Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

64% of French Against Syrian Intervention, as Bernard Henri Lévy Regrets “English” Decision not to Take Part

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BHL: Now the French Reject His Call for Syrian Intervention.

“The French are overwhelmingly hostile to their country’s  participation in a military intervention (64%) against Bashar al-Assad.” according to the latest opinion poll by Le Parisen 30.8.13.

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.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 31, 2013 at 11:29 am

8 Responses

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  1. Hey I’m French, and in any cultural sphere that I know I can tell you this guy is considered as a buffoon, an unbelievable one, a summit of “ridicule” .

    phildange

    August 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm

  2. Phil, I am well aware of that!

    Hell, I even have a copy of L’Idéologie française (which is why I mentioned it).

    I was restraining myself, with enormous self-control, from saying that BHL is “La risée du monde” – a laughing stock.

    Unfortunately the British telly, and some British commentators (like Nick Cohen), seem to think otherwise.

    Andrew Coates

    August 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm

  3. Jean-Baptiste Botul was a hoax created in his free time by a journalist of the ” Canard Enchaîné”, this unique in the world free weekly newspaper . When this unreal BHL quoted “Botul’s book”, named ” La vie sexuelle d’Emmanuel Kant” in his own warmonger book ” About war in philosophia”, every Frenchman able to read bursted in laughter . You couldn’t find better in a movie .

    phildange

    August 31, 2013 at 7:54 pm

  4. I’ve had always the impression that BHL (who was frequently interviewed in the German media during the 80ies and 90ies) lives in his own bubble, e.g. I remember him stating in an interview about the 2nd round of the presidential elections 1995 between Chirac and Jospin that Chechnya was the decisive factor for the French voter

    entdinglichung

    September 2, 2013 at 12:57 pm

  5. Yes after so much cheating it seems that he maybe lost his connection with the real world . His abysmal movie “Day and night” featuring his also psychopatic wife Arielle Dombasle, then his incredible military self-glory themed film about “his” war on Lybia in 2012 may trigger legitimates doubts upon the respective levels of permanent lying and actual madness in his case . But why on earth do TVs invite him ? Is it to make fun of the guy? Of the French ? Thank you very much ! No wonder he can think he’s a moral and intellectual authority . Admit one can wonder …

    phildange

    September 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm

  6. why he is qualified to speak on TV: he is fluent in German and English and a former leftist who attacks his old comrades

    entdinglichung

    September 2, 2013 at 3:49 pm

  7. Bernard Henri Lévy was only very briefly a leftist.

    His book on Bangladesh (Bangla-Desh, Nationalisme dans la révolution, 1973.) is the sole witness of that period. One of the slenderer Maspero publications it is not translated into English.

    La barbarie à visage humain, 1977. made his name, neither original (for an English speaking reader) nor well-written, it is standard anti-totalitarian stuff, though some of the passion is well-directed. Le testament de Dieu, 1978. is more of a ‘roman fleuve’ than philosphy, a claim that the ‘Law’ of God is the basis of human rights, a kind of second-rate Dostoevsky.

    I have read some of the more recent efforts, light to say the least.

    Enty his English is not good, not good at all – fluent only in the sense of non-stoppable.

    If English had cases like German, or conjugations, like French, or simply grammatical gender, he would be making obvious errors in every sentence.

    As it is his main faults are about average for a graduate of the Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau Institute of Elocution.

    Andrew Coates

    September 2, 2013 at 4:07 pm

  8. He was into “Maoïsm” after 68 . Like every one of these “Maos” he later divulged what he was, simply a right-winger, son of a very rich family, and very rich himself .
    (About those Maos, just look at Denis Kessler, once a Mao then later n°2 of the patronat organization CNPF/MEDEF, or Alain Geismar, once a Mao then later first assistant of Claude Allègre, the ‘Socialist” minister who wanted everything that Brussels and Washington want.)
    So no, BHL has never been a leftist, or in the caricatural form of which Lenin negatived in “Left-Wing” Communism, an infantile disorder” . Or rather, BHL has been a leftist as much as he is a philosopher and a scrupulous reporter and historian . And a brilliant film-maker .

    phildange

    September 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm


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