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Reagan; PLO is a Terrorist Outfit Not Commandos or Freedom Fighters

October 15, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In a bid for Jewish votes, Republican Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan branded the Palestine Liberation Organization “terrorists” and said President Carter refused to do it. “I have no hesitation in doing so,” Reagan told a meeting of some 1200 Jews here.

“We live in a world in which a band of thugs clever enough to get the word liberation into its name can thereupon murder school children and have it be considered glamorous and glorious, ” Reagan said. “Terrorists are not guerrillas or commandos or freedom fighters or anything other than terrorists.”

The GOP candidate also said, “As an ally of the United States, Israel must have the means to remain strong. Israel needs a friend in the White House, the kind of leadership that will give our nation a strategy of economic growth and progress. I would like to provide that friendship and that leadership.”

Reagan also deplored the recent anti-Semitic violence in France. “I would think it would be a responsibility of a government such as ours to speak out forcefully in the world and say there is no room for that. That must not be permitted to happen in the world again.”


This statement by Reagan drew an angry response from Vice President Walter Mondale today who demanded that the Republican candidate apologize for saying that Carter failed to condemn anti-Jewish terrorism in France. The Vice President entered the White House press room and described Reagan’s remarks as totally false “and “outrageous.”

Mandate noted that the President has frequently spoken against terrorism, including yesterday when he appeared at the Forest Hills Jewish Community Center in Queens, New York. “Terrorism is a crime against decency and humanity whether it occurs on the streets of Paris or the streets of Jerusalem, whether those responsible are neo-Nazis or members of the PLO, ” the President said yesterday. The United States “door not deal with organizations which attempt to accomplish their objectives by means at terrorism,” Carter added.

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