Israel bars Gunter Grass from entry under law barring former Nazis

on 50 Comments

The latest in the Gunter Grass story. Sydney Morning Herald

Israel’s Interior Minister has barred the German author Gunter Grass from entering the country because of a poem that accuses Israel of being a threat to world peace.

”Grass’s poems fan the flames of hatred against Israel and the Israeli people, thus promoting the idea he was part of when he donned an SS uniform,” the minister, Eli Yishai, said on Sunday, referring to Grass’s admission that he had been a Nazi soldier as a 17-year-old. ”His distorted poems are not welcome in Israel. I suggest he try them in Iran where he will find a sympathetic audience.”

Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood:

On Sunday, Israel’s interior minister Eli Yishai used a law permitting a bar on entry to former Nazis to declare Grass persona non grata for his “attempt to fan the flames of hatred against the state of Israel and its people, and thus to advance the idea to which he publicly affiliated in his past donning of the SS uniform”.

…Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, added his voice to the storm of criticism, saying Grass’s poem was the expression of “egoism of so-called western intellectuals who are willing to sacrifice the Jewish people on the altar of crazy anti-Semites for a second time, just to sell a few more books or gain recognition”.

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50 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    April 9, 2012, 10:54 am

    So what? USA bars communists and various others from entry, VASTLY against the right of the American people to hear the opinions and hold conversations with these people. This tempest in a teapot is so silly, so terribly silly, and shows the Israelis as such babies.

  2. justicewillprevail
    April 9, 2012, 11:03 am

    Well, another excellent example of Israeli hypocrisy. Apparently Grass is ‘fanning the flames of hatred’ (although hard to see how his political views of Germany supplying an unstable country with nuclear subs fans any flames other than responsible concern). Israel has spent the last 50 years fanning real flames of hatred, against Muslim culture in general, and Palestinians in particular. And now they are leaving no stone unturned in fanning the flames of hatred against Iran and its citizens, none of whom actually threaten Israel in the way that Israel threatens them, daily. What a bunch of self-obsessed hypocrites who see no contradiction between their acts and their sanctimonious proclamations.

  3. dahoit
    April 9, 2012, 11:10 am

    An author banned for words in a poem.Let the book burnings begin,watch the flames grow higher,as our dreams and hopes of a sober,safe and prosperous world for all go up in smoke.
    Never have so few destroyed so much.

  4. Woody Tanaka
    April 9, 2012, 11:36 am

    This is simply laying bear what has been clear for a long time: the way that Israel abuses the war and the Holocaust to advance its political position.

    A modern country would say, “well, we disagree with his speech, but our adherence to the principles of free speech and human rights exceeds our disagreement.” It’s kind of sad when anyone shows that their critics gave them too much credit for decency.

    • seafoid
      April 10, 2012, 9:48 am

      Well said Woody. The Germans paid a very high price for Nazism- lost one quarter of their territory and 17 million ethnically cleansed, 600 thousand of whom were murdered AFTER the war .

      They understand the insanity of war and the madness of militarism.
      Israelis don’t.

      • Antidote
        April 12, 2012, 8:28 pm

        “They understand the insanity of war and the madness of militarism.
        Israelis don’t.”

        I can’t help bringing the following somewhat unusual attack on Grass and German/Prussian militarism (or lack thereof) to your attention, which illustrates the point you make:

        “I should like you to think about something that is less well known, Herr Grass, and that is the fact that the First and Second World Wars were entirely unnecessary. That’s right: the fact that they were fought in the first place is entirely the fault of people like you, and specifically of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who could have pre-empted them in 1905. Kaiser Wilhelm II and Günter Grass: a couple of soul-mates.

        In March of that year, Germany demanded an open door for trade with the French colony of Morocco and called for Moroccan independence. Morocco was a pretext, of course; Britain and France had just signed the Entente Cordiale, and Germany wanted to force a crisis to preempt its eventual encirclement. Russia, you will recall, was in the midst of the 1905 Revolution following its humiliation by Japan, and Britain was in no position to defend France.

