Former Middle East peace envoy to join campaign for tolerance and religious acceptance
Tony Blair has announced the role he will take on following his resignation as Middle East peace envoy, as chairman of The European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR).
The council aims to tackle anti-Semitism and religious extremism in Europe.
The move is contentious, as the organisation’s focus could lead to Palestinian criticism that Blair favoured Israel during his tenure as Middle East peace envoy.
Blair set out the reasons he has taken up the role in an article for the Times, co-authored by Moshe Kantor, a Russian-born Jewish philanthropist and businessman.
They say: “We live in dangerous times. There have been three periods in the past hundred years when the annual GDP growth in Europe went below 1 per cent: 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.”
“It is our firm belief that it is not religion or faith per se that causes or foments conflict.
“It is the abuse of religion which then becomes a mask behind which those bent on death and destruction all too often hide.”
Blair is not going to take a salary, but his organisation, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation will receive an undisclosed annual donation.