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British Jews complain to church about ‘anti-Semitic’ vicar

(JTA) — The Jewish umbrella body in Britain lodged a complaint with church officials about an Anglican vicar whom they accuse of anti-Semitic speech.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews filed the complaint against the Rev. Stephen Sizer in connection with content that appeared on his website, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported.

Sizer, a senior pastor of the Anglican Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey, has twice altered his website after linking to sites that promote Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about Zionists, the Chronicle reported.  

Sizer denied allegations that he was anti-Semitic, the paper wrote. 

This is the first time the Board of Deputies has lodged a formal complaint with the Church of England against a clergymen, according to the paper.

The complaint, the paper said, will likely trigger action under a disciplinary process set out by Parliament.

The claims are being investigated by the Bishop of Guildford, the Right Rev. Christopher Hill. 

A dossier of evidence charts what the Board of Deputies says is antisemitic material that Sizer has posted online or passed to contacts in the last two-and-a-half years.

The Community Security Trust, British Jewry’s watchdog group on anti-Semitism and hate crimes, and the Jewish Leadership Council have backed the board’s complaint, which was put together following legal advice on canon law.

“This action sends a clear, strong message from our community that we will not remain quiet in the face of actions and remarks capable of being seen as antisemitic even where they are disguised as anti-Zionist attacks on Israel," the president of the Board of Deputies, Vivian Wineman, said.

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