Quds Day Letter To Tony Blair. From Lauren Booth, In Iran
23 September 2010
By Gilad Atzmon
I guess that Tony Blair's sister in law, Lauren Booth,
could easily use the phone and tell Tony what she
thinks of him, his politics and his new memoir.
However, being a peace activist she decided also to
share it with the rest of us.
Congratulations on your political memoir becoming an
instant bestseller. I'm in Iran and have the only copy
in the country. I can tell you, its so fiercely fought
over, it's worth its weight in WMD's. Note to Random
House; have `A Journey' translated into Farsi and
Arabic asap, it'll fly off the shelves in this part of
Tony, yesterday I went the Al Quds day protest in
Tehran. You may have heard of it? It's the rally where
Iranians gather to protest against Israel's illegal
occupation of Palestine, including the Holy city of
I'm being sarcastic by asking if you've heard of Al
Quds day, because I know you have. It is after all
your very worst nightmare right? It must be horrifying
with the `world view,' you express in your memoirs to
watch scenes on the BBC news showing the precise
meeting point of politics and Islam.
Personally I've never understood this fear of
`political Islam' it seems to me that religious people
should always be educated on world events rather than
kept in ignorance like say, Mid West Christian
Zionists in the US who can't even find their home city
on a map of their state.
Anyway, yesterday, I stood in the midst of more than
one million Iranian Muslims all chanting in unison `Marg
Bar Isre-hell!' and `Marg Bar Am-ri-ca!' You know what
that means Tony I'm sure ; `Down with Israel, down
with America'. The men, women and children around me
withstood a day of no water and no food (it's called
Ramadan, Tony, it's a fast). Coping with hunger and
thirst in the hundred degrees heat, as if it were
nothing. They can withstand deprivation in the Muslim
world, and think it a proud thing to suffer in order
to express their fury at the continued slaughter of
Palestinians. To protest the theft of what little
remains of Palestinian land by settlers. To protest
the blockade of Gaza causing immense suffering to
Now, the Christian Zionists in the US and the Jewish
Zionists in Israel would have you believe that I was
am in danger in Iran, especially on a day like Al Quds.
Well here again Tony, you've been fed and have
consumed in its entirety, a massive lie. The lie that
says that when Muslims march they march against
infidels (like me I suppose) in some kind of Middle
Eastern homage to the ancient crusades.
Yet the crusade Tony is yours, not `theirs.'
Today I spoke with many women on the Tehran protest.
One mother who wept, not out of hatred for `the West'
but out of empathy for the mothers of Rafah, Khan
Younis, Nablus and Jenin. Do you recognise these place
names Tony, as Middle East peace envoy you really
should. Israel has massacred children in all of these
cities in recent years. Didn't you know?
Anyway the women I met were gentle, frustrated by the
refusal of the international community to stop the
arrests of Palestinian children, to stop the routine
bombing of the tunnels (the main access still for food
and essential items in the Gaza strip). We embraced in
the streets of Tehran like sisters. Not in Islam Tony,
but in the fight against your brand of extremism and
And today when the streets of London reverberate with
cries of `Allahuakbar!' and `Down Down Israel.'
Christians and Jews will join the thunderous cries of
`Down Down Israel, marching against the `political'
Muslims you say you fear so much, That you would have
me fear too if you could.
Having spent a good deal of time in Palestine in
recent years, certainly more than you and your the
`peace envoy' supposedly. It repulsed me to read your
blatant swallowing of the Israeli narrative regarding
Palestine and its people.
The `conflict' between Palestine and Israel is
according to you all about religion and has nothing at
all to do with the ethnic cleansing of the Arab
population, nor the degredation of those who remain by
their Israeli occupiers. You say that Arabs have and
always will see `Jews' as enemies. For God's sake Tony
do your history. And if you're going to run a `Faith
Foundation' then better gen up on Islam 101 don't you
think? Did your pals in Tel Aviv forget to tell you
how many thousands of Jews lived in Historic Palestine
in harmony with their Arab neighbours before 1948? Do
you really not know that even today tens of thousand
of Jews reside contentedly in Iran?
I've sat with dozens and dozens of Muslim families,
those whose children have been burned by Israeli/US
phosphorous bombs. Those who are still suffering
hunger due to the Israel siege of Gaza. Those who have
lived through the early days of sanctions against Iran
when they needed food vouchers just to live. And every
single Muslim in these suffering families has the same
message ; `We don't hate anyone for their race or
their religion. We cannot hate Jews they are in our
holy book it is against the teachings of the Koran.'
But Tony let me ask you this. Why should any people
Muslim or otherwise have NO right to justice and NO
right to challenge an evil being done to them and
their children? or to those who share a set of common
beliefs? Do you have no understanding of what it is
like to live in Gaza? Under siege, attacked with
chemical weapons, your children's schools razed to the
ground by Israeli missiles, your hospitals shelled,
your electricity limited, your water undrinkable?
Or do understand the `idea' of the hardships suffered
by millions in the Middle East as a direct result of
your support for Israel and just think they deserve
In your book you say you knew full well how many
Beirut homes were flattened, how many civilians died
in Lebanon in 2006. Yet you dismiss Lebanese rage
about Israeli land theft of `Shebas Farm' as being an
irrelevance, about a `tiny' amount of land. You cannot
see it as part of an attack on Lebanese life as a
whole, by it's heavily armed aggressive neighbour. You
see it as: `Israel is attacked. Israel strikes back.'
As if Israel lives in placid peace, being kindly to
all around it in between these massacres.
As other world leaders came out to demand Israel
immediately cease its 2006 bombing raids on Lebanese
cities, you stayed silent.
`If I had condemned Israel' you say `I would have been
more than dishonest. It would have undermined my world
Your world view that Muslims are mad, bad, dangerous
to know. A contagion to be contained. Your final
chapter is a must read here in the Middle East Tony,
congratulations! For it lays out the `them' and `us'
agenda of your friends in Washington and Tel Aviv and
in David Milliband, the ambassador of Zionism that he
In the final chapter you say; `we need a religious
counter attack' against Islam. And by `Islam' you mean
the Al Quds rallies, the Palestinian intifada (based
on an anti Apartheid struggle Tony, NOT religious
bigotry), against every Arab who fails to raise a flag
as the F16s rain on their homes and refugee camps and
breaks out singing `Imagine all the people…'
When you say `extremism' must be `controlled and
beaten' you mean the message of solidarity shared by
Non Muslims alike on the streets of London and across
the world today, joining the Al Quds day protests.
`Not only extremism must be defeated' you say but `the
narrative that has to be assailed.'
Iran is indeed the place where Islamic tradition meets
But I'm not afraid here Tony. The people are kind,
friendly, full of good humour.
They are also highly aware of the history of this
region, the wrongs perpetrated by Israel against
Palestine and the political machinations of the US and
the UK governments.
And as your book remains highly sought after here in
Tehran. It's that and not Islam, that you and your
Israeli chums should be afraid of because it reveals
you in all your ignorant glory.
Broadcaster and Journalist
Mail on Sunday
Press TV, UK