Jewish French philosopher gets pied in face in Belgrade
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Jewish French philosopher gets pied in face in Belgrade

Bernard-Henri Levy attacked by Serbian activists over his support for Muslims and opposition to Milosevic in 1990s

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy looks on during a forum against abstention in Paris, on May 5, 2017, two days ahead of the second round of the French presidential elections. (AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE LOPEZ)
French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy looks on during a forum against abstention in Paris, on May 5, 2017, two days ahead of the second round of the French presidential elections. (AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE LOPEZ)

A Serbian activist on Wednesday threw a pie in the face of Jewish French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy at a showing of his film “Peshmerga” in Belgrade.

The film about the Kurds’ battle against the Islamic State group was being shown at the Beldocs documentary festival in the city when Levy was ambushed by a member of the small communist group SKOJ, the state-run Tanjug news agency reported.

As Levy addressed the audience, the young man ran in front of him and threw the pie in his face. Two others, claiming to be members of the SKOJ, shouted: “Murderer, leave Belgrade!,” and an activist stepped out on stage with a banner asserting that philosopher advocated murder.

During the 1990s, Levy strongly criticized the siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo by Serb forces and was a powerful voice against the regime of the then Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

“This man was advocating the bombing of Yugoslavia eight years before NATO strikes” against Serbia in 1999, the activists told the audience.

Levy responded by telling the activists in French “long live democracy in Belgrade.”

Security guards escorted the SKOJ activists from the cinema.

Many Serbs reproach Levy for his support of Muslims during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war between its Croats, Muslims and Serbs which claimed around 100,000 lives.

The French Jewish philosopher has a long history of being targeted by pie-wielding critics.

Ambushed in Brussels in 1985 by Noel Godin, an eccentric comedian who has made a career out of throwing pies in celebrities’ faces, the French-Jewish philosopher knocked Godin down to the ground and, after cleaning the cream from his face, screamed about kicking him in the ribs in front of cameras.

This violent meltdown by Levy — who has cultivated a public image of a thinker and moral authority — exposed him to criticism that it showed his “real face.” But it has done little to deter similar attacks: Godin has pied Levy at least seven times since then – most recently in 2015 during a debate at the Saint-Loup church in Namur, Belgium.

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