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The ‘Jewish lobby’ and Christian anti-Judaism in Evangelicals Now

This is a guest post by Seismic Shock

Leading monthly evangelical newspaper Evangelicals Now, edited by the pastor of Chertsey Street Baptist Church John Benton, has a broad range of submitters and writers who a vast number of topics. Yet over the last few years, the paper has allowed various antisemitic and anti-Zionist motifs to be openly eschewed in its pages.

This week comes the news that Evangelicals Now has asked Stephen Sizer to review Barry Horner’s critically acclaimed book Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged.

Rev Sizer writes on his blog:

O dear. I really don’t want to have to review this unpleasant little book but those nice people at Evangelicals Now have asked me to, so I will, eventually. If Wilkinson coined the phrase “Christian Palestinianism” to identify those he doesn’t agree with Horner goes one step further and calls us “anti-Judaism” I can’t find anything positive to say about this book (yet).

Evangelical Now’s editorial policy must surely be questioned. Why has Rev Sizer been asked to review a book in which he is roundly criticized? I would have thought that the point of a book review is to have a disinterested third party point of view! This point is strengthened by Rev Sizer’s own admission of his ‘bias’ in writing about Christian Zionism.

Asking Stephen Sizer to review a book on Christian anti-Judaism further seems strange considering that he has forwarded an email by the Holocaust denierMichael A. Hoffman II, which claimed:

Judaism considers western civilization to be Edom and despises it with far greater rancor than even Muslim fundamentalists. The current alliance between the West and the Israelis and rabbis, is very tenuous and temporary, predicated on the denial of New Testament doctrine and the transformation of an erstwhile Christian western civilization into a collective golem that bombs and fights Muslims for the benefit of the Israelis.

Even more bizzarely, the only form of Judaism which Rev Sizer in practice appears to affirm is the extremist ultra-Orthodox sect Neturei Karta, whose activities include attending a conference on Holocaust denial and sending congratulations and well-wishes to Hamas.

Rev Sizer has frequently appeared on an anti-Zionist platform alongside Aharon Cohen of the Neturei Karta, a rabbi who claims that the Holocaust dead “deserved it.”

For years though, Rev Sizer has been allowed to write negatively and cynically about Jews, Zionists and Israel in Evangelicals Now.

In 1996, Sizer wrote:

“neither Dole nor Clinton will dare upset the Jewish lobby”

In 2004 came the ludicrous claim by Rev Sizer about Christian anti-Zionist Gary Burge:

“Burge has been vilified for his views and accused by the Anti-Defamation League of being anti-Semitic. I take this as a sign instead of his theological integrity and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Rev Sizer has previously used language and concepts reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Evangelicals Now, and has also subtlycompared Israelis with Nazis:

“(Prior shows convincingly how) the Shoah has been used to legitimise state repression by Israel and attempt to silence criticism. In the words of W. H. Auden, ‘. . . Those to whom evil is done, Do evil in return.’”

Meanwhile, leading British theologian Alec Motyer has twice claimed inEvangelicals Now not to have found “any ‘Jews’ in the Old Testament”, whilstDavid Rushworth-Smith couldn’t find any Jews in Palestine between A.D. 70 and 1948.

And, in 2002, Malcolm MacGregor also made reference to a Jewish lobby in the paper when claiming of Israel:

“Well, it’s a piece of land, about 60 miles long and 30 miles wide, and is what used to be called the land of Palestine. It’s a series of problems following the setting up of the State of Israel in 1948 when thousands of Arabs were forced into exile as President Harry Truman gave in to the Jewish political lobby in New York and Britain decided to wash its hands of the problem, leaving the Arabs to sink or swim.”

Evangelicals Now today finds itself in a ludicrous situation where it is asking a reverend who is widely considered to have anti-Judaic views to write a review of a book which he openly disdains, and a book in which he himself is criticised.

Whilst Evangelicals Now has previously published fair and balanced accounts of the situation in the Middle East, its editorial policy has also allowed negative images and ideas about Jews and Israelis to be promoted in its pages.

How can this be?