Progressive activist group Jews For Racial and Economic Justice are demanding an
Progressive activist group Jews For Racial and Economic Justice are demanding anGili Getz

Ilan Goodmanis a museum collections professional and exhibition curator. He also serves as a rabbi and educator. He made Aliyah to Israel in 2011 and lives with his wife and children in Beit Shemesh.

There are some books that stay with you long after you finish them. Books that stick with you over the years like old friends. Usually, these are the books that contain timeless lessons to teach us, with values and themes that transcend time and place. These rare books are just as relevant in the world today as they were when they were first written.

One such book is Don Quixote. Written in Spanish by Miguel de Cervantes, it was originally published in two parts, in 1605 and 1615. Today it is considered a founding work of Western literature and is often thought to be the first modern novel.

The story centers around the adventures of Alonso Quijano, a bored nobleman who seeks escape from his mundane life in tales of chivalric romances. Eventually, he becomes so enamored with the stories he reads, that he decides to live out the adventures for himself. Renaming himself Don Quixote de la Mancha, he decides to become a knight-errant and to recreate the great deeds that he has only read about.

He immediately runs into the problem that in the real world, there are no great deeds that need doing, no villains to smite, and no dragons in need of slaying. In his delusional state, he instead creates enemies to defeat where there are none. He attacks windmills thinking they’re rampaging giants, two Benedictine friars thinking they’re enchanters holding a damsel in distress, and herds of sheep thinking they’re two warring armies. In each encounter he not only fails to solve a problem, but his actions cause innocent people to suffer for his madness.

Unfortunately, it's a story we are seeing playing out all too clearly throughout the Western world. We see today an entire generation raised in upper-middle-class suburban comfort free from real external threats and faced with nothing more daunting than a negative post on social media.

Without any actual adversity to overcome, and faced with the crushing weight of bourgeoisie ennui, they seek out stimulation in the popular media of the day, Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and other popular properties. Here they can escape the mundane existence of their safe daily lives and enter worlds of epic battles, good vs. evil, and most importantly, inspiring heroes.

And the like epitomes hero of the novel, they too have become so enamored with these exciting worlds that they become desperate to escape their pampered and spoiled real lives. They too want to take up the mantle of hero and to right the wrongs they have only read about. Unfortunately, they run into the same problem as señor Quixote. The fantasies they read about are just that, fantasies. There is no Evil Empire, no "He Who Cannot Be Named" with an army of death eaters. No Capitol oppressing the districts of Panem.

Thus, like Don Quixote, they are forced to invent enemies where none exist. We are witnessing a generation that has never experienced real hardships convince itself that, just as in their favorite properties, they too live in a world full of dark phantasmagoria from which only they can deliver us.

Added to this is the fact that these are the grandchildren of the Greatest Generation. They grew up in the shadows of brave men and women who fought against one of the most indisputably evil forces in human history. How can you measure up against people who fought actual Nazis? By creating new Nazis out of thin air.

This is in no way a new phenomenon.

-We have seen it for years in the legions of social justice warriors combating oppression that never existed.

-We see it in DEI organizers who have to create enemies in order to have someone to rage against.

-We see it in the Antifa riots that burn down cities in the name of fighting “fascists”, a fascist being anyone they decide is one.

But nowhere is it more prevalent than in the anti-Israel movement. In raging protests in cities across the country, in hatred spewing forth from the halls of America’s universities, in the unprecedented spike in anti-Jewish violence across the country, it’s clear that the world’s oldest hatred has returned with a vengeance. Never rooted in logic to begin with, the current antisemitism has taken the form of claiming to fight against a dark malevolent foe, almost cartoonish in its attempts at villainy.

Indeed, listening to the claims of the anti-Israel movement is oftentimes like listening to someone describe the villain’s evil scheme in a movie. Israel is guilty of mass genocide. Israel is engaged in systematic ethical cleaning. Israel engages in the willful murder of innocent women and children. Israel is a dark apartheid pariah state.

