Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair quit his most recent diplomatic position as Middle East Envoy to join the fight against the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.
After stepping down as Middle East envoy for the Quartet – the United Nations, the US, the EU and Russia – former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is taking on a leading role in combating anti-Semitism in Europe.
Blair announced Thursday that he will chair the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, a group that champions legislation and dialogue on tolerance as well as encouraging countries to fight racism and xenophobia. The group aims to carry out seminars for thousands of school and university students across Europe in the next two years about tolerance and the role of religion in society.
Writing in The Times, a British newspaper, Blair and businessman Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, argue that racism in the name of religion must be tackled with new laws. “’We live in dangerous times. There have been three periods in the past hundred years when the annual GDP growth in Europe went below one percent: first in 1913 just before the First World War, second in 1938 just before the Second World War and third in 2014. Economic decline fuels instability and we know these concerns are being felt across the world,” they wrote.
They cited a report by the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University, which found that 2014 was one of the worst years in the past decade for anti-Semitic incidents.
Blair quit his position as Middle East envoy last week, leaving a post that had begun with great hope, but which struggled to deliver in its quest to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
By: AP and United with Israel