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“The Genius of Judaism” by Bernard-Henri Lévy

Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French philosopher, journalist, activist and filmmaker. Among his dozens of books are American Vertigo, Barbarism with a Human Face, and Who Killed Daniel Pearl ? His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications throughout Europe and the United States. His films include the documentaries Bosna! and A Day in the Death of Sarajevo. Lévy is co-founder of the anti-racist group SOS Racism and has served on diplomatic missions for the French government.

Lévy’s most passionate book, and in many ways his most personal, The Genius of Judaism offers a new vision of what it means to be a Jew. It is rooted in the Talmudic traditions of argument and conflict. At the very heart of the matter is an obligation to the other, to the dispossessed, and to the forgotten, an obligation that, as Lévy vividly recounts, he has sought to embody over decades of championing “lost causes,” from Bosnia to Africa’s forgotten wars, from Libya to the Kurdish Peshmerga’s desperate fight against the Islamic State.

Lévy offers a critique of a new and stealthy form of anti-Semitism on the rise as well as a provocative defense of Israel. He reveals the overlooked Jewish roots of Western democratic ideals and confronts the current Islamist threat while intellectually dismantling it. Jews are not a “chosen people,” Lévy explains, but a “treasure” whose spirit must continue to inform moral thinking and courage today.