Enough!- Another Israeli-American Says No to Zionism

What will I tell my Jewish kids?

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On Oct. 6th I attended a fundraiser for the US Boat to Gaza “the Audacity of Hope” at Grace United Methodist Church of Logan Square. Featured speakers included colonel Ann Wright, who gave a first-hand account of her experiences as a participant on the Freedom Flotilla, Ali Abunimah, creator of the Electronic Intifada, and poet Kevin Coval who is also a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Coval performed a poem “What will I tell my Jewish Kids?” which I so wish I had recorded. In lieu of a video, I am attaching his poignant poem below.

what will i tell my jewish kids
after Dr. Margaret Burroughs

who may not really know they are.
whose parents eat BLTs in the country
club and practice capitalism on the Sabbath.
whose suburb began voting conservative
in the generation after civil rights
whose great-grand father survived the shoah
and whose grandfather suffers Islamophobia.

what will i say to my little nieces and nephews
who celebrate christ’s mass, who hunt for easter
eggs, who like mel gibson movies, who adore
the white wash and wonder bread on pesach.
what will i tell my little homies who run out of gym
class asking why their cocks are cut, what will i say
when the girls noses grow, hair frizzes, hips widen
when they don’t look a damn thing like barbie.

what do i tell the bar-mitzvah boys who end up studying
man’s law before G-d’s. what will they understand
of pigeonholes in a pidgin their tongue has no taste for.
i will them: we are middle men, liminal women, go betweens
seams in babylon, alephs holding the sky and earth
together, synthesizers of the sacred and profane

we are bankers. pagans and christians thought it devils work
and we wanted to survive, so we are hustlers, pawn brokers
slumlords. the white folk who lived near Black folk. of course
we got into the music business, the exploitation. we love
the blues, the melancholy melodies remind us of our own
Chazzan. our own sorrow and diaspora. we George Gershwin-ed.
we blackened up. we wronged our neighbors. we connect a country
on the always brink of civil war.

we are a bridge people. red sea parters. translators
between the warring. we see connections. the i in i
the i in thou. Buber taught us that or was it Haile Selassie
or Freud. and what was it Marx demanded, we live as Moses
bent and davening toward justice. a radical equity where everything is
sacred or nothing is. Einstein to unify the chaos.
Emma Goldman to arrange the pieces.

i will certainly tell my jewish kids
of Goodman and Schwerner who died
with their brother James Earl Chaney.
that for a time, we were freedom riders
along with others, we were central
in the movement. hated jim crow
ourselves, for a time in this country
we were the Others, now we are other
than our selves.

i will tell my jewish kids
we have long story. more than what is seen
now. we are a people who wander and wonder
who have a bag prepared in the corner. i will
tell them israel is not a jewish state. it is
an empire state, a state against people
and a state against G-d. a G-d that is
borderless and nationless, a G-d that is
certainly without drone missiles and air
raids. in a jewish state no tank stands
between people seeking water or medicine.
israel is a farce, the guilt of the western world.
a christian admission of the holocaust.
a watchdog over oil. a stepchild power mad.
a baby country raging against everything
i know to be jewish. i will tell them, help dis-
mantle israel. Zion is yet to be, it is in the struggle
of becoming. this is the truth. it will venerate us
it will exodus, the truth will set us, free!




Written by Keren Carmeli

October 11, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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