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Palestinian extremists and their supporters are not "leftists"

Reader comment on item: Extremists on Campus

Submitted by Robert Unger (United States), Jun 25, 2002 at 14:31

I regularly follow Daniel Pipes and generally find myself in agreement with what he has to say. Indeed, often I am inclined to stand up and cheer his remarks or writings. Normally, I find his positions to be well supported and his arguments to be cogent and convincing. However, I part company with Mr. Pipes when he describes Middle Eastern extremists and their supporters as "leftists" or "left-wing extremists."

Those who support or praise suicide bombers are not leftists. Those who ignore facts and mischaracterize Israel as a "terrorist state" or call Israelis "baby-killers" are not leftists. And those who claim Israel is engaging in genocide are not leftists. Indeed, those who support such politics are less than humane. They not only peddle in scurrilous propaganda based on monstrous falsehoods; even worse they seem to be driven by hate and have no qualms about murder.

Let there be no mistake. I agree with Mr. Pipes that those "professors" who do and say the things he reports have no business teaching classes in American universities, whether the courses they teach purport to be about Middle East history, poetry or some other academic subject. The reason, of course, is that universities should be places which advance both the free flow of ideas and the development of the truth, not places that foster hate or deliberately distort the truth for political aims -- particularly political aims which endorse murder.

It is important to me, however, that we not call these misguided miscreants "leftists." Though I generally find myself agreeing with much of what Mr. Pipes says, I must tell you that some of my good friends (who call themselves "conservatives") will characterize me as either a "liberal" or a "leftist." I am so characterized because I, for example, believe that women ought to be able to decide whether they wish to get an abortion. I am also opposed to capital punishment. And I favor most environmental protection laws. I could go on about my various political positions. But the point is, if these positions make me a "liberal" or a "leftist," I am proud to be a "liberal" or a "leftist." But never --NEVER -- let it be said that I support or am an apologist for any of the outrageous statements or conduct described by Mr. Pipes in this article. Whatever a "leftist" is, those who conduct themselves in the manner described in this article do not deserve to be called or associated with being a "leftist."

Thank you for this opportunity to let my voice be heard on this subject.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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