Who does Tony Blair work for?

"In the conversations I’ve had with the Israeli Prime Minister there is now, in principle, agreement for Israel to allow goods in" Tony Blair told reporters on Monday. And like magic, an official Israeli statement today announced the ‘easing’ of the Gaza blockade. After three years of lucrative ambassadorial work, the man best known for invading Iraq on doctored evidence is back in the big time. As pressure mounts on Netanyahu’s government to end the illegal blockade on Gaza following the flotilla massacre, the former PM has been asked to step up his Hasbara duties.

Today’s announcement confirmed that Israel will "liberalise the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza and expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision". Specific goods were not specified, but it is believed a severely limited quantity of foodstuffs and education materials will be taken off the banned list. The UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign derided the "so called easing of the blockade as a sham designed to divert the world’s attention from the inhumane blockade".

Francis Beckett, author of the biography "The Survivor: Tony Blair in Peace and War" sees Blair’s role as "translator for the Israeli government, serving for Israel’s benefit. Netanyahu is in a hole. Politically he cant afford to give in to foreign pressure, but he has to take some action. Blair is his escape route."

Beckett believes Blair is at heart a pragmatist and his politics have always tracked the changing dynamics of American presidencies. "He always knew to ask ‘how high’ when the President told him to jump. As a result he became far more right-wing when Bush replaced Clinton, which marked the end of his connection with any old Labour ideals."

Blair was appointed as the Quartet’s Envoy to the Middle East on January 27, 2007, the same day he retired as Prime Minster. It came about through the lobbying of former President George W. Bush and Beckett believes at the time it was an "honorific" position, devoid of meaningful responsibility, adding "now that Obama is in charge he is being pressured to be more active".

The appointment, with a brief to build Palestinian institutions, was met with surprise and dismay. "Like most people, I thought it was a very odd appointment." says Beckett, "the job requires someone trusted by both sides and while he is certainly trusted by Israelis, he is not by Palestinians. A serious peace envoy would have to be less damaged."
There are obvious reasons for distrust. The war over WMDs in Iraq, supported by Israel but largely opposed by the British public and Labour party, has killed over 100,000 civilians to date. In 2006, Blair refused to support a UN resolution for a ceasefire during Israel’s Lebanon offensive, giving them every chance to destroy Hezbollah. In Beckett’s words, Blair has "no feeling for Muslims. Aside from shuttle diplomacy before Iraq, persuading Saudi Arabians to co-operate, he has had practically no relations with Arab leaders."

While international leaders loudly condemned the bloody assault on the Mavi Marmara, Blair’s voice struck a different note: "When it comes to security, I am one hundred percent on Israel’s side", he said a few days after the tragedy. He has since gone on record supporting Israel’s right to an internal investigation.

During three years as the Quartet’s Envoy Blair has been a rare sighting in the occupied territories. He has taken two brief trips to Gaza, the first in March 2009, and visited troubled Hebron just long enough to have "terrorist" chants directed at him.

That Blair has combined his role with so many other positions, including the ‘Africa Governance Initiative’, multiple directorships and controversially the ‘Tony Blair Faith Foundation’, has led to criticism that he lacks commitment. Oxford professor Avi Shlaim memorably characterised him as "a man who wears too many hats".

It is believed that Blair has amassed a personal fortune in excess of £20 million since leaving office, mainly through middle east contacts established through his envoy position. In 2009 he made in excess of £5million advising the governments of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates and is also an ambassador of investment bank JP Morgan in the Middle East.

Beckett sees this as highly unusual behaviour from a former Prime Minister. "Most (ex-PMs) go into retirement quietly, they receive a pension of over £100,000 and live comfortably on that. But because Blair mixes with the super-rich he feels the need to scrabble for money in a dreadfully undignified way." Beckett goes on to detail Blair’s endorsement trips to the USA, during which Americans would line up to shake his hand for a set tariff of over $1000.

