Jewish 100, 2014: Bernard-Henri Levy – Voices
With his shock of black hair, and his trademark open-necked white shirt, Bernard-Henri Levy is perhaps the only French intellectual that Americans can recognize from a photograph. Now in his 67th year, Levy – or “BHL,” as he is known by his admirers – remains one of Europe’s most prominent advocates of the cause of freedom and an open society. On the topic of rising antisemitism in France and around the world, BHL has not held back from describing what he regards as a grave danger to the foundations of western civilization. As the keynote speaker at the UN General Assembly’s special meeting on antisemitism in January, BHL denounced the “delirium of anti-Zionism” from the very same podium where, in 1975, the infamous resolution equating Zionism with racism was launched. “Even if the Palestinians had a state, as is their right – even then, alas, this enigmatic and old hatred would not dissipate one iota,” he told an audience of stunned diplomats.