        If Kaiser Wilhelm II had had the nerve to declare war on France during the 1905 Morocco Crisis, Count Alfred von Schlieffen’s invasion plan would have crushed the French within weeks. Russia’s Romanov dynasty, humiliated by its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War and beset by popular revolt, likely would have fallen under more benign circumstances than prevailed in 1917. England had not decided upon an alliance with the Franco-Russian coalition in 1905. The naval arms race between Germany and England, a major source of tension, was yet to emerge. War in 1905 would have left Wilhelmine Germany the sole hegemon in Europe, with no prospective challenger for some time to come. Germany’s indecision left the initiative in the hands of Russia, elements of whose secret service backed the Serbian terrorists who murdered the Austrian crown prince in 1914, forcing Germany into war under far less favorable circumstances. Hohenzollern Germany, to be sure, was in many ways a disgusting place, but hardly to be compared to the Third Reich.

        Think of it, Günter Grass: all that misery and bloodshed and recriminations, not to mention all your dreadful fiction — it all was unnecessary, because Kaiser Wilhelm II was a bully and a braggart rather than a man of action. If only Benyamin Netanyahu had been Kaiser in 1905, none of these terrible things would have happened!

        It’s too late for Germany to reverse the mistakes of 1905, to be sure, but that’s no excuse for America or Israel to repeat them.

        By the way, how did you like Inglorious Basterds?”

        A similar argument is made in his recent book:

  5. chuckcarlos
    April 9, 2012, 11:39 am

    that will really show him!

  6. lysias
    April 9, 2012, 12:06 pm

    According to the Financial Times Deutschland, people really don’t like this decision in Germany. In fact, the travel ban, not Grass’s poem, is now the object of discussion in Germany.

    Israel erntet Empörung für Grass-Einreiseverbot [Israel Reaps Outrage With Entry Ban on Grass].

    • Sumud
      April 10, 2012, 2:00 am

      Great lysias, it’s almost hilarious: Israel’s juvenile response is actually antagonising Germans – and the likely result is that true public debate on Israel in Germany will take place, at last.

      Talk about blowback.

      I predict there will be an onslaught of articles, publications and programs in the next few months focusing on any and all neo-nazi groups in Germany. The narrative will be that Germany is a hotbed of anti-semitism in Europe, just look at Gunter Grass the nazi etc.

      Meanwhile, Germany consistently rates as one of the most popular 2 or 3 nations in the world. Sane people will look at the neo-nazi slurs and shrug, and those who are gullible will drink it up, as usual.

      • seafoid
        April 10, 2012, 9:46 am

        Israel’s response is autistic. They were the same with the flotilla. Totally over the top. People are going to join the dots.

  7. CloakAndDagger
    April 9, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Damn! Now he has to return that air ticket that he has been saving up for so long!

  8. eljay
    April 9, 2012, 12:25 pm

    >> … Avigdor Lieberman [said] Grass’s poem was the expression of “egoism of so-called western intellectuals who are willing to sacrifice the Jewish people on the altar of crazy anti-Semites for a second time … ”

    Israel is the expression of egoism of Zionists who are willing to sacrifice the Jewish people on the alter of crazy religion-supremacism. But that doesn’t seem to bother ol’ Avi too much…

    • yourstruly
      April 9, 2012, 9:07 pm

      ….willing to sacrifice all living beings on the alter of crazy religious supremacism.

  9. Theo
    April 9, 2012, 12:44 pm

    Grass is 84 years old and since 40 years he refuses to visit Israel due to the poor treatment he received during his last trip!
    I doubt he will lose any sleep over this harsh punishment.

  10. Bandolero
    April 9, 2012, 12:47 pm

    To make foreigners understand what specific problem Israel and the Lobby have with Grass, I want you to take note of a quote from Marcel Reich-Ranicki (Jewish Holocaust survivor, great friend of Israel and “pope of German literature” who published many favorite critics of Grass literature – google him if you don’t know him) in May 2010:

    “Sehen Sie, es hat von Grass nie eine antisemitische Zeile oder Bemerkung gegeben, keine einzige.”

    “You have to see, there did never exist one anti-semitic line or remark from Grass, not a single one. (my translation)”

    Günter Grass was used by the Lobby in general and Reich-Ranicki in that specific interview as a clean reference point to denounce alleged “anti-semitic tendencies” in the writings of other German authors – in that case that of Martin Walser – who argued against an “instrumentalisation of the Holocaust” in 1998 – much like Finkelstein did in his 2000 book on the Holocaust industry – and got a harsh treatment of the Lobby thereafter.

