Israeli Keffiyeh
Israeli KeffiyehZionist Freedom Alliance

For months violent protests have spread across the American landscapes. College school grounds have become battlegrounds. Cities have erupted in violence against the Jews that until now considered themselves respected citizens.

Sadly, these misguided radicals fail to grasp a basic concept. That Zionism is inherently revolutionary. You simply can't claim to be progressive without being a Zionist. No other movement has ever incorporated the values and ideas of the 60’s so completely. It's a reality my father dedicated his entire life to.

My father, the late Doug Goodman ZT"L was the quintessential hippie. He spent most of his early adult life protesting whatever there was to be against. He was active in both the antiwar movement and the civil rights movement. He proudly objected to the Vietnam War, or to almost any war for that matter. If there was a sit-in or a demonstration, he was sure to be there. He would travel across the country to take part in a march, then come home and organize a protest of his own. This was a man whose proudest moment was being arrested on the steps of the White House for attempting the nonviolent overthrow of the US government.

He was also one of the biggest Zionists I have ever met. He would kiss the ground when he got off the plane at Ben Gurion. Until he died, he kept a bag of dirt from Jerusalem with him so that he’d always have a piece of his home. While not partially observant, his love for the Jewish state burned brightly and proudly. From my earliest childhood, he instilled in his children a love for Israel. Born in the shadow of the Holocaust, he knew the importance of Israel, and the dangers to the Jews if it didn’t exist.

My brother and I were taught from an early age to be proud to be part of the great experience of Israel’s rebirth. We grew up learning that not only was Israel’s existence a miracle, it was a miracle worth defending. Sadly, he taught us as well that there would also be bad people to defend it from. If at school, any teachers dared to make a disparaging remark, they would have an angry father in their office before the day was done. Looking back on my childhood, I see what pains he took to raise us to be Jews proud of who we are and where we came from.

To him being an activist was not incompatible with his Zionism. For my father, the one was the natural realization of the other. The goals of these movements were to promote the rights of all people, to promote peace and coexistence, and to end war and oppression. All these were realized in the Zionist idea.

The Jewish state was the culmination of a dream, a dream of freedom that he wanted to spread to others as well. Zionism was held up in our household as the model to aspire to, of what mankind was capable of achieving.

It's a sentiment in which he wasn’t alone. It’s not surprising that a good number of the leaders of the antiwar and civil rights movement were Jews. Nor is it surprising that so many leaders of the civil rights movement, such as Martin Luther King Jr. were ardent Zionists. Each side recognized in the other kindred spirits to the cause.

It’s no wonder that my father’s heroes were two Jews Abbie Hoffman, radical activist and co-founded the Youth International Party ("Yippies") and David Ben-Gurion, primary national founder of the State of Israel and its first prime minister. While these two had very different causes, and very different methods of achieving their goal. They were united in what they were trying to accomplish, a better and more peaceful world.

He even supported Israel as one of the rare cases where war was justified. While he hated violence, he also recognized that the Jewish people were acting in self-defense. He was a pacifist with himself but felt that to defend others, fighting was not only just, but necessary. He saw the difference between fighting to end lives and fighting to save them.

My father died before October 7th. In many ways I’m glad. The memories of the Holocaust left deep scars in his soul, and I am thankful that he didn’t live to see its brutality repeated, especially that he didn’t have to see his beloved grandchildren experience the horrors he prayed would never happen again.

I’m just as thankful that he was not alive on October 8th or any of the days following. Thankful that he didn’t live to see his beloved revolutionary ideas corrupted and distorted beyond recognition. Thankfully he didn’t have to witness everything he held dear to him turned into a weapon against the nation that he loved even more strongly. My father would have been horrified to see what these protesters have become.

The antisemitic protesters that have taken over college campuses in recent weeks, like the protests raging in cities across the world, like to see themselves as the natural heirs to the original protest movements. But my father would be the first to say that the two are nothing alike. He would have been brokenhearted to see the current protests. Not just because they are attacking Zionism, but because in doing so they are advocating beliefs he spent his entire lifetime fighting against.

He dedicated his life working towards the equality and rights of all people, especially those most vulnerable.

He worked for freedom from oppression, and the abolition of war.

He fought for an end to hatred and for universal peace.

He dreamed of a world of inclusion, free from prejudice and intolerance of others.

He advocated defying authority and fighting unjust powers.

If the protesters really understood what Zionism was, they would be on the front lines, ready to defend it.

He and his generation would want nothing to do with these radicals. A movement that fought for an end to the conflict would never condone supporting terror organizations whose very existence is based on violence. Today's rioters might see themselves as the next link in a proud tradition. But in fact, their actions have undone everything the previous generations fought to accomplish.

My father would be furious to see the values he held so dear twisted into something that represents everything he fought against. He would not recognize the protests of today and certainly would never support them. Were he alive today, he would be on the front lines fighting these Israel haters and everything that they stand for. As a revolutionary, he would feel he could do no less.

He would be particularly horrified to see so many Jews siding with their enemies. Already before the war, he had looked with shock at Jews who were antizionist. He could not understand how Jews could support the very people who wanted them dead. To him, they were modern-day kapos. He used to tell me that he couldn’t understand how young Jews could be so lost or separated from their history. I recall that he confided to me that he could not figure out where we as a community went wrong that our own children had turned out like this.

He would not be alone in his sentiments. An old school radical I know, the embodiment of counterculture, recently lamented that “I have always just voted for the most progressive candidate. But I can no longer do this. They may be swept up in this antisemitic, blind rage toward Israel and the Jew hate that is visible, or hidden. My best allies have disappeared.”

Thankfully, there are many who agree with her. These are the founders of the original movements who will not let their works be usurped for hate. Just as they once fought to spread their message, people like my father now must fight to take back that which has been co-opted. Countless old revolutionaries, both Jewish and gentile, those who championed these ideas, or once fought for them are speaking up and telling these protestors loudly and clearly, “Not in our names.”

Openly rejecting them most likely won’t cause most of these misguided youths to change their ways. It's doubtful that the modern-day college protesters have the self-awareness to realize how far they’ve strayed from the ideas they claim to expound. But it means that they’ll no longer be able to use history to legitimize their vile positions.

I know what side my father, the proud 60’s radical would be. And were he alive, I know who he would be standing alongside with. While he would have been shocked to see his message so perverted and disgusted and ashamed to see so many Jews joining the side of the modern-day fascists, he would also have been immensely gratified to see so many Jews standing strong.

It’s these Jews, the ones fighting back on college campuses, organizing counter-protests in the streets, and showing the world that they are proud Zionists, who are heirs to the best of the 60’s revolutionary movement. And my father would look at these brave Israel-loving Jews and know that his legacy is in good hands.

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.