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Blair takes on tolerance role

Published 03/06/2015

Tony Blair stepped down as the Quartet's Middle East peace envoy last month
Tony Blair stepped down as the Quartet's Middle East peace envoy last month

Tony Blair is to take on a new role combating anti-Semitism after announcing he is stepping down as the Quartet's Middle East envoy.

The former prime minister is to become chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconcilia­tion (ECTR).

The body campaigns for European countries to make Holocaust denial a criminal offence, clearly define racism and anti-Semitism, and to pay for security at synagogues and Jewish schools.

Writing in The Times, Mr Blair and Moshe Kantor, a Russian-­born Jewish businessman, warned that Europe is at a turning point.

"We live in dangerous times," they wrote. "There have been three periods in the past hundred years when the annual GDP growth in Europe went below 1%: 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."

Mr Blair and Mr Kantor pointed to a recent report on global anti-Semitic incidents by the Kantor Centre at Tel Aviv University, which found 2014 was one of the worst years in the past decade.

The ex-PM confirmed last month that he was to step down as the representative of the Quartet - US, European Union, United Nations and Russia - in the Middle East.

But he has insisted he will remain engaged with the peace process.

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