  11. atime forpeace
    April 9, 2012, 12:47 pm

    Gunther ought to apply for entry into Israel as a peace activist going on behalf of the German people in an attempt to try to keep the world from the horrors of another catastrophic war.

    • Sumud
      April 10, 2012, 2:03 am

      He ought to apply for entry into Gaza. He will be denied, yet the ziobots will continue to claim that Gaza is not occupied by Israel.

      Then he should apply for entry to Palestine and state his reasons openly. He will also be denied entry. It makes his case perfectly.

      Time to start talking about the Warsaw Ghetto.

      • andrew r
        April 10, 2012, 4:13 am

        A good indication that Gaza’s independence is a fiction would be the ease with which Hana Shalabi was deported there. Don’t forget that many Hasbarists claim the PA is independent in the West Bank (Read: Palestinians under PA jurisdiction are not under occupation) yet she was arrested in Area A (Jenin) so Israel deported a person from one independent entity to another. Obviously it would not be possible for one state to behave that way vis-a-vis two other states even if they don’t have bilateral relations.

  12. HarryLaw
    April 9, 2012, 12:57 pm

    Avigdor Lieberman has called for the ethnic cleansing of 1.2 million Israeli Arabs by stripping them of their citizenship and transferring them against their will to a cantonised West Bank and who even the Israeli press have descibed as a ” Fascist Leader of a Fascist party”, he has also called for the execution of Knesset members for talking with elected members of Hamas and who Hebrew University Professor of Political science Zeev Sternhell reminded people not to forget that Mussolini came to power with only 30 members of Parliament. Who is the Nazi?

  13. Talkback
    April 9, 2012, 1:07 pm

    He would have been banned even if he had not been in the Waffen-SS.

    Israel acts like a pathological narcisstic child which can’t take any critizism. If you don’t worship it’s poo poo, it’s only explanation is that you hate it.

  14. J. Otto Pohl
    April 9, 2012, 1:40 pm

    Grass was conscripted into a tank unit when he was 17 near the end of the war. He is not and has never been a National Socialist as the term is understood by rationale people. But, it is interesting that Grass has become more interested in the plight of people forcibly displaced in the name of “anti-fascism.” His book Crab Walk talked about the ethnic Germans expelled from Central Europe and now he has spoken out against Israel another state that has justified ethnic cleansing using “anti-fascist” rhetoric not too different from the USSR, Poland, and Czechoslovakia in the 1940s.

    • Antidote
      April 13, 2012, 1:25 pm

      “Grass was conscripted into a tank unit when he was 17 near the end of the war. He is not and has never been a National Socialist”

      And what if he had been a volunteer to the Waffen SS, and what if he had indeed been a National Socialist? How would that change the burden of proof that he was also a criminal? Were all National Socialists criminals? Was there anything criminal in the NS party program? Were Auschwitz and WW II on the ballot? Was consent to genocide a prerequisite for party membership? Would we criminalize all Democrats or Republicans in the US because they voted or supported, politically or by active military service, as enthusiastic volunteers or reluctant conscripts, aggressive war during which major war crimes and mass murder of civilians occurred? You are just shifting the problem around without solving it. And I just did the same thing

      • MHughes976
        April 13, 2012, 3:55 pm

        Isn’t the question whether his poem results from prejudice rather than from reason? If he had been a keen anti-Semite, rather than merely a cog in the German military machine, in his youth that might be a reason for attributing prejudice to him – though a very weak and unconvincing reason in any event. If he was never an anti-S then even this thin reason fades away.
        I don’t think that membership, even enthusiastic membership, of a political party whose leaders organise criminal acts is in itself a criminal act. You’re responsible for what you know about and consent to.

      • Antidote
        April 13, 2012, 6:00 pm

        “Isn’t the question whether his poem results from prejudice rather than from reason?”

        my inner Kantian wants to know: what is the difference? According to Kant, objectivity is only possible because we all have the same mental/sensory filters that guide our perception of reality. In a similar vein, but on a mega-level, we all, regardless of ethnicity, age and other factors, are under moral obligation, via a manufactured consent, to view Nazis and Nazism as some ultimate evil without compare, as if no other perspective was humanly possible. Is this prejudice or reason?

