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Tony Blair slammed as a ‘warmonger’ at Edinburgh event

21st August 2015

blair-middle-east-speechTony Blair came under fire at the Edinburgh International Book Festival tonight.

The former Labour prime minister was branded a “war-monger” and an Israeli shill by emeritus professor at Oxford University Avi Shlaim, with reference to Blair’s failed role as the Quartet’s peace envoy in the Middle East.

Slamming the Quartet a vehicle of the neo-conservative, pro-Israeli camp, Shlaim described Blair, 62, as “the ideal person to implement this non-policy.”

Shlaim said it was “oxymoronic” that Blair was appointed to the role in 2007 soon after he quit as Britain’s prime minister, since he was a “warmonger”. Shlaim added that the main reason president George W Bush had appointed the former prime minister was because Bush “owed him something” for his support in the Iraq War.

“So Tony Blair owes his election to his neo-con American friends, and many of the neo-cons are Jewish, and all of them, Jewish or non-Jewish, are great supporters of Israel. And when I say ‘neo-cons’, I include Blair. Blair is the worst of the bunch.”

“Tony Blair was always one-sided in his blind support for Israel. As Quartet envoy, whenever I heard him speak, to me he sounded like an Israeli official, because he always used to bang on about Israeli security. He never talked about Palestinian rights, and one Palestinian official talked about Blair as ‘stupid, stupid, stupid’, and that’s also my view of Blair.”

Shlaim claimed that Israelis liked the former UK prime minister — who stood down as “peace envoy” earlier this year — as they felt they could “literally get away with murder”.

Shlaim also attacked the Israeli policy of continuing to build Jewish settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank and Gaza territories, saying this had triggered the collapse of the Oslo Peace process.

“Settlements are not about peace, they are about land-grabbing. It’s about stealing land from the Palestinians. And you cannot engage in land grabbing and peace-making at the same time. It’s one or the other. And by its actions, Israel has shown it’s more interested in land than it is peace.”

Shlaim said successive Israeli leaders had professed a desire for political settlement, but had kept building settlements.

The Oxford professor, author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World, said the current Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “like the man who pretends to negotiate the division of a pizza but keeps eating the pizza all the time.”

Netanyahu, Shlaim claimed, “did not believe in negotiations or compromise” in dealing with Palestinians, and as a Jewish nationalist was of the belief that “only Jews have any political right over the whole land of Israel, over the entire of the West Bank”.

Shlaim asserted that the Netanyahu was “not a peacemaker”, “could not conceive of a diplomatic solution to the dispute”, and was therefore a proponent of the “doctrine of permanent conflict.”

Short URL: https://www.ianfraser.org/?p=11371

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