Entry 29: What do you do/if you are a Jew

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tillemEntry 29 in the Mondo Awards end-of-year Inspire-us contest was read aloud by the author (left) at the celebration of International Day of Peace on September 21, 2010 at the Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas (photo by Nathan Patrick). 

What do you do

if you are a Jew

who doesn’t believe in a Jewish state

A Christian state, nor a Muslim state,

not even a Buddhist or Hindu state.

Zionism says what you must support

is a nationalist scheme of the colonial sort


What do you do

if you are a Jew

who thinks about the Palestinians.

In the West Bank and Gaza they are occupied

In Israel proper – second class citizens.


What do you do if you are Jew

who thinks Zionism is a trap

set by those who should be taking the rap

Europe and the US refused Jews a haven

and used them then in a craven manner

against the Arab liberation banner

What do you do if you are Jew

who is proud of our history,

Tragic yes, but glorious too.

Before the Holocaust only a few liked Zionism.

We were a lot more interested in socialism.

What did Hitler hate about the Jews?

I will tell you, I hope this is not news:

We were people that could see clearly

that prejudice and exclusion cost a society dearly.

So now we have Israel, which we are supposed to love,

but it meant giving the Palestinians a terrible shove


The US pays three billion a year

To keep up a policy that costs us dear.

Some say aid to Egypt is just as big,

but listen to me and then dig:

that is our bribe to keep them on the side

Of our client Israel and its politicide.


What do you do

if you are a Jew

whose ancestors came from Poland and Russia?

When you say Israel is my homeland

I want to shush ya.


I’m 65

born in 45

This is the only time I can make that rhyme.

I graduated college in 67

I don’t believe in God and I don’t believe in heaven

But I used to be proud

of my Jewish background

Not much of a Jew you might say

But I just buried my Dad in the Jewish way


If you speak out loud you’re called a self-hater

I think I’m just a good cogitator.

I was taught to tell the truth

So I am speaking to the youth

Mine’s a story you never hear

But I am not the only one.

John Lennon was a hero of mine

and I think you can guess which tune I mean

Let’s imagine no countries

and wash our bloody histories clean.


What do you do

if you are a Jew

whose sympathies lie with Palestinians

and those Israeli humanitarians

They are marching now

So tell me how

it makes sense to beat them,

jail them and send them into exile

It does no good to keep up the denial


This policy was born in the colonial mind

And now we are caught in a logical bind.

If we want to be fair

Then the answer is share

Two peoples – one fate

I hope it’s not too late.

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