        “If he had been a keen anti-Semite … in his youth that might be a reason for attributing prejudice to him”

        only if we assume that people are incapable of learning and change. In that case, decades of major denazification and reeducation efforts were a waste of time, and the only solution would have been murder on a massive scale: kill all Nazis, or at least all the anti-semitic ones, as well as all non-Nazis among the Germans or their allies and opponents who were nevertheless keen anti-semites? On the other hand, if change is possible, it is also possible that Grass was not an anti-semite and/or Nazi in his youth, but has become one now.

        Now what?

      • MHughes976
        April 15, 2012, 2:13 pm

        Well, I think that for Kant and others the most important difference in the realm of thought is that between rational and not rational.
        Prejudice, an opinion not based on reason and formed before a subject is addressed, is one of the things that damages rationality.
        However, I fully agree that there is only a superficial appearance of rationality in claiming that someone is prejudiced and making no other reply to what (s)he says. If you’re so sure that something is wrong in an argument you should be able to say what that wrong step is rather than merely make attacks on the person, rather than the argument. This looks increasingly like prejudice on the part of the critic.
        As you suggest, states of mind, prejudices included, may change at different times of life. It’s also true that a prejudiced person may actually be right. The arguments against Grass based on his supposed prejudices are light as a feather, all but trivial.
        ‘Paradigm case’ arguments which treat a particular case, political or other, as outside critical discussion have an affinity with appeals to prejudice, I agree.

  15. DICKERSON3870
    April 9, 2012, 1:53 pm

    RE: “…Avigdor Lieberman, added his voice to the storm of criticism, saying Grass’s poem was the expression of “egoism of so-called western intellectuals who are willing to sacrifice the Jewish people…” ~ Sherwood

    SPEAKING OF BEING WILLING TO SACRIFICE THE JEWISH PEOPLE: A FEW EXCERPTS FROM “The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict”, Published by Jews for Justice in the Middle East.

    (excerpts)…“In 1938 a thirty-one nation conference was held in Evian, France, on resettlement of the victims of Nazism. The World Zionist Organization refused to participate, fearing that resettlement of Jews in other states would reduce the number available for Palestine.” ~ John Quigley, ‘Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice’
    “It was summed up in the meeting [of the Jewish Agency’s Executive on June 26, 1938] that the Zionist thing to do ‘is belittle the [Evian] Conference as far as possible and to cause it to decide nothing… ~ Israeli author Boas Evron, ‘Jewish State or Israeli Nation?’
    “[Ben-Gurion stated] ‘If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second — because we face not only the reckoning of those children, but the historical reckoning of the Jewish people.’ In the wake of the Kristallnacht pogroms, Ben-Gurion commented that ‘the human conscience’ might bring various countries to open their doors to Jewish refugees from Germany. He saw this as a threat and warned: ‘Zionism is in danger.’” ~ Israeli historian, Tom Segev, ‘The Seventh Million’
    Roosevelt’s advisor writes on why Jewish refugees were not offered sanctuary in the U.S. after WWII
    …“[Roosevelt] proposed a world budget for the easy migration of the 500,000 beaten people of Europe. Each nation should open its doors for some thousands of refugees…So he suggested that during my trips for him to England during the war I sound out in a general, unofficial manner the leaders of British public opinion, in and out of the government…The simple answer: Great Britain will match the United States, man for man, in admissions from Europe…It seemed all settled. With the rest of the world probably ready to give haven to 200,000, there was a sound reason for the President to press Congress to take in at least 150,000 immigrants after the war…
    “It would free us from the hypocrisy of closing our own doors while making sanctimonious demands on the Arabs…But it did not work out…The failure of the leading Jewish organizations to support with zeal this immigration programme may have caused the President not to push forward with it at that time…
    “I talked to many people active in Jewish organizations. I suggested the plan…I was amazed and even felt insulted when active Jewish leaders decried, sneered, and then attacked me as if I were a traitor…I think I know the reason for much of the opposition. There is a deep, genuine, often fanatical emotional vested interest in putting over the Palestinian movement [Zionism]. Men like Ben Hecht are little concerned about human blood if it is not their own.” ~ Jewish attorney and friend of President Roosevelt, Morris Ernst, ‘So Far, So Good’


