Lévy says today we are ‘paying the price for not getting Ukraine into NATO’

16 February, 01:27 PM
Lévy participated in the discussion on KJF (Photo:JB Autissier / Panoramic via Reuters)

Lévy participated in the discussion on KJF (Photo:JB Autissier / Panoramic via Reuters)

If the West had not spurned Ukraine’s bids to join NATO, the current war could not have happened, famed French philosopher, author and filmmaker Bernard-Henri Lévy said during the “Ukraine as the Israel of Europe” panel at the Kyiv Jewish Forum on Feb. 12.

Levy said the arguments that were used against agreeing to Ukraine's accession to NATO were wrong.

"I believe that it is exactly due to the fact that we did not allow Ukraine to join NATO the worst happened – we faced an all-out war in the heart of Europe,” Lévy said.

“It would have been a wise decision to start the process of Ukraine's admission to the EU and NATO from the very beginning. And today we are paying the price for that, and Ukraine is paying the highest price."

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Levy also said he believes Ukraine is already de-facto a NATO member, but "not because the allies are defending Ukraine under Article 5 of the (NATO) Charter, but because Ukraine is defending the West."

He added that Ukrainians are talking about European integration just as they did in 2014.

"Ukrainians have already said: ‘We are Europeans.’ They have already died with the EU flag in their hands,” Lévy said.

“The only difference between then and now is that we did not listen to them then. And now we have to accelerate and make up for the lost time.”

The first Kyiv Jewish Forum took place in 2019. It was initiated by the President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and Vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, Boris Lozhkin. The forum is now an annual event that is usually attended by the Ukrainian and Israeli presidents, along with parliamentarians and senior officials – including ones from the United States.

KJF-2023 is mainly being held in Washington DC. It is dedicated to the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, under the slogan “Stand with Ukraine.”

KJF is held in cooperation with the Tablet, the world's leading Jewish mediaoutlet. NV is a media partner of the event.

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