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Bernard-Henri Lévy
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Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French philosopher and one of the most esteemed and bestselling writers in Europe. He is the author of over 30 books, including works of philosophy, fiction, and biography. American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville was a New York Times bestseller (2006). Subsequent books in English are Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism (2008) and, with Michel Houellebecq, Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take on Each Other and the World (2011). A 2013 book, Les Aventures de la Verité, explored the historical interplay of philosophy and art. The book was written as a companion to an exhibition by the same name that Lévy curated for the Fondation Maeght in Saint Paul de Vence (June 29–November 11, 2013).

His play, “Hotel Europe,” which premiered in Sarajevo on June 27, 2014, and in Paris on September 9, is a cry of alarm about the crisis facing the European project and the dream behind it.

Lévy's latest book is Le Génie du Judaïsme (Grasset, February 2016). An English translation is planned.

Lévy gained renown for his documentary film about the Bosnian conflict, Bosna! (1994). After starting his career as a war reporter for Combat — the legendary newspaper founded by Albert Camus during the Nazi occupation of France — for which he covered the war between Pakistan and India over Bangladesh, Lévy was instrumental in the founding of the New Philosophers group. His 1977 book Barbarism with a Human Face launched an unprecedented controversy over the European left’s complicity with totalitarianism. Lévy’s cultural commentary, novels and journalism have continued to stir up such excitement that The Guardian noted he is ‘accorded the kind of adulation in France that most countries reserve for their rock stars.’

Lévy has undertaken several diplomatic missions for the French government. He was appointed by French President Jacques Chirac to head a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan in 2002 in the wake of the war against the Taliban, a war that Lévy supported. He has traveled to the world’s most troubled areas. He followed the trail of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan to research his ‘investigative novel’ Who Killed Daniel Pearl? (2003). His book War, Evil, and the End of History (2004) took him to the sites of what he calls the world's forgotten wars, from Colombia to Sri Lanka. His reportage and commentary from Israel during the 2006 Lebanon war appeared to wide acclaim, in among others, the New York Times Magazine. And after an extensive, clandestine visit to Darfur in 2007, he reported on the ethnic cleansing and genocide there for Le Monde and for The New Republic. His first-hand account of the fall of Moammar Gaddafi in Libya appeared in the form of a writer’s journal (La Guerre sans l’aimer, 2012) and a documentary film ("The Oath of Tobruk," which debuted at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival).

Entries by Bernard-Henri Lévy

Confusing Jihadism With Internationalism

(8) Comments | Posted February 12, 2016 | 9:34 AM

I return here to Jean Birnbaum's book, Un silence religieux (Seuil 2016), which I mentioned in passing in last week's column.

The book raises a thorny issue and advances debate by highlighting our systematic underestimation of the spiritual element when analyzing jihadism.

Birnbaum gets it right --...

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François Margolin's New Film Explores How Jihadists Are Made

(39) Comments | Posted February 5, 2016 | 9:26 AM

Salafists is causing a sensation in Paris. One of its makers is my friend François Margolin.

We got to know each other in the late 1990s when I was reporting from Ahmad Shah Massoud's base in Panjshir and Margolin was doing his first documentary about the Taliban, which had recently...

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On the Anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre: A State of Intellectual Emergency

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2016 | 8:59 AM

Paris, Sunday, January 10. A day of remembrance and mourning. The streets are quiet, but France's heart is heavy with thoughts of the victims of the shootings at Charlie Hebdo, the kosher market, and the Bataclan. As we grieve, we read three very strange statements.

The first is from...

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Standing up to Saudi Arabia

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2016 | 8:53 AM

PARIS -- Iran is no paragon of democracy.

And when its leaders denounce the "criminal workings" of the "vile" Saudi regime and its links to terrorism, the pot is calling the kettle black.

Yet what occurred this past weekend in Saudi Arabia is worrisome for several reasons.


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Topic: Jews, France, America, and Anti-Semitism

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2015 | 9:44 PM

On Thursday, December 17, I will speak at the 92nd Street Y on recent developments in anti-Semitism in France and elsewhere in the world. Some of what I will say is sketched out in a column that appeared earlier today in Vanity Fair reporting on my...

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The French Rally to the Republic

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2015 | 5:12 PM

PARIS - Before the second round of France's regional elections on Sunday, most predictions suggested that five, perhaps six, of the country's regional governments would fall into the hands of the National Front (FN). But the French people pulled themselves together and turned out to vote in much greater numbers...