    • DICKERSON3870
      April 9, 2012, 1:57 pm

      P.S. FROM Our Shomer ‘Weltanschauung’, Hashomer Hatzair, December 1936 [Originally published in 1917, Brenner, ‘Zionism’, p. 22.]:

      . . . As late as 1943, while the Jews of Europe were being exterminated in their millions, the U.S. Congress proposed to set up a commission to ‘study’ the problem. Rabbi Stephen Wise, who was the principal American spokesperson for Zionism, came to Washington to testify against the rescue bill because it would divert attention from the colonization of Palestine.
      This is the same Rabbi Wise who, in 1938, in his capacity as leader of the American Jewish Congress, wrote a letter in which he opposed any change in U.S. immigration laws which would enable Jews to find refuge. He stated:
      “It may interest you to know that some weeks ago the representatives of all the leading Jewish organizations met in conference. … It was decided that no Jewish organization would, at this time, sponsor a bill which would in any way alter the immigration laws.”
      . . .


      • yourstruly
        April 10, 2012, 10:50 am

        considering the role that zionist organizations had in limiting immigration of endangered european jewry to western countries before and during wwii (the better to funnel as many jews as possible to palestine), one has to wonder how many lives would have been saved, had these organizations supported rather than opposed said immigration. what’s inescapable too is the continuity in zionism’s prioritizing the establishment of its entity israel over everything else, including the lives and well being of the very people for whom israel supposedly is to serve as a sanctuary from antisemitism. this continuity expresses itself today in israel’s determination to bomb iran despite the possibility that this could trigger wwiii and thus bring on a nuclear holocaust. save jewry but destroy the world, and how’s that for a self-defeating “achievement”?

  16. seafoid
    April 9, 2012, 4:38 pm

    Günter Grass gets lock stock and 2 smoking Ziobarrels in the Guardian. All the Zionist garbage you can think of in less than 1000 words.
    I wonder for how long they’ll have this sort of access to the UK media and what will happen when it begins to
    Israel looks more and more like News International every day.

    “Hardly surprising, then, that Grass’s controversial late lyric has provoked indignation. The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, led the attack on Thursday, asserting: “Günter Grass’s shameful moral equivalence between Israel and Iran … says little about Israel and much about Mr Grass.” Netanyahu described Iran as “a regime that denied the Holocaust and threatens to annihilate Israel”. He added: “ It is Iran, not Israel, that is a threat to the peace and security of the world.”
    Netanyahu’s attack then became more personal: “For six decades, Mr Grass hid the fact that he had been a member of the Waffen SS.
    “So for him to cast the one and only Jewish state as the greatest threat to world peace and to oppose giving Israel the means to defend itself is perhaps not surprising.”
    The Israeli embassy in Berlin took the format of Grass’s poem and flung it back at him: “What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder.” It concluded that Grass’s ill-judged broadside sprung from Germany’s own guilty conscience – “part of the German people’s efforts to come to terms with the past”.
    German politicians from both left and right have traditionally been supportive of Israel, for obvious historical reasons. Several have criticised Grass, describing his work as “abominable”, “irritating” and “over the top”. The bestselling Bild, a paper better known for its topless models, complained of “confused poesie”. And writing in Die Welt, the Jewish writer Henryk Border dubbed Grass “the prototype of the educated antisemite”. He added, for good measure, that Grass was “completely nuts”.
    All this forced Grass to offer his own pained reply. In an interview with North German Radio, the author complained on Thursday that the tone of the criticism “didn’t just concentrate on the contents of the poem” but amounted to a scurrilous campaign to say that his reputation “had been damaged for all time”. He added: “The old cliches are used. And to a certain extent they are damaging.”
    Some commentators, however, offered a more convincing critique: that Grass wasn’t antisemitic, but simply didn’t know what he was talking about. True, the Nobel prizewinner describes Iran’s leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a “bigmouth”, or “Maulheld”. But otherwise, critics say, he offers a less than convincing analysis of the situation in the Middle East – failing to acknowledge, for example, Iran’s regular threats to wipe Israel out. Instead Grass raises the unlikely spectre of Israel “annihilating” the Iranian people – using a German verb, auslöschen, which comes dangerously close to evoking the Holocaust.
    “The poem is more interesting to Grassologists than to stragetic analysts,” the Israeli historian Tom Segev, who has met and interviewed Grass, told the Guardian. Segev called the lyric “rather pathetic”.
    He said it was “idiotic” to describe the writer as an antisemite, but said Grass would be better served expending his last ink on a different creative project. “He’s a great writer. He’s 84. I hope he uses his last drops to write a good book.” He added that the writer appeared to have “some inner psychological need to be accused wrongly”, adding: “He’s almost wishing people to say he’s an antisemite.”

