Martin Sherman, jpost.com
Lévy image from article
"Bernard- Henri Lévy is precisely the kind of target that Israeli public diplomacy efforts should be focused on – far more so than any incumbent politician, especially outside the USA."
You fight against jihad, yes. But do you have to add to the fight against jihad the fight with the whole Palestinians people? I don’t think so… There are a lot of moderates among the Palestinian people – there are still… some people who really want a state and to build a life in this state… It has been a big mistake not to give that a chance… and will be an increasing mistake not to give it in the future… When you have a just war to wage which is a war against Islamism, jihadism, it is not a reason to wage an unjust war at the same time. It is absurd.
– Bernard-Henri Lévy, December 2015
Last week, Israeli Educational Television aired an interview with the internationally renowned French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy by the well-known Kobi Meidan, on the much-acclaimed program Hotzei Yisrael (Across Israel – available on YouTube).
It turned out to be an unremarkable media event, with little to elevate it above the staple stereotype slogans we have become accustomed to in the mainstream discourse on Islam and Israel in recent decades.An anomalous choice of topic?
I am reasonably sure that a fair number of readers – especially those on the western shores of the Atlantic – will raise a dubious eyebrow at my choice of topic and my decision to devote an entire column to a European intellectual of no official capacity or executive position with direct policy-making impact.
Indeed, the choice might seem particularly anomalous as the past week provided several more newsworthy topics such as: Secretary of State John Kerry’s petulantly puerile interview in The New Yorker, blaming Israel for the impasse in the “peace process”; the outrageous allegations of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his speech in Jakarta, rationalizing Palestinian terrorism against Jews; and Mahmoud Abbas’s contemptible rant in Ramallah, attempting to justify the recent spate of Judeocidal frenzy by Palestinian “lone wolves.”
But such skepticism would be misplaced. For Bernard- Henri Lévy is precisely the kind of target that Israeli public diplomacy efforts should be focused on – far more so than any incumbent politician, especially outside the USA.
After all, it is unelected “intellectual elites” who have definitive impact in determining the substance and style of the international discourse on the Arab-Israel conflict. ...
[W]hatever its origins, his influence and the high profile/ coverage his pronouncements and writings generate cannot be disputed.
Accordingly, when these relate to Israel, they should be taken note of, and responded to appropriately.Specious solidarity?
To be sure, unlike many left-leaning European intellectuals, BHL is not a visceral critic of Israel. On the contrary, he had authored several articles decidedly favorable toward Israel, in general, and the IDF, in particular.
But it is perhaps precisely because of his stoutly supportive sentiment that his well-intentioned but ill-founded criticisms of Israeli policy, particularly regarding the “Palestinian” issue, are, potentially more detrimental. ...