Controversy over religion has dogged the former PM since his resignation and prompt conversion to Catholicism. A public admission that he had "talked to God" before invading Iraq plainly illustrates the extent to which faith has informed his politics. Indeed Blair’s ‘Faith Foundation’, a predominantly Christian coalition of religious leaders has attracted severe criticism, with even high profile Catholic leaders called it a "messianic plan for world domination". His active participation in the ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ society is another clue to his deeply held partisanship in relation to Middle-Eastern politics, which Shlaim commented "was probably considered a qualification" for his position.
But while avarice and pragmatism have superseded any ideals Blair possessed, members of his own family have frequently served to prick his conscience. His cousin Lauren Booth, a left-wing journalist and activist, was a passenger aboard the first flotilla in 2008 and has publicly criticised her brother-in law’s policies, saying he should be "ashamed" of the civilian deaths in Iraq and that his plans for Gaza would lead to "a slow, agonising death for Palestinians". Booth is also co-founder of ‘Aloha Palestine’, along with Ken O’ Keefe who was this week declared a terrorist by Israel. Beckett, who commissioned Booth for articles, confirms that "Lauren has been a dreadful embarrassment to the Blairs for years. In the middle of Blair’s premiership, a deal was made so that she would stop talking about him."

Today he is talk of the town once more, feted as the man who engineered progress on the world’s thorniest issue. But for anyone who has followed the series of disappointments that constitute his career, it is classic Blair. Support whoever is winning.

Kieron Monks is editor of the Palestine Monitor news website in Ramallah.

Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 41 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Blownaway says:

    A man who is well beyond his 15 minutes of infamy. It was most interesting when he announced the “easing” he said today “we” have come to agreement. As if by Israel is negotiating with itself by negotiating with Blar. What a tool.

  2. kalithea says:

    Blair needs to get out of the organ grinder’s monkey get-up and stop jumping around for Israel.

    He’s a pompous ass on a fool’s mission pretending he’s just invented the wheel. What he needs is a good dose of humility in the form of a flying shoe, or a well-placed cream pie the next time opens his mouth and removes all doubt!

  3. AMC is presenting a new series this summer, Rubicon, which exposes new aspects of the WASP conspiracy which has controlled American institutions since the founding of the United States. The protagonist of the show studies the machinatons of Iran,’ a country, which we are told, ‘is not exactly America’s best friend these days, is haunted after nine years, by the deaths of his wife and child, who were, interesting enough, considering the hour, visiting the observation deck of one of the twin towers at the time it was attacked by the Moslems.

    • kylebisme says:

      The Arabs who were apparently on the 9/11 planes weren’t Muslims by any stretch, they liked to get drunk and hang out at strip clubs, as documented here. Also, if yo take the time to review the official “report” on how the towers came down, you’ll find it only devotes around half a page to the period when the buildings actually came down (NCSTAR 1, 6.14.4. Events Following Collapse Initiation, p, 196 of the PDF file, p. 146 of the document itself). Nowhere, in that “report” or elsewhere, can you find even any semblance of experimental confirmation to substantiate NIST’s “Events Following Collapse Initiation” claims, because the towers were brought down with explosives.

      Point being, the “WASP conspiracy” you mention is far more grotesque than most are willing to imagine. The term “conspiracy” is rather misleading too, is it implies far more unity between conspirators, whereas 9/11 was apparently an attack from some faction within our establishment against their rivals. Blaming Arabs simply served the interests of all factions within the establishment, and here we are.

      Anyway, for some historical perspective on the matter, with respect to the focus of this blog, I highly recommend this essay on the WASP origins of Zionism.

      • Donald says:

        I’m not going to get into the 9/11 stuff beyond this–if you’re going to read the truther stuff you owe it to yourself to read the other side as well.

        link to debunking911.com

        • kylebisme says:

          I’ve reviewed the official “investigations” and plenty more in defense of the official story for how the WTC buildings came down, including the site you linked. Again, both the official investigations and all other defenders of the official story skirt around the fact that what NIST refers to as “Events Following Collapse Initiation” utterly lacks experimental confirmation because that story flagrantly violates the laws of physics.

          Please note that I didn’t link you to any “truther stuff”, but rather to a collection of mainstream articles on the un-Islamic nature of the Arabs involved in 9/11, and the official “report” on how the towers came down. If you would like to demonstrate some respect for reality, you owe it to yourself to review the information which I’ve presented here. Also, if you’d like me to point out my favorite crackpot argument at the website you linked, I’d be happy to share.

  4. stevelaudig says:

    “Bliar” conveys all that is needed to be known about the former prime minister.

  5. “Toni” Blair is not worth a thimble full of warm puppy pi*s (or even a tinker’s damn)!

