Archbishop Desmond Tutu has pulled out of a speaking engagement in Johannesburg because he refuses to speak alongside Tony Blair. Explaining his decision, Tutu says Blair and George W Bush should face trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague over the Iraq war.
Blair can consider Tutu’s snub a badge of honour. After all, Tutu has some very colourful views about international affairs. He has made sinister and inaccurate insinuations about a “Jewish lobby” in America. He has frequently compared Israel to apartheid South Africa, and argued that Zionism has “very many parallels with racism”.
Tutu has also urged the Jewish people to “pray for” the Nazis, and is a subscriber to the obscene ‘they of all people’ argument.
So I doubt Blair, who has brilliantly responded to Tutu’s outburst, will lose much sleep over this. Indeed, one wonders what is really going on here. Tutu agreed to speak with Blair, accepted the fee, and signed-off promotional posters featuring him with the former PM.
At what stage did he decide that actually, no, he absolutely couldn’t bring himself to speak alongside him?