Tony Blair’s Israel Problem

I have long admired Tony Blair for his courage in standing by the US in the matter of the Iraq War, for his tenacity in not allowing Labor to undue most of the wise economic policies initiated by Margaret Thatcher, and for his grace in not abandoning his religious beliefs at the door of 10 Downing Street. But those stellar qualities were not enough to prevent him from making a morally obtuse comment in his column in November 9’s Wall Street Journal (‘Making Muslin Integration Work’ — go to
if you are a WSJ subscriber). He bemoans the tendency of Muslims to conflate unjustifiable sentiments against the West with ‘justifiable sentiments [such as] anxiety about injustice to Palestinians, dissent over military action in Afghanistan or Iraq, anger about Kashmir or Chechnya,…’ Thus, according to Mr. Blair, the prime legitimate beef that Muslims have with the West is the ‘Palestinian problem.’ Unspoken, but self-evident, is that Israel — a Western outpost — is the main source of Muslim discontent. So, more than the American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, more than the fact that in science, the arts, business, and just about any other major human endeavor, the West’s accomplishments have dwarfed any Muslim contribution to the world, more than any of those irritants, the fact that a few Jews have set up shop on a tiny portion of ‘Muslim lands’ is the main source of unhappiness of Blair’s poor Muslims. I don’t know which is worse — Tony’s reflexive anti-Israel position or his obsequious deference to Muslim sensitivities. And he is supposed to be an honest broker between Israel and her Muslim enemies? Fat chance!