    argues that Grass is the only winner who feels the urge to comment on global affairs. Gabriel García Márquez has not become a literary-political representative of South America, he notes, nor has JM Coetzee become the voice of South Africa, or Derek Walcott that of the Caribbean. Nor has Grass, it might be added, written a poem on Greece, a crisis nearer to Germany’s doorstep and wallet..”

    Name an Israeli writer that has produced anything to match Grass.
    And the fact that he’s one of the few intellectuals to speak out on politics is a sad reflection of our world today.

    • MHughes976
      April 10, 2012, 11:18 am

      Mario Vargas Llosa was reported in Haaretz 9 July 2006 as saying he ‘was ashamed to be Israel’s friend’. This was surely ‘a comment on global affairs’. Vargas did not win the Nobel Prize until 2010, but that would hardly validate Segev’s odd remarks. The suggestion that Grass suffers from an urge to be falsely accused of bad things, including anti-Semitism, might win the Nobel Prize for tortuousness, a sure sign that the overall argument is weak and insincere.

      • seafoid
        April 10, 2012, 12:29 pm

        Pathetic from the Guardian. Absolute tosh.
        It is like something straight out of “Publish it not”.

  17. quercus
    April 9, 2012, 4:52 pm

    Why in the hell should he care. I wouldn’t.

  18. lysias
    April 9, 2012, 5:21 pm

    Apparently the German social democratic SPD party is not going to allow Grass to do any more electioneering for them: SPD will auf Wahlkämpfer Grass verzichten [SPD to Forego Electoral Support From Grass].

    And look at the bottom of that Süddeutsche Zeitung Web page. There are no comments on the article yet, because they’re freezing out all comments overnight until tomorrow morning, so that they can moderate comments more actively.

  19. lysias
    April 9, 2012, 5:29 pm

    Vandals have defiled a memorial to Grass in Göttingen with graffiti: «SS! Günni Halts Maul» [“SS! Günter, Shut Up!”]. Grass-Denkmal in Göttingen beschmiert – Polizei ermittelt [Grass Memorial in Güttingen Vandalized; Police Investigate].

    • marc b.
      April 9, 2012, 7:50 pm

      yeah, nothing says anti-fascist better than vandals making anonymous threats to people to shut up.

  20. justicewillprevail
    April 10, 2012, 5:27 am

    Israel might do better to ponder why neo-fascists in the UK and Scandinavia proclaim themselves Zionists.

  21. eGuard
    April 10, 2012, 6:28 am

    Why did Israel distract the discussion to this idle topic? And, way more important, which topics are put in the shadow? To whose profit?

    – The poem: straight war-building by German policy, Israeli war-mongering, Israeli nuclear power unchecked
    – Punishment by calling “Anti-semitism”, why the silence
    – German media appear “gleichgeschaltet” (WWII word for “confirming to the single, official opinion”)
    – German politicians, all of them in all parties, complicit with Germany policy re Israel (including paying for the U-boots with nuclear capacity) – They still don’t have to discuss their policy.

    • seafoid
      April 10, 2012, 12:31 pm

      “German media appear “gleichgeschaltet”

      Germany has been Israel’s strongest European ally in smothering the Palestinian statehood initiative.

      Bild was first out of the tracks in condemnation of Grass. Typical. Probably alongside a photo of a semi naked woman. Priorities.

  22. yourstruly
    April 10, 2012, 10:07 am

    “Israel’s poetry critics”, editorial, today’s LA Times

    the editorial focuses on the reaction in germany to gunter grass’ poem, with his supposedly having inferred moral equivalence between israel and iran its main criticism – “Israel and Iran aren’t morally eqivalent” – says the times – “because Israel is an open democracy that cherishes free speech and the rule of law.”….. “Yet barring a prominent European intellectual from the country for expressing his political view is precisely the kind of reaction we’d expect from Iran’s mullahs.” careful, la times, because you yourselves are treading awful close to finding israel and iran to be morally equivalent. best repent immediately or the zionist entity’s officials aren’t going to allow either your newspaper or your reporters into israel.

