Prominent Harvard law professor and liberal author Alan Dershowitz rebuked the hard-left militant movement Antifa on Tuesday, saying liberals need to avoid turning violent leftist factions into heroes.
“Do not glorify the violent people who are now tearing down the statues,” he said. “Many of these people, not all of them, many of these people are trying to tear down America.
“Antifa is a radical anti-American, anti-free market, communist, socialist, hard, hard left censorial organization that tries to stop speakers on campuses from speaking,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “They use violence. And just because they’re opposed to fascism and to some of these monuments shouldn’t make them heroes of the liberals.”
“I’m a liberal, and I think it’s the obligation of liberals to speak out against the hard left radicals just like it’s the obligation of conservatives to speak out against the extremism of the hard right,” he added.
Mr. Dershowitz acknowledged that while some historical monuments are better suited in museums, liberals should avoid becoming Stalinist in trying to erase or revise history.
“We have to use this as an educational moment,” he said. “We have to take some of the statues that were put up more recently, for example, during the Civil Rights Movement and perhaps move them to museums where they can be used to teach young students about how statues are intended sometimes for bad purposes, to glorify negatives and to hold back positive developments.”
“But the idea of willy-nilly going through and doing what Stalin did — just erasing history and re-writing it to serve current purposes — does pose a danger, and it poses a danger of educational malpractice, of missing opportunities to educate people, and of going too far,” he said.
Mr. Dershowitz argued that the movement against Confederate-era statues ignores other discriminated groups in America, like Jews, women, and the Japanese.
“Once you start rewriting history of African Americans in this country, you have to start rewriting history of discrimination against many, many other groups,” he said. “Look, we’re both a nation of immigrants and a nation of discrimination against immigrants. That’s an important history for us to remember.”
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