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Why I Defend Bernard-Henri Levy and The Huffington Post

Posted on June 9 2010 11:00 am
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One of the reoccurring themes in anti-Semitic rhetoric is the idea that the Jews behave as a monolithic body to reach their alleged perverted ends. By treating the Jews as a united organization, one is then able to justify any injustice against individual Jews. This is because, according to this mindset, there are no individual Jews, some of whom are good and others bad. There are only members of the monolithic group of evil Jews.

The objectification of individuals is not just employed by radical anti-Semites. It is a nasty and irrational aspect of the human condition. Ask anyone from Brooklyn what he thinks of people from New Jersey, or anyone from Ann Arbor what they think of people from Detroit. You will likely not hear a well reasoned lists of the attributes of people from Jersey or Detroit.

This all too natural objectification of our opponents is also embedded in our politics. Often, entire debates that could be easily solved, or at least ameliorated, are lost because those engaged in them do not seek the truth or the common good, but rather seek merely to defeat those on the other side. This poorer aspect of humanity has so degraded the public discourse that one is almost surprised to find someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum capable of making honest debate.

But sometimes one sees a ray of hope in the discourse and finds someone willing to buck the pressure and state the truth. This is the case with Bernard-Henri Levy. In his June 8th article with the Huffington Post entitled “Why I Defend Israel“, Levy lays out in simple philosophical clarity why it is wrong to place Israel’s behavior on the same level as Hamas’. He demonstrates the media’s slant on this story when he writes:

The catch-phrase trotted out ad nauseum, of the blockade imposed “by Israel,” when the most elementary honesty requires one to make it clear that it has been undertaken by Israel and by Egypt, conjointly, on both borders of the two countries that share frontiers with Gaza, and this with the thinly-disguised blessing of all the moderate Arab regimes, can only be described as disinformation. The latter, of course, are only too happy to see someone else contain the influence of this armed extension, this advanced base and, perhaps one day, this aircraft-carrier of Iran in the region.

Levy lays out the truth that the people of Gaza are not dying and that Israel is not exterminating them. Levy states:

The very idea of a “total and merciless” blockade (Laurent Joffrin’s editorial in the June 5th edition of the French daily, Liberation) “Taking hostage, the humanity [of Gaza] in danger” (former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in Le Monde, of the same date) constitutes disinformation. We mustn’t tire of reminding others the blockade concerns only arms and the material necessary to manufacture them. It does not prevent the daily arrival, via Israel, of between a hundred and a hundred and twenty trucks laden with foodstuffs, medical supplies, and humanitarian goods of every kind; humanity is not “in danger” in Gaza, and it is a lie to state that people are “dying of hunger” in the streets of Gaza City.

Levy crowns his clear-sighted exposition of the events in Gaza by making the distinction between the Islamofascist regime in Gaza and the individuals under their control. Levy explains:

It is debatable whether a military blockade is the right option to weaken and, one day, bring down the fascislamist government of Ismaïl Haniyeh or not. But the fact that Israelis who cover the checkpoints between the territories night and day are the first to make the elementary but essential distinction between the regime (that they seek to isolate) and the population (that they are careful not to confuse with the regime, even less to penalize them since, once again, aid has never stopped passing into Gaza) is indisputable.

Levy’s ability to distinguish between the radical Islamists in Gaza from those they rule is part of the same intellectual mechanism that conservatives must try to acquire. There are real utopian progressives, and many write for the Huffington Post. But when a writer at the Huffington Post stands for truth when it is less than fashionable to do so, then we must take notice.

Good job Bernard-Henri Levy!

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