64% of French Against Syrian Intervention, as Bernard Henri Lévy Regrets “English” Decision not to Take Part
BHL: Now the French Reject His Call for Syrian Intervention.
Bernard Henri Lévy (BHL) presented as somebody with influence on French international politics, was paraded round the British media yesterday.
BHL is in favour of an intervention in Syria.
Earlier this month he launched an appeal, with Alain Juppé, (former Chirac Prime Minister, convicted in 2004, of abuse of public funds, back in office as a Minister in 2007, and accused by the Rwandan government of complicity in the genocide in that country) and Bernard Kouchner (another Sarkozy former Foreign Minister, and humanitarian itnerventionsit) .
Lévy’s only specific proposal was for the creation of a “No Fly Zone”
First he was on Channel Four News. “French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy tells Channel 4 News that those who believe the UK has always been on “the good side of freedom” were saddened by the British decision not to attack Syria.” (Channel Four News).
Later, on Newsnight he announced, “For the first time in my life I don’t admire England tonight.”
Let us cast aside the unworthy suggestion that Lévy, with his strangulated efforts to speak English, and his intense self-regard, was paraded in an attempt to discredit supporters of humanitarian intervention in Syria.
It was, nevertheless, the case that he managed to rankle a hefty part of his audience by referring, more than once, to “England”, as if Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland did not exist.
Lévy also deftly annoyed those of us – numerous – who are suspicious of anybody who goes on, and indeed, on, about how much they love and admire our country.
As far as I am aware Lévy’s connection with Britain extends little beyond his visits to the (former) Paris ‘Pub’, Le Twickenham.
His efforts to persuade French President Sarkozy to back the no-fly zone in Libya were no doubt of great importance, not least in his own mind.
There are very long sections in the French version of the Wikipedia entry on Lévy, listing all the good things people think of him.
They undermine his credentials as a philosopher, a commentator, and as a politically engaged intellectual.
Criticisms include an inability get facts right (names of towns, in his book on Daniel Pearl) his distorted account of French anti-Semitism in L’idéologie française (roundly criticised by no less than Raymond Aron), the way he cited a fictitious philosopher, Jean-Baptiste Botul and the La Vie sexuelle d’Emmanuel Kant in his critique of the German philosopher…..one could continue for a long time.
In 1985, Bernard-Henri Lévy, with others, launched a petition to Ronald Reagan top keep backing the Contras in Nicaragua.
He was also known for his backing for the Afghanistan Mujahideen “Comander Massoud.” – assassinated by the Taliban.
Massoud was a complex figure, and it would be wrong to try to make an instant judgement about him.
But many suspect that hero-worship is not a good position to take about anybody involved in the wars in Afghanistan.
The French writer was prepared to take sides come what may.
Yet it is exactly this kind of simple moral choice that Lévy is presenting to us about Syria: you are for us, or against us.
This will not wash, and has not washed, with the British Parliament – or, it seems, with the French public.