Thank you, mister Jew-hater. A poetic essay on anti-semitism

Thank you, Mister Jew-hater.

You’d put on ethical clothes

gel your hair straight

preach righteous words

and carry a red suit of justice


And I thought something was wrong with me


I had an invisible yellow star of David

engraved on my forehead

my blond hair curved

my family name sounding German


It was my fault to be born

of the tribe of Jacob

to be part

of the blue-and-white people


The guilt followed me

as I grew up

and made my way into the World


It scared me

I did not want to be different

I hid my identity

pretending to be who I was not


But you always found me out

Your nose was trained to my scent

You’d  put me back in the box

where  I belonged


But my Jewish soul was stronger than me

It burst open from the confines you imposed

and I saw….

that your red suit was coloured with blood

your clothes were made of lies

your straight hair was really a wig

you spoke so passionately

but only venom was coming from your mouth

Were you not afraid to be bitten by your own poison?


But I have to thank you, mister


without realizing it

you made me the Jew that I am today

you made me resilient

you made me strong

you made me be compassionate to others

because of my experiences as an outcast

you made me hardworking


your hatred drove me to strive for the best

it pressed me to discover my identity

without it, I would blend into the masses of other cultures I encountered along the way of my life journey

I don’t think you give yourself enough credit

You are actually responsible for two thousand years of Jewish survival through numerous calamities; nomads, without a land or country.

You contributed to the establishment of the State of Israel that gave Jews a homeland after being dispersed all over

Fear made us hide, but our self-determination made us stand up to you

You hated us for just being born

You christened us, burnt our sacred places and sent us into exile

You forced us to pray to Allah rather than to the Jewish God

You invited us into your country to help enrich it with our commercial skills and than you used our money against us, stripping us bare and sending us to wander once again

But by identifying the Jews as disparate, you played a hand in preserving us the way we were over two thousand years ago, when we had a King, a Land and a Country.

By casting us out, you made us keep to ourselves and therefore remain ourselves. By creating pales of settlement for Jews, you helped us hold on to our language, traditions and the way of living. By forbidding our religion, you sent us to pray underground, to light Shabbat candles in the cupboards, to study Torah under the pretense of playing games and building secret synagogues in the attics. By declaring our language Ivrit illegal, you brought us together in  brotherhood of studying it in secret clubs. By attempting to annihilate us in Holocaust, you brought on the recreation of the Jewish State. And by trying to wipe out the remainder of those who survived the Holocaust in the newly established Jewish State, you brought on the birth of the mighty Jewish warrior.

Haven’t you heard the lesson of “forbidden fruit”?

Would you have realized that by being vocal, violent and openly hateful to us, you made us build our defenses and learn to outsmart you; you would have probably found a different way to ethnically cleanse us.  As it was, you contributed to establishing of a Jewish country once again. However, you do not appear to learn your lessons from history as you continue your ravings, making us stronger in the process.

ellina zipman

a Jew

Melbourne. Dec 2013

About the Author
Ellina Zipman is a published poet, writer and academic. Ellina completed a PhD on Positive ageing through music education. Ellina’s poetry collection “Through My Jewish Eyes” was published by PoeticaPublishing in 2021. Ellina’s poetry has been included in anthologies 28 People Write, Memory Weaving, Migrant Women Writers and performed on 3CR Spoken Word radio. Ellina’s poems featured in the 2015 Rosh Hashana edition of the Jewish Holocaust Centre News. Ellina’s poetry was published in Victorian Writer magazine. Her poems and articles appeared several times in the Australian Jewish News and featured in the Australian Jewish Museum online magazine.