedly suggesting Israel was to blame for the attacks.

Other allegations include that Dr Sizer, former vicar of the parish of Christ Church in Virginia Walter, Surrey, met Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, a “senior commander of Hezbollah forces”, in about 2006.

Hezbollah is a political entity in Lebanon which has won votes in legitimate elections and forms part of the Lebanese government, but the UK Government proscribed Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation in 2001 and added its military wing in 2008.

Dr Sizer is also accused of speaking at a conference in Indonesia in May 2006 alongside Fred Tobin, an alleged Holocaust-denier.

During cross-examination, Ms van der Zyl highlighted an alleged “pattern” of offensive behaviours, adding: “I think it would be hard to say there isn’t an antisemitic intent.

“Particularly harmful is the suggestion Israel is responsible for 9/11. It is really distressing. It is so shocking it comes from somebody in the Church of England.”

She said Dr Sizer’s alleged behaviour is “sickening” and a “disgrace” from “someone who is meant to represent the Church of England”.

She also said: “My grandfather was on the Kindertransport. It really hurts, you need to know that the pain of it, how it makes people feel, we are just Jews in the UK.”

She also questioned why he was allegedly “mixing” with people from Hezbollah.

Nicholas Leviseur, counsel for the designated officer, who was presenting the case, said: “Dr Sizer does not appear to deny that the 11 events that are set out occurred. He says in some cases what he said or did has been misunderstood or, indeed, misrepresented.

“He does not appear to deny the facts that are set out but he denies the inferences that could be drawn.”

Mr Leviseur also criticised Dr Sizer for giving the conspiracy theory that Israel is connected to 9/11, attacks carried out by the Al Qaeda terrorist group, “the oxygen of publicity”.

Steven Hofmeyr QC, for Sizer, said: “The impact of antisemitism on Jewish people is as profound as the impact of racism on black people, of this there is no doubt.

“His case is that he is not antisemitic and that his words and conduct have never been antisemitic. If, objectively, he is right, that would be an end to the matter.”

With regards to Dr Sizer’s meeting with Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, he added: “Did you know that Dr Sizer used the opportunity to intercede for the release of Israeli soldiers?”

He argued such “context” shows events in a different light but Ms van der Zyl said: “It doesn’t, that person is a militant commander of a terrorist organisation.”

With regards to Dr Sizer speaking at the same conference as Mr Tobin, Mr Hofmeyr said his client was asked to give a “Christian perspective” on how to solve conflict in the Middle East.

On hearing Mr Tobin was involved, Dr Sizer raised objections with organisers for the event, Mr Hofmeyr said.

Ms van der Zyl said: “There can be no excuse for sharing a platform or attending a conference with Holocaust-deniers.”

The tribunal continues on Tuesday.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: