Tony Blair, Amos Oz and more at Presidential Conference

By Ophir Samson, June 22, 2011
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Shimon Peres with conference guest Shakira

Shimon Peres with conference guest Shakira

Quartet envoy Tony Blair has told an audience at the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem that "supporting freedom is an intervention that goes with the grain of human progress".

Mr Blair was one of many high-profile speakers at the event, the third since 2008, which was organised under the auspices of President Shimon Peres. Others included philosopher Bernard Henri Lévy, who called on global leaders not to panic, but instead to embrace the change on Israel's borders.

He said that while dictatorships promoted instability and conflict, history had proved that democracies rarely made war with each other. He said the instability in the Middle East was for the greater good of Israel.

Writer Amos Oz and the Chief Rabbi of the UK Lord Sacks also spoke, with the former arguing that a two-state solution was the only solution possible for a lasting peace. Lord Sacks discussed how negative images of Israel were being used as justification for a new wave of antisemitism throughout Europe.

Other guests at the conference included Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Start-up Nation author Saul Singer, as well as Colombian pop star Shakira.

Last updated: 3:45pm, June 22 2011