German poet Günter Grass says what cowardly politicians and academics dare not


By Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon considers German poet Günter Grass’s courageous stance on Israel, which he has criticized in a poem for undermining an already fragile world peace, and views the ridiculous response of Israel’s embassy and its stooges in Germany.

There is outrage in Germany. Nobel laureate Günter Grass has once again told the truth about Israel being the greatest threat to world peace.

Günter Grass, Germany’s most famous living author and the 1999 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, sparked outrage in Germany on 4 April with the publication of a poem, entitled What must be said,” in which he sharply criticizes Israel’s offensive approach towards Iran.

Once again, it is the artist rather than the politician who is telling the truth as it is. Once again, it is the artist and not the academic who is speaking out.

“Why did I wait until now, at this advanced age and with the last bit of ink, to say that Israel the nuclear power is endangering a world peace that is already fragile?” wrote Grass.

In the poem, published by Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and other European dailies on 4 April, Grass calls for “unhindered and permanent monitoring of Israel’s nuclear potential and Iran’s nuclear facilities through an international entity approved by the governments of both countries.”

Israel’s disgraceful response

Israel and some prominent German Jewish voices were quick to react. The Israeli embassy in Berlin issued a statement offering its own version of “What must be said”.

“Israel and its supportive Jewish lobbies … are openly pushing for a new global conflict. Yet, the Israeli embassy shamelessly defies criticism by tossing in the air the old blood libel.”

“What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder,” the statements reads.

Pretty outrageous, don’t you think?

Israel and its supportive Jewish lobbies – for example, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) – are openly pushing for a new global conflict. Yet, the Israeli embassy shamelessly defies criticism by tossing in the air the old blood libel. The appropriate and timely question here is why Israel and AIPAC are pushing for a world war and a potential nuclear conflict just before Passover? Can they just wait for another Yom Kippur (Atonement Day)?

The Israeli embassy continues: “In the past it was Christian children whose blood the Jews allegedly used to make their unleavened bread, but today it is the Iranian people that the Jewish state allegedly wants to annihilate.”

Isn’t this in fact the case? Every military expert suggests that Israeli pre-emptive attacks on Iran could escalate into a nuclear conflict. If anything, Grass is trying, like others, including your truly, to prevent Israel from celebrating its lethal symptoms once again.

The Israeli embassy noticed though that “Israel is the only state in the world whose right to exist is openly doubted”.

Correct, and so it should be. Israel is a racist, expansionist state; there is no room for it among other nations.

German Jewish hypocrisy

The Central Council of Jews in Germany also called the poem an “aggressive pamphlet of agitation”. I wonder: is it really aggressive to try to restrain an aggressor?

The German newspaper Die Welt, which apparently obtained an advance copy of Grass’s poem, published a response by the rabid Zionist Henryk Broder, the country’s most prominent Jewish writer. “Grass always had a problem with Jews, he has never been articulated it as clearly as he has in this poem,” Broder said, adding: “Grass has always had a tendency toward megalomania, but this time he is completely nuts.” I would expect Germany’s leading Jewish writer to come with something slightly more astute.

Broder, however, may be correct when he notes that Grass is “haunted by guilt and shame and also driven by the desire to settle history; he is now attempting to disarm the ‘cause of the recognizable threat’”.

History of courage

This is not the first time that Grass has criticized Israel. In an interview with Spiegel Online in 2001, he offered his own solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Israel doesn’t just need to clear out of the occupied areas,” he said at the time. “The appropriation of Palestinian territory and its Israeli settlements are also a criminal activity. That not only needs to be stopped – it also needs to be reversed. Otherwise there will be no peace.”

Broder contends that such a statement is “no less than a demand for Israel not just to cede Nablus and Hebron, but also Tel Aviv and Haifa”. He continues: “Grass does not differentiate between the ‘occupied areas’ of 1948 and 1967.”

Needless to say, from an ethical perspective, Grass is correct: there is no difference between 1948 and 1967. The Jewish state located itself on historic Palestine at the expense of the Palestinian people. I guess that Grass understood back in 2001 that the Jews-only state must be transformed into a “state of its citizens”.

Israel should embrace the true notion of peace, universalism and inclusiveness. But I guess that we shouldn’t hold our breath for it is not going to happen anytime soon.

One thought on “German poet Günter Grass says what cowardly politicians and academics dare not

  1. Thanks my dear Gunter Grass.We r against Israel.I hate Jewish cheaters.May Almighty long live Gunter grass.

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