  6. Brewer says:

    Blair demonstrates his ineptitude and ignorance before being cut to ribbons by Sir Jeremy Greenstock in this BBC interview:

    link to news.bbc.co.uk

  7. It is always good advice to “Follow the Money”. A few years ago, The Guardian reported upon some shadowy goings on in Gaza:

    link to guardian.co.uk

    Although the article is long, take note of the people mentioned in it, and build a timeline of events concerning Gaza, the election of Hamas, the isolation of Gaza, the attempted coup by Fatah, and the strangulation of Gaza to remove Hamas. Also take note of many of Washington’s old friends and lapdogs. Occam’s razor is your friend. If you have trouble with comprehending what is there to read, there is no help for you.

    • annie says:

      excellent article t bear,

      one of Hamas’s first demands after seizing power in Gaza was for a renegotiation of the BG contract.

      don’t forget

      In 2006, British Gas “was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt.” (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.

      i urge everyone to read this article from Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs by Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon circa ’07: Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza’s Coastal Waters
      Threaten Israel’s National Security?

      reading like a roadmap for the coming massacre

      Hamas’ “Partnership” in the BG Transaction

      British officials have expressed confidence that the gas proceeds can bypass Hamas and benefit the Palestinian public by being deposited and monitored in international bank accounts.5 Israel has also proposed paying for the gas in goods and services. (ed note: does that mean funding the blockade?) 6 However, these assessments are mistaken. A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three.

      Soon after Hamas’ takeover of Gaza in June 2007, Hamas’ economic minister in the PA government, Ziad Zaza, blasted BG as “an embarrassment to the Palestinian people,” while labeling the transaction an “act of theft” against Palestinian lands.7 However, Hamas soon reversed its position and now insists on renegotiating the agreed percentages in the deal to reflect its participation.8 Dr. Mohammed Mustafa, head of the PA’s Palestinian Investment Fund, a local BG partner, has indicated on more than one occasion that at least 10 percent of the gas proceeds will be directed to Gaza and that arrangements could be made to satisfy “the organizations” – meaning Hamas – in negotiations.9 This means, in simple terms, that the current terms of the deal are still unsatisfactory to Hamas, although it stands to receive a minimum direct payout of $100 million, while the PA’s Fatah leadership will likely pocket close to $900 million.

      Hamas, in anticipation of its participation in BG negotiations, has confirmed its capability to bomb Israel’s strategic gas and electricity installations in Ashkelon.10 This type of threat is a pressure tactic against Israel that will most likely increase if the BG deal moves closer to completion. It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.

      more at the link re blair’s involvement under the heading “Selling British Gas to Israel: A Key British Foreign Policy Goal Since 2000 “

    • LeaNder says:

      Interesting that Ashkelon surfaces here again:

      His rhetoric might have been a response to the circumvention of the Gaza Strip in the deal, which will pipe gas directly onshore to Ashkelon in Israel.

  8. Egbert says:

    This version is for English speakers i.e. the US. The real story about liberalisation of goods transfer is in the Hebrew versions of newspapers. There, from what I understand, the real story is the Israeli government is considering talking about talking about liberalising goods transfer (or words to that effect).

    So, the same all song. A sham for the stupid goyim to salve their conscience with Israeli convolution and foot dragging until the story fades away.

    • Here’s the reference to the liberalisation of goods transfer with two different statements given by the Israelis; one in English, and one, much less definite, in Hebrew.
      link to haaretz.com

      Apart from this slimy doubletalk, no consideration has yet been given to:
      - private import of cement for private housing
      - no relief of restrictions on 43% of Gazan agricultural land which now lies fallow, due to extension of the border buffer zone after Cast Lead
      - no reliefs on export of Gazan products, including strawberries and flowers
      - no relief on restriction to 3 nautical miles of fishing allowed from the Gaza coast, also introduced since Cast Lead

      So yes, Egbert, it is certainly a sham.

  9. James says:

    does israel really want to be viewed as the prison wardens of gaza? that is exactly what they are producing here with their suggestions of allowing more goods in… i am surprised that they want to project exactly the wrong message to the world, but they seem intent on doing it!!! having some silver tongued douche bag do the pr changes none of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Israel is already seen by most of the world, except the US and UK, as the prison warders of the Gaza Strip, and nothing they do, except to lift the blockade entirely, will change this perception.

      I’ve just come across tomgrossmedia.com, in which this premium class hasbarista illustrates and attacks Arabic cartoons about the Flotilla, and comments on Arab media, such as:
      The London-based British-Arab paper Al-Hayat, whose journalists are favored guests on the BBC, says “Israel can be summed up in its entirety by one word: crime.”
      In a separate article Al-Hayat (UK) says “the Gaza Strip has become an open-air Nazi concentration camp
      ”.