    • seafoid
      April 10, 2012, 10:41 am

      I think when Grass said Israel would destroy the Iranian people he meant Israel would force a break up of the country as the Yanks did in the case of Iraq.

      • yourstruly
        April 10, 2012, 3:28 pm

        the yanks did more than force a breakup, they slaughtered many thousands of iraqis.

  23. upsidedownism
    April 10, 2012, 11:35 am

    The Nazi party might be the only popular political party in history ever to limit membership.

    After Hitler came to power, applications for membership to the Nazi party surged. Whether out of opportunism, fear, or some mix of both, it seemed that everybody in Germany wanted to join. The party responded to the mass of applications by putting great restrictions on membership, something political parties never normally do.

    As the Nazi dictatorship tightened its grip, just about anybody living in Germany in the 1930s would have joined the party if they were allowed to, in order to survive. So judging someone simply because they were a party member is pretty meaningless.

  24. seafoid
    April 10, 2012, 12:24 pm

    Those arriving in the US from the rest of the world have to fill in a form where one of the questions is “have you ever been a member of the Nazi party”. Like they were sui generis. If only.
    I think history will judge the Republican party to have been worse. The Nazis left a functioning climate behind.

  25. LanceThruster
    April 10, 2012, 2:48 pm

    What a bunch of WATBs.

  26. basimz
    April 10, 2012, 8:53 pm

    Re GG’s Poem.

    If WWII was truly won, the defeated (Germany, and most of Eastern Europe) should have been forced to welcome back it’s close-to annihilated Jewish citizery and the billions of DM that were spent to settle them in a country ( Palestine ) that has always welcomed Jews but whose citizens were ultimately and equally cleansed from their homeland.
    These DMs should have been spent in Germany and Eastern Europe on Jewish repatriation to their true homeland.

  27. Talkback
    April 11, 2012, 3:13 pm

    Grass shoots back and scores double:
    “Gunter Grass: In banning me, Israel’s Interior Minister resembles German Stasi chief
    Literature Nobel laureate says in reaction piece published by Sueddeutsche Zeitung that he has previously only been barred from entering a nation by then Communist-ruled East Germany and the military junta in Myanmar.”

    • seafoid
      April 11, 2012, 4:25 pm

      Grass is on a totally different intellectual level to anyone in the Israeli government. He can just toy with them. What’s Danon going to say that is going to diss Grass ? Call him an antisemite . And then?

      Here’s a very good article on Grass and Israel by Matt Rothschild

      • lysias
        April 11, 2012, 5:12 pm

        Today’s Guardian has a letter on Grass by the British widow of Austrian Jewish poet Erich Fried, who wrote poems criticizing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians starting in 1974. According to the widow, Israel actually sicced the Gestapo on him. Letters: Israel, Günter Grass and the right to artistic licence:

         My late husband, the German poet Erich Fried, was a colleague of Grass. In 1974 Erich published a whole book of poems about the Arab-Israeli conflict entitled Höre Israel, which has been republished recently by Melzer Verlag.

        Grass’s admission that he served in the Waffen SS in his teens serves as ready ammunition for the Zionists to use against him; for Erich it was the fact of being a Jew. For taking a critical stance of Israeli policies, he was dubbed an antisemite and even targeted by Mossad for a few years. It amazes me how this shameful – not to say quite illogical – equivalence can be so widely accepted.

        Catherine Boswell

  28. lysias
    April 11, 2012, 3:25 pm

    Grass’s whole piece is in today’s Süddeutsche Zeitung. Has a great final paragraph: Günter Grass reagiert auf Israels Einreiseverbot [Günter Grass Reacts to Israel’s Entry Ban]:

    Die DDR gibt es nicht mehr. Aber als Atommacht von unkontrolliertem Ausmaß begreift sich die israelische Regierung als eigenmächtig und ist bislang keiner Ermahnung zugänglich. – Allein Birma lässt kleine Hoffnung keimen. [There no longer is any German Democratic Republic. But the Israeli government, as a nuclear power of uncontrolled dimensions, feels it has untrammeled power and up to now has paid no attention to any warnings. Only Burma allows us to have a bit of hope.]

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