WSJ denies sending Bernard-Henri Levy to Libya

The Wall Street Journal denies sending famed French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy to Libya
2 min read
28 July, 2020
French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy claimed his controversial trip to Libya was for a The Wall Street Journal report.
Levy tweeted his Libya report would instead be published in French magazine Paris Match [Getty]
The Wall Street Journal did not send French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy on a reporting mission to Libya, the daily told The New Arab on Tuesday, contrary to a claim by the writer about his controversial visit to the North African country.

Levy flew into the Libya's third city of Misrata in a private jet on Saturday, and said he planned to visit Tarhuna, a town where government forces uncovered a mass grave thought to contain the bodies of civilians executed by Khalifa Haftar loyalists.

The French writer told pro-government television channel Libya Al-Ahrar that he had travelled to the country as a journalist to write a piece for The Wall Street Journal.

A Wall Street Journal spokesperson, however, told The New Arab via email that the newspaper did not commission a Libya field report from Levy.

Also on Tuesday, Levy tweeted that his Libya report would instead be published in French magazine Paris Match on Thursday.

"You will read: 1 my pride of having returned to #Misrata; 2 my shame for the horde of antisemites who shot at my convoy; 3 how I did, until the end, my work as a writer," he tweeted.

Armed groups loyal to the Libyan government said they had prevented Levy, who is Jewish, from entering Tarhuna Saturday.

A video surfaced on Saturday showing a group of Libyan men in fatigues angrily protesting against the writer's arrival to Tarhuna.

One man could be heard referring to Levy as a "Jewish dog", with gunshots in the background.

But in tweets accompanying photographs of himself flanked by masked gunmen in military uniforms, the French celebrity philosopher said he had visited the "killing field" in Tarhuna where 47 people, including children, had "suffered martyrdom from pro-Haftar proxies".

"Just after my reportage on the killing fields. These are the true Libyan police who protect free press. So different from the thugs who tried to block my convoy on my way back to Misrata," he wrote in a caption.

A programme published by Libyan media revealed that Levy planned to visit the capital Tripoli on Sunday for talks with Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.

But the office of Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj denied "any connection" to Levy's visit and said it had opened an inquiry to establish how he had visited the country and would take "deterrent measures" against its organisers.

Although Levy enjoys celebrity status in France, he is unpopular in the Arab world due to his staunch support for Israel.

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