“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:
Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, on strategies to combat the de-legitimization of Israel:
1. “Not to make people agree necessarily with Israel’s point of view; but to insist they listen to it and persuade them at least to the position of understanding.”
2. “Israel should always be a staunch and unremitting advocate and actor for peace. What I mean by this is not that it should simply be for peace; it should advocate it and act to achieve it.”
3. “There will be no successful negotiation unless all the final status issues are on the table.”
4. “A crucial response to de-legitimisation is to deal with the legitimate criticism. What is it? Let me answer based on my experience. It is that we can and should do more and more quickly to improve the daily lives of Palestinians.”
5. “It is our collective duty — yours and mine — to argue vigorously against the de-legitimisation of Israel. It is also our collective duty to arm ourselves with an argument and a narrative we can defend and with which we can answer the case against Israel, with pride and confidence.”
Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, 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.”
Mr. Blair has also called for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit.