A Daring Investigation into Evil: The End of History – Reflections on World Events (2004)
Bernard-Henri Lévy (French: [bɛʁnaʁ ɑ̃ʁi levi]; born 5 November 1948) is a French public intellectual, media personality, and author.
Often referred to in France simply as BHL, he was one of the leaders of the “Nouveaux Philosophes” (New Philosophers) movement in 1976. In 2010, The Jerusalem Post named Lévy 45th on a list of the world’s 50 most influential Jews. The Boston Globe has said that he is “perhaps the most prominent intellectual in France today.”
Lévy directed the widely panned 1997 romance film Day and Night. It is considered by critics the worst film of 1997 along with Batman & Robin. The movie received a 3.5 million francs public subsidy through the Commission des avances sur recettes, which at the time was chaired by Lévy.
In 2007, Italian conceptual artist, Francesco Vezzoli, created two commercials for an imaginary U.S. presidential campaign, in which he had actress Sharon Stone running against Bernard-Henri Lévy. His project entitled Democrazy, was shown at the 2007 Venice Biennale.
In September 2008, Lévy toured the United States to promote his book Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism.
In 2006, Lévy joined the British debate over Muslim women’s veils by suggesting to The Jewish Chronicle that wearing a veil had the effect of dehumanizing the wearer by hiding her face – and said, alluding to a passage by Emmanuel Levinas, that “the veil is an invitation to rape.”
On 24 June 2009, Lévy posted a video on Dailymotion in support of the Iranian protesters who were being repressed after the contested elections.
He is a member of the Selection Committee of the Editions Grasset, and he runs the La Règle du Jeu (“The Rule of the Game”) magazine. He writes a weekly column in the magazine Le Point and chairs the Conseil de Surveillance of La Sept-Arte.
Through the 2000s, Lévy argued that the world must pay more attention to the crisis in Darfur. In Left in Dark Times, he argued that the Darfur genocide was not a palatable issue for modern leftists because it did not provide a platform for the anti-American views with which he says leftist thought has become suffused.
In January 2010, he publicly defended Popes Pius XII and Benedict XVI against political attacks directed against them from within the Jewish community.
At the opening of the “Democracy and its Challenges” conference in Tel Aviv (May 2010) Lévy gave a very high estimation of the Israel Defense Forces, saying “I have never seen such a democratic army, which asks itself so many moral questions. There is something unusually vital about Israeli democracy.”
Lévy has reported from troubled zones during wartime, to attract public opinion, in France and abroad, over those political changes. In August 2008, Lévy reported from South Ossetia, Georgia, during the 2008 South Ossetia war; on that occasion he interviewed the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili.
In March 2011, he engaged in talks with Libyan rebels in Benghazi, and publicly promoted the international acknowledgement of the recently formed National Transitional Council. Later that month, worried about the 2011 Libyan civil war, he prompted and then supported Nicolas Sarkozy’s seeking to persuade Washington, and ultimately the United Nations, to intervene in Libya to prevent a massacre in Benghazi.
In May 2011, Lévy defended IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn when Kahn was accused of sexually assaulting a chambermaid in New York City. Lévy questioned the credibility of the charges against Strauss-Kahn, asking The Daily Beast, “how a chambermaid could have walked in alone, contrary to the habitual practice of most of New York’s grand hotels of sending a ‘cleaning brigade’ of two people, into the room of one of the most closely watched figures on the planet.”
In May 2011, Lévy argued for military intervention in Syria against Bashar al-Assad after violence against civilians in response to the 2011 Syrian uprising. He repeated his position in a letter to the Weekly Standard in August 2013.
On 9 November 2011, his book, La guerre sans l’aimer, which tells the story of his Libyan spring, was published.
In April 2013, he was convicted by a French court for libelling journalist Bernard Cassen.
Lévy curated a major art exhibition in 2013 entitled Adventures of truth – Painting and philosophy: a narrative at the Maeght Foundation.
He criticized international community for their acts during the Bosnia genocide.
Levy was in Kiev Ukraine during the Maidan Revolution in February 2014, actively promoting that.
In February 2015, he performed his play Hotel Europa at the Kiev opera house on the first anniversary of the Euromaidan’s toppling of the pro-Russian government of Victor Yanukovich.