Thursday, October 02, 2014

Stephen Sizer, hanging out at an antisemitic conference in Iran again

The Reverend Stephen Sizer is in the news again, and not for a good reason. He's one of the people who attended the latest Iranian conference, New Horizon, which provided a venue for Jew-haters and conspiracy theorists of all kinds. The purpose of the conference from the point of view of the Iranian regime seems to be to bolster the Iranian position in the ongoing talks on its nuclear program. Its official title was "New Horizon – The 2nd Annual International Conference of Independent Thinkers & Film Makers."

Sizer spoke on two panels. At the opening ceremony, he gave a talk entitled "Christian Jihad vs. Christian Zionism." In another panel, titled "The Mechanisms of Action of the Israeli Lobby and their Effects in Western Capitals," he reported on "The Israeli Lobby in England."

[Incidentally, Sizer has published a talk called The Christian Jihadist on his website which may provide the gist of what he talked about at the conference].

Press TV has a short video about the conference, and Sizer appears briefly, speaking at the opening ceremony, but we don't hear what he's saying. Here's a screen grab from the video, showing him speaking:



He also participated in the "Conversations" part of the conference, in a session titled "Christian responsibility against Systematic Iniquity." The other participants were Randy Short, who has appeared many times on the Iranian propaganda channel Press TV, Maria Poumier, and Marzieh Hashemi. Poumier is a French filmmaker who was the director of a movie about Roger Garaudy, the Holocaust denier. She also worked on a movie called "L'antisémite" together with the French antisemitic comedian, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. Hashemi is an American who converted to Islam, moved to Iran, and now works for Press TV. Randy Short is a Protestant minister, but Hashemi is a Muslim, and Poumier doesn't appear to be connected to religion at all. A strange set of interlocutors for Sizer.

Sizer has also just uploaded a bizarre video to Vimeo, "Syrian Tourist Board Promo." It has to be seen to be believed, because it is so out of touch with the current reality of civil war and atrocities in Syria.

Another interesting participant was Medea Benjamin, of Codepink. She was one of only a few female participants (although from the New Horizon website it also appears that Alison Weir [not the historian] is also speaking, although she's not listed among the participants). Despite her feminist beliefs, she covered her hair with a scarf, as the Iranian regime requires of all women.

Medea Benjamin being interviewed by Iranian state TV - image is from ADL article on the conference.
She was part of a panel on "The Gaza War & BDS Movement Strategies against the Zionist Regime," and participated in two "conversations": on "Different Facets of the Resistance," along with Tim Pool and Caleb Maupin, on "Paradigms Old & New," with Ken O'Keefe, Tim Pool, and Caleb Maupin. The panel discussion also included Randy Short, and two Iranians, Vahid Jalili and Khaled Qoddumi.

Here's how O'Keefe is described on Wikipedia: "Ken O’Keefe (born July 21, 1969) is an Irish-Palestinian citizen and activist and former United States Marine and Gulf War veteran who attempted to renounce US citizenship in 2001. He led the human shield action to Iraq and was a passenger on the MV Mavi Marmara during the Gaza flotilla raid. He said that he participated during clashes on the ship including having been involved in the disarmament of two Israeli commandos."

Tim Pool has worked for Vice Media and is praised on his Wikipedia page for his use of new technology in covering event such as the Occupy Wall Street protests. It's not clear to me from reading about him why he would participate in a conference overflowing with conspiracy theorists and antisemitic nut cases.

Caleb Maupin works for the International Action Center, which still defends North Korea as a communist state. He is also a member of the Workers World Party, another Marxist-Leninist group that supports the vicious North Korean regime. The abstract of his talk at the conference can be found here. He writes, "The same banking institutions which drive the US toward war and support for Israel, are devastating the US economy. I will point to key events that I directly observed during the Occupy Wall Street protests that showed the potential for building a higher level of solidarity. I will identify the harmful role of Zionist Non-Governmental Organizations in controlling the movement’s politics, and blocking it from building a broader perspective."

Who is Vahid Jalili? A report in Alahednews on the conference cites him:
A few Iranian figures spoke during the conference among which was Vahid Jalili, the Director of Cultural Front of Islamic Revolution. He assured that "Israel" failed to establish its land from Nile to the Euphrates. He also said its army is no longer known as the invincible army, and is unable to protect itself. 
Jalili stressed on the cultural aspect of recognizing the fact that the Palestinian cause is international and humane not only Islamic and Arab. He also underlined that efforts worldwide should be joined to fighting the presence of a body that was entrenched in the Middle East.
Some media coverage:

Rosie Gray in Buzzfeed: "Antiwar Activists, 9/11 Truthers Gather In Tehran For Anti-Zionist Conference: Everyone from Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin to French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala."

An article by Ben Cohen in the Algemeiner: "Anti-Semites Gather in Iran for Regime Sponsored Hate-Fest"

Meir Javendafar, "Iran Regime Returns to its Antisemitic Propaganda - Again."

An article by Elham Hashemi in Alahednews, "New Horizon Conference: In Support of World Justice." The article reports that the Islamic Jihad representative in Iran, Nasser Abu Sharif, spoke on the evils of Israel. It also reports on the session with Medea Benjamin and Caleb Maupin:
Medea Benjamin, an American political activist, best known for co-founding Code Pink assured during her speech that there is not even one congress person in the US government who is ready to say ‘I want to cut aid to "Israel", even among the progressives as they are too afraid to take the step. 
Benjamin assured that BDS; Boycott Divestment Sanctions and other movements such as Students injustice for Palestine have become very prominent and vibrant in the United States. She assured these movements raise a very important issue in supporting the Palestinian people and bringing justice to the world. The activist assured that the effort now is to direct these campaigns correctly, and to find the best targets to boycott such as the Ahava cosmetic products, which not only are made by "Israel" but also steals salts from the Dead Sea. 
Other good targets, according to Benjamin, are G4S company, BAE systems, and Soda stream which are major supporters to the Zionist entity. 
In addition, Caleb Maupin, political analyst and journalist from the International Action Center assured that the list of corporations in charge of the economic trouble the US has been facing is almost identical to that of the boycott list, hence proving boycott fruitful. He stressed that boycott is one of the real keys to a major change in the world balance that people would want to see.
A press release by the ADL - "Iranian Hatefest Promotes Anti-Semitism, Draws Holocaust Deniers and U.S. Anti-Israel Activists." See also an earlier article: "Iran New Horizon Conference Draws U.S. Anti-Semites, Holocaust Deniers." An article published on October 2, "Details Emerge On Anti-Semitic Gathering In Tehran," gives more information on the speakers.

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