      He illustrates his biases by showing the Roots Club in Gaza (promotional video of its opening (undated) used by the Israeli MFA very recently to propagandise the lack of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza)
      link to youtube.com
      This clearly shows the opening promotion for the club by Dr Ghaidar al Shafi (who cut the ribbon and died in 2007) and the attendance of the ‘President’ Mahmoud Abbas who hasn’t visited Gaza since Hamas won the election in 2006

      Doublecheck your bill before you leave an Israeli restaurant, , and do the same with their published videos.

      • annie says:

        This clearly shows the opening promotion

        your point? i’m missing the relevance to the post richard. haven’t we all been privy to this hasbara from the foreign minister for the umpteenth time?

  10. Another set of photos used by the Israelis and their flacks to justify their ‘no humanitarian crisis in Gaza’ is shown at:
    link to paltoday.ps
    which, at first sight, shows a thriving market in Gaza City.

    But it isn’t. It shows preparation time for Eid al Adha, the festival in November last year.
    - these are temporary tented stalls selling only sweets/candies, children’s clothes, cheap toys, fruit, and secondhand clothes and shoes.

    This is like Christmas shopping run by a flea market.

    No staple foods, like fresh fish, meat, vegetables, grains, pulses, or spices.

  11. Citizen says:

    Re: Israel is already seen by most of the world, except the US and UK, as the prison warders of the Gaza Strip, and nothing they do, except to lift the blockade entirely, will change this perception.

    If you add Canada, this is the POV of the Israeli regime, and of most of its citizens, who, together, are victims of their own propaganda. This POV needs a haircut–the roots too, which are all based in the firm belief that that the Goys will always seek to take down the Jews; history does not change.

  12. annie says:

    blair was recently on charlie rose (as was meshaal) for the benefit of israel. the interview was all about gaza even tho the caption says Tony Blair, Former British Prime Minister and current Middle East envoy to the E.U., U.N., U.S. and Russia discusses this crucial time in the Middle East, it’s all gaza. . ( rose’s intro) “He is focused on building up the Palestinian economy, institutions, and governance in the West Bank. Since Israel’s deadly raid on the flotilla of boats headed to Gaza, he has been in close talks with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu over how to ease the blockade. “

    iow, he’s out performing pr functions for israel full throttle

    transcript

  13. Lets imagine a situation where a spokesman from 6 plus Germany is chosen to liase between Ahmednezad and UN . The man has been honored earlier in the city of Qom for great service to the Shite’s causes and to the Islamic revolution. The man popped up in June 2009 to declare that he had a word with Ahmednezad and there was no evidence of violence against street demonstrator .He also confirmed that the neuclear programme had actually been shut down and there was no need for further UN’s involvement. His word is then used to justify changes in UN’s policy.This man would sound more trustworthy and reliable.

  14. Les says:

    It was Blair’s job to be the go between to get the sign off from Egypt which would have Abbas sign off on a deal to get the gas under the Mediterranean off Gaza’s shore delivered to Israel, and Israel only. There’s money in such deals.

  15. Taxi says:

    Gotta be kidding me! You call what Blair does ‘work’?

    Clearly, Blair’s either shit-stirring or shit-eating.

    Check the records: his hands are soaked in Arab blood way past the elbows.

    Loathsome, loathsome mass-murderer!!

    • Walid says:

      T-Bear and his 2007 Guardian article link to guardian.co.uk touched on a subject I tried raising last week and it didn’t have many takers just like now and I’m wondering why. It’s about the probability of Israel mucking around with offshore natural gas in Gaza’s territorial waters and most probably the real reason behind the blockade and Lieberman’s “stop’em at any cost” orders which is what they did and it cost 9 lives. This was followed up with the execution last week by the Israeli navy of the 6 Palestinian divers that were out in the water off Gaza. I’m sure there is something going on out there that is more than simply Israel trying to stop arms from coming in. Those billions of dollars worth for Gaza gas signed by Israel, the PA and the Palestinians’- owned CCC that are talked about in the Guardian article are not being discussed.

      • Taxi says:

        Yeah, Walid, I remember your last comment on the Gaza Gas swindlers and I totally see, as usual, corporate greed exploiting whole nations for profit, even at the cost of thousands of people’s lives.

