The liberal left opts for terror

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For a century, intellectual debate on political violence has been dominated by efforts to romanticize the extremist and to invest him with the aura of the altruistic "freedom fighter" It is astonishing that in the post-9/11 era, the terrorist's image continues to remain habitually mystified and ennobled, while terror attacks are justified as self-defense. "Terrorist discourse" is indicative of the universality of the intellectual position of the Left with regard to terror, national discrepancies notwithstanding. The present article evaluates leftist liberals' attitudes towards terrorism in the 20th-century Russian Empire, Europe, the U.S., and especially Israel-one of the epicenters of terrorism today. The article proposes to examine psychological responses to terrorism in conjunction with a range of contemporary reactions to threats, acknowledged or displaced with an assortment of mental constructs and rationalizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-560
Number of pages11
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • "New historians"
  • Academic intellectuals
  • Constitutional democrats (kadets)
  • Leftist liberals
  • Modern terrorism
  • Russian state duma
  • Selfcondemnation
  • Stockholm syndrome
  • Zionism


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