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The Threat to Democratic France

(0) Comments | Posted December 7, 2015 | 9:37 PM

On Sunday, France's worst side won the first round.

It must not win the second.

This coming Sunday, will the Front National, a despicable party led by a nepotistic clique replete with ex-cons pining for the good old days of wedge politics, gain control of entire regions of the...

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Reflections on Europeanism, Radical Islam, the Muslims' Task and Slips of the Tongue

(45) Comments | Posted November 29, 2015 | 9:27 AM

Romain Gary's famous distinction between nationalism as hatred for others and patriotism as love for one's own no doubt applies to the prominent display of the French flag. But, by the same token, why not the flag of Europe as well? Has it become such a meaningless rag that no...

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War: Thinking the Unthinkable

(12) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 9:21 AM

So it's war.

A new kind of war. A war with and without borders, with and without states, a war doubly new because it blends the nonterritorial model of Al-Qaeda with the old territorial paradigm to which Daesh has returned.

But a war all the same.

And, faced with this...

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A Last Goodbye to André Glucksmann

(0) Comments | Posted November 14, 2015 | 1:40 PM

What is a philosopher thinking about when he decides, as André Glucksmann did, that he wishes to be cremated?

Resolute atheism?

Residual Platonism?

The uselessness of this body, of which nothing need remain?

Confidence in books, the philosopher's real tomb, the only one that counts, the only memorial worth...

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André Glucksmann: The Consummate Contemporary

(1) Comments | Posted November 11, 2015 | 9:26 AM

Editor's note: French philosopher, author, and activist André Glucksmann died on November 10 at age 78. With Bernard-Henri Lévy he was a founding member of the New Philosophers.

Swirling around my head since this morning are the many André Glucksmanns that I have known. Caroming, they send me into...

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Talking to Iran

(8) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 9:05 AM

On Monday, November 16, Iran's President Rouhani will pay a state visit to Paris.

On my mind that day will be the story of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a young woman whose sole crime was to have dreamt of love, for which--for dreaming--the predecessor of the current president condemned her...

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(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2015 | 7:27 PM


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Why Obama and Hollande Are Right on Syria

(72) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 11:49 AM

Forget principles and morality. Forget, or try to forget, the quarter-million deaths for which Bashar al-Assad is responsible, directly or indirectly, since choosing to respond with violence to a peaceful uprising of the Syrian people. Set aside the fact that Assad's forces have caused 10-15 times more civilian deaths thus...

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The New Moscowteers

(93) Comments | Posted October 28, 2015 | 3:58 PM

Across Europe, apologists for Russia and Russian policy have coalesced into what amounts to a fifth column. The emergence in Western capitals of what might be called the "Party of Putin" is an exceptionally dangerous development, precisely because those who comprise it are not only the usual far-left and far-right...

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لعبة روسيا الأوروبية في سوريا

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 2:42 PM

باريس. بات الأمر جليًا في سوريا: لا مجال هناك لحل جيدٌ.

لم يلُحْ أي حل جيد في أفق سوريا منذ تلك الجمعة السوداء في أغسطس/آب 2013 عندما قامت آلة حرب الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد باستخدام الأسلحة الكيميائية، متخطية بذلك "الخط الأحمر" الذي كان الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما قد...

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Russia's European Game in Syria

(42) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 10:03 AM

PARIS. This much is clear in Syria: There is no good solution.

There has not been a good solution since that black Wednesday in August 2013, when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's war machine, by using chemical weapons, crossed the "red line" that US President Barack Obama had warned would trigger...

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Who Will Succeed Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations?

(5) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 11:50 PM

New York. On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and the preparations for the 70th anniversary of the venerable institution, I encounter three people, all with the stature to succeed Ban Ki-moon in 2017.

Jean-Marie Guéhenno was a classmate of mine at Lycée Louis-le-Grand and the Ecole Normale Supérieure....

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With Poroshenko -- More than Ever

(15) Comments | Posted September 15, 2015 | 7:34 PM

Another meeting with Petro Poroshenko at the presidential palace in Kiev -- in the same office with the slightly kitschy decor in which he has received me on previous occasions.

He is under strain but unperturbed.

Wearing the same look of an alert fighter but this time with...

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The West's Twin Enemies: ISIS and Assad

(98) Comments | Posted September 9, 2015 | 10:00 AM

The decision announced Monday by French president François Hollande to conduct reconnaissance flights in support of strikes against the Islamic State within Syrian territory is a sensible one.

We cannot continue indefinitely to strike at jihadists in Iraq while stopping, absurdly, at the border of the neighboring state.


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