Home » Poetry » Stop Apologizing to the Jews! (A Poem for the Mennonites)

Stop Apologizing to the Jews! (A Poem for the Mennonites)

A nun surveys damage following an arson attack by a Jewish Israeli carried out in 2015 at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in northern Israel.

A few days ago I put up a post about the resolution adopted by the Mennonite Church at its convention in Orlando, Florida earlier this month. I noted that the resolution calls for church divestment from corporations which profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestine, for which I duly praised the Mennonites.

Yet I noted as well that the resolution, in its wording, also contains a great deal of what I described as “self-flagellation” on the part of the Mennonites over supposed Christian anti-Semitism, with church members blaming themselves and fellow Christians for “the Inquisition, pogroms, and the atrocities of the Holocaust” as well as “ignoring the gravity of ongoing antisemitism” today. As I commented, “There has been more than enough ‘confessing and repenting’ for alleged Christian anti-Semitism.” It has been going on for God knows how many years, and it has reached the point of absurdity. Time to put an end to it.

All of this got me to thinking about a poem I once wrote entitled “We Are Closing Our Apologies,” which sort of neatly expresses my views on this whole issue of Christians endlessly wringing their hands and seeking Jewish absolution for alleged anti-Semitism. This is the poem you see below. I actually wrote it about five years ago, but I thought it time to dust it off and re-post it in light of the resolution passed in Orlando.

***

We Are Closing Our Apologies

A locked and boarded department store
A bakery that is no more—
This is how, it seems to me,
Christians close their apologies.
An end to the never-ending,
A glance up high into the trees,
Terminus to condescending,
The songbirds’ mouths now all shut,
The vessel empty, the cord is cut—
In suchlike manner do songbirds choose
To close our apologies to the Jews.

No more the ‘anti-Semite’ cap
To wear upon our tousled hair,
It always was a clumsy fit
Never looked right in the sun
Toss it now, get rid of it!
Leave as well Steinberg’s book,
Cohen’s movie, the dour look
Of Gershon and his Jewish mom,
Halakah of the grave, be gone!
A vestibule of hope protect
A new enlightened intellect,

A new and improved detergent
To wash away the Jewish Marxists
Who understood the rules of the footrace
As they hotfooted from the left
To the right side of the political spectrum;
Ready…set…go!
The race is on. Don’t be slow!
That ignus fatuus is dead now, thank God.

***

Jewish suffering was an indoor houseplant
That grew out of a tiny clay pot, but ended up eventually covering
The entire living room window
And blocking out the sun.
We are closing our apologies because
There is nothing left to apologize for, and because
No one could really remember why we were apologizing
In the first place, as a maggot was found in the pudding.

Simka, Simka!
I’ll be damned! Whatever happened to you?
Woodstock, Monterey,
Cantata on a drizzly day
LSD potpourri
With wild and free casuistry

On and on…
A thousand apologies cracked open and stirred
Into an omelet of failure, as Jews carried the banner of
Equality and civil rights in Alabama, Mississippi,
Hell, everywhere but in Palestine!

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
Kind of rings a bell now, doesn’t it?

Penetrating benevolence:
Mother preparing dinner
Father smiling donnishly out on the porch;
The table is all set, oh yes—
Finest china! Polished silver!
Forks, knives, spoons,
Crystal goblets most exquisite—
But we noticed an ant crawling
Across a napkin…

Isn’t it a marvel?
Isn’t it a pity?
Verily streams of blood,
The traffic in the city!
A benediction on a cattle pen,
Let’s be friendly,
You and I,
This stall is auspicious.
The goyim are donkeys.
Isn’t it propitious—
A mohel with a new
Mathematical game theory
To calculate the dependability of the nations
To kowtow, roll over,
And beg for their
Bellies to be rubbed?
Born is the darksome
Mother’s son.

…and then another,
And after a day or two
The house was overrun with them.

***

Standing up for civil rights—that’s fine—
Everywhere but Palestine!
Inconsistencies and consistencies
Inhabiting the mind like litanies
Hypocrisy…hypocrisy…hypocrisy…

This cup is the new testament in my blood
Which is shed for you,
But behold the hand of him that betrayeth me
Is with me on the table.

Be sensible.
This is madness.

And so…

A locked and boarded department store
A bakery that is no more—
This is how, it seems to me,
Christians close their apologies.
An end to the never-ending,
A glance up high into the trees,
Terminus to condescending,
The songbirds’ mouths now all shut,
The vessel empty, the cord is cut—
In suchlike manner do songbirds choose
To close our apologies to the Jews.

No more the ‘anti-Semite’ cap
To wear upon our tousled hair,
It always was a clumsy fit
Never looked right in the sun
Toss it now, get rid of it!
Leave as well Steinberg’s book,
Cohen’s movie, the dour look
Of Gershon and his Jewish mom,
Halakah of the grave, be gone!
A vestibule of hope protect
A new enlightened intellect…

A new enlightened intellect

By Richard Edmondson

2 thoughts on “Stop Apologizing to the Jews! (A Poem for the Mennonites)

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