All these accusations are so beyond reality, that they seem like works of fiction. And that’s because that is exactly what they are. Certainly, the tales they tell of Israel’s supposed guilt are as outlandish as Cervantes came up with.

Jews all over the world are living through a time where they must constantly justify themselves to the angry mob. They must defend themselves against such gross lies that what is at stake is not only their moral rightness but their right to even exist. The rights and standards that apply to every other group of people are here completely dismissed. Jews are not worthy of the same protection afforded to anyone else on earth. Instead, they are being shunned as pariahs and assaulted for their simply being alive. All this is allowed to go on because, in the minds of the mob, the Jews are so vile that any action against them is completely justified.

Only a complete break from reality could lead one to believe that a country that experienced babies being beheaded, women mass raped, entire families burned alive, all on a single day, a nation that still has its innocent babies and children held as hostages is somehow the bad guy.

Likewise, to any sane person, a terrorist force that launched a surprise invasion and committed some of the worst atrocities of the modern age, and then bragged about it on social media, would never be seen as heroes or freedom fighters.

It is preposterous to misjudge a situation so badly that one switches the victims and the perpetrators. Yet this is what we are witnessing on a global scale.

Israel, and in reality, Jews all over the world, have been transformed into the unwilling antagonists of a movement’s story. Like Fagin in Oliver Twist or Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Jews have been scapegoated into becoming the villains. But at least in the previous cases, the reader was aware that it was a work of fiction. In the current climate, fact and fantasy are interchangeable.

Then, just as it is up to the brave Man of La Mancha to stand against these tribulations, so too have Western youth cast themselves into the rule of savior. Inspired by the best pop culture has to offer, they too long to vanish evil. An entire generation has been brought up on a steady diet of the thematic trope of a battle between forces of powerful evil and weak good is now ready to fight back, no matter who they are actually fighting against.

We see it in the absolutist expression of their views. We see it in their black-and-white dichotomic understanding of the issues. Most of all, we see it in the fanatical zealotry with which they attack not only Israel but anyone else they perceive as their enemy. The crudeness of their belief sounds like something out of a young adult novel because it is based on just that. For the current generation, the reality about Israel has been replaced with whatever plot point is necessary to further their perceived storyline.

Make no mistake. These would-be knights fully believe what they’re saying. When they talk about such lofty objectives as “The liberation of all mankind”, it’s not just rhetoric. They legitimately believe that their vile actions against Israel will result in freedom, equality, decolonization, and most of all peace. Talk to any of these advocates and, while any rational person won’t believe them, you will believe that they believe.

The irony in the novel is that not only does Don Quixote never actually do any good, he actually ends up causing a great deal of harm. The parallel is all too clear with the events currently unfolding, which sees well-meaning but deluded do-gooders causing irreparable damage.

The fruits of their efforts are clear to anyone not willfully blind to them. We are witnessing a world where Jews in every country live in fear for their safety. Jewish students are told to hide their Jewishness. Leading universities refuse to condemn calls for their Jewish student’s genocide. Antisemitic sentiments have become socially acceptable.

Beyond these tangible results, these attacks have led to irreparable harm to the Jewish state at a time when it struggles for its very survival. Israel’s efforts, on which the lives of millions of innocents depend, are constantly thwarted on the international stage. Backing is instead given the genocidal murders which emboldens them and strengthens their efforts. The results are not merely theoretical. The money and influence given to these killers have led to very real deaths.

These erstwhile humanitarians would do well to read Don Quixote all the way through. the story ends with the knight near death, finally awakening from his insanity. As he dies, he renounces his previous aspirations and apologizes for the harm he has caused. He sees the truth, but too late to fix the damage he has done, and thus his ignoble end is to die in shame.

What will happen when these modern-day adventurers realize that in their desperate efforts to find evil to fight, they have become ended up supporting evil beyond anything they have read about?

Israel’s detractors have already made it clear that they refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence and empirical facts supporting the Jewish state. It’s clear that they cannot or will not admit to any real-world data. But if they are unable to learn from history, then they can hopefully learn from literature.