Tony Blair on de-legitimization of Israel: “Don’t apply rules to the Government of Israel that you would never dream of applying to your own country”

Rt. Hon.Tony Blair, Herzliya Forum for Diplomacy, Lauder School of Government, 24 August 2010.

On 24 August 2010, Rt. Hon.Tony Blair delivered the keynote address at the distinguished Herzliya Forum for Diplomacy, a foreign policy forum for heads of state and other leaders, at the Lauder School of Diplomacy, Strategy, and Government at IDC-Herzliya, Israel. In his speech, Blair identified the two primary forms of de-legitimization that Israel faces throughout the world and put forth five steps to counter this de-legitimization. Blair argued that

The “traditional” and “insidious” forms of de-legitimization are the two forms of de-legitimization that Israel faces. The “traditional” de-legitimization of Israel “is [an] attack from those who openly question Israel’s right to exist. It is easier to deal with, because it is so clear.” The “insidious” form, on the other hand, “is a conscious or often unconscious resistance, sometimes bordering on refusal, to accept Israel has a legitimate point of view.” This form is “harder to spot, harder to anticipate and harder to deal with, because many of those engaging in it, will fiercely deny they are doing so.”

Below are a few more notable quotes from Blair’s address at the Lauder School:

On his support for Israel:

1. “This is a democracy. Its Parliament is vibrant. Its politics is, well, not notably restrained, let’s say. Its press is free. Its people have rights and they are enforced.”

2. “I had an argument with a friend about Israel. I said to them: ‘ok let’s assume you are charged with a crime you didn’t commit and the penalty is 20 years in prison. And you’re a critic of the Government. Tell me: under which country’s legal system, in this region, would you prefer to be tried?’ He struggled for a bit and then said: ‘that’s not the point.’ ‘But it is,’ I replied.”

3. “Look around the world about what we admire about the Jewish people: their contribution to art, culture, literature, music, business and philanthropy. It’s a spirit that is identifiable, open and rather wonderful. Whatever bigotry is, it is the opposite of it. It is a free spirit.”

4, “Don’t apply rules to the Government of Israel that you would never dream of applying to your own country.”



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