        And now that Israelis have ‘sniffed’ gas, the greedy zionists most certainly have NO INTENTIONS of ever freeing Gaza – they’re already kicking themselves for Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal!

        My wish is that they actually fuck around with the Gaza gas situ too – meaning that they spend their resources and energies into exhaustion over yet another failed zionist project inspired by greed and injustice.

        I wish to see them economically bankrupt and morally humiliated in biblical proportions.

      • annie says:

        walid, thanks for your persistence. i totally agree the massacre and rejection of hamas from the beginning was their efforts to not kowtow to israel and control their resources. right upthread i linked to “Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza’s Coastal Waters
        Threaten Israel’s National Security? ” from 07 pre gaza massacre which is basically a call for war. i think we need to continually promote the correct assessment of why that massacre happened and why israel want to keep the blockade in effect. even if they lift it they want control of gaza’s maritime space because of the gas. they don’t want gaza ever to have access to their port not because of weapons but they want to control the region of the resources and they are willing to go to war over it and won’t ebd the blockade because of it unless and after abbas or some other palestinian tool agree to sign off palestine’s authority or control over their resources. the contract w/BP is crucial.

      • A useful overview of the Gaza gas situation is:
        War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields by Michel Chossudovsky
        link to globalresearch.ca

        Pay special attention to the maps. Israel’s part of the field already tapped at Or and Med Yavne is reported to be running out of gas already, so they’ve begun to drill sideways into the contiguous Gaza field. (For those who remember that far back, this kind of behaviour by Kuwait was a prime motivation for Saddam Hussein’s attack on Kuwait in 1990 link to en.wikipedia.org), when he thought he had a green light from April Glaspie the US Ambassador to Iraq to invade northern Kuwait and Subiyan Island, but, instead, went on to take the whole lot).

        In December 2007, BG Group withdrew from negotiations with the government of Israel for the sale of gas from the Gaza Marine field to Israel. In January 2008, BG Group closed its office in Israel. The Group is evaluating options for commercialising the gas.
        ISRAEL
        BG Group relinquished its Med Yavne licence in April 2009

        link to bg-group.com

        The current situation seems to be that BG has dropped out, temporarily, from dealing with a hornet’s nest.

      • “I tried raising last week and it didn’t have many takers just like now and I’m wondering why.”

        Not at all, Walid..We do..

  16. Why, of course, Tony Blair had always worked for Israel, period! Israel’s supporters hand-picked him for leadership of a left-wing Labour Party and when prompted, turned it around to the most right-wing party! Had he been a scrupulous person, he wouldn’t have survived more than a few days in Jerusalem.

  17. Les says:

    Blair knows where the money is as does former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar

    link to haaretz.com

    • kalithea says:

      Reading anything that bozo says is as pleasant as stepping on fresh dog poop.

      • Shmuel says:

        One of my favourite parts of Aznar’s Zionist manifesto:

        we remind all people of goodwill of the true historical context in which the State of Israel was re-established following United Nations Resolution 181 in 1947

        According Haaretz, Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein is also involved in the initiative. FYI, Ms. Nirenstein is an Israeli citizen and a settler, who spends a good part of her time in Italian parliament furthering a radically pro-Zionist agenda, including attempts to limit freedom of speech with regard to criticism of Israel (which she likes to call “the new anti-Semitism”).

        • Taxi says:

          The ‘new anti-semitism’ is when euro-Israeli jews hate on Arab semitic jews, semitic Arab christians and semitic Arab muslims.

  18. RickB says:

    Can I just correct- ‘has killed over 100,000 civilians to date’

    ‘over’ as in about a million over! That this lo-ball IBC figure is becoming perceived wisdom is testament to the attacks by the warmongers (Blair included) on the more detailed and wider ranging Lancet surveys which were confirmed by the Orb surveys.

  19. javs says:

    Every dog has their day and all those whom bark at the moon for the criminals will have theirs

  20. hayate says:

    “Who does Tony Blair work for?”

    The short answer to that is: whichever zionist happens to be positioned behind him.

    Guy Fawkes Day should be changed to The Blair Day, with the blair involuntarily providing the appropriate opening ceremony this autumn.

  21. annie says:

    coteret confirms: Blair lead Gaza Hasbara

    “It turns out that Quartet envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair was the person who in fact presented to the international media the change in the policy of the Israeli government on the Gaza blockade. This was decided in coordination with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.”