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With ‘last ink,’ Gunter Grass breaks silence on Israeli nuclear program threatening world peace

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Gunter Grass
Gunter Grass, by Marcus Brandt in the Guardian

The Gunter Grass poem was published in Germany. Our translation is by Norbert Jost. It is already stirring big controversy. Guardian headline: “Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass uses poem to say a nuclear-armed Israel is a threat to world peace.” Tom Segev says Grass is “pathetic” and is guilty about his Nazi past. 

Why am i silent, conceal already too long a time,

What is apparent and has been simulated

in exercises, at the end of which we the survivors

may at best be footnotes.

It is the alleged entitlement for a first strike,

which could extinguish the Iranian people,

– subjugated by a big mouth and

directed to organized jubilations-

because one assumes

the making of a nuclear bomb.

Alas, why do i restrain myself

to name the name of the other country,

where since years – although kept secret –

a growing nuclear potential (is) available,

albeit beyond control, because inaccessible

for any examination? 

The general silence of this fact,

which my silence has subordinated itself to,

i feel to be a burdensome lie

and as coercion, which promises punishment,

soon as it is not complied with;

the verdict “antisemitism” is ready at hand. 

However, now, that my country,

which is confronted with its very own crimes

which are unique without comparison,

again and again and made to answer for,

is about to deliver, routinely and businesslike,

even though with a nimble tongue declared as reparation,

is to supply Israel another submarine, the speciality of which

is to deliver all-destructive warheads

to where the existence

of a single nuclear bomb is unproven,

only “proven” by the strength of fear,

I say, what must be said.

But why did i remain silent so far?

Because I was of the opinion, that where i am from,

which is stained with a never removable stain,

forbids me, to dare confronting Israel,

the country I am attached to and want to remain so,

with this fact as an outright spoken truth.

Why do I speak now only,

aged and with the last ink:

The nuclear power Israel endangers

the world’s peace, ever so delicate anyhow ?

Because it must be said,

what already tomorrow could be too late;

also because we – as Germans burdened enough –

could become suppliers of a crime,

which can be foreseen, and why our complicity

could not be made undone by any of the usual evasions.

And admitted: i do not remain silent anymore,

because i am weary of the hypocrisy of the West;

moreover, it is hoped,

may many free themselves of the bondage of silence,

demand from the originators of the discernible danger

the renunciation of all violence and

simultaneously insist,

that an unhindered and permanent control

of Israeli nuclear potential

and of Iranian nuclear facilities

through an international entity

will be permitted by the governments of both countries.

Only this way, everybody, Israelis and Palestinians,

even more, all human beings, who live as enemies

next to each other in this region, occupied by madness,

can be helped – ultimately us, too.

About Philip Weiss

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180 Responses

  1. Les
    Les on April 5, 2012, 9:40 am

    It’s thoughtful of you to put this on your site.

    Here’s a little more information.

    • philweiss
      philweiss on April 5, 2012, 10:12 am

      Thanks Les, lots of folks are talking about this so it was important to put it up

    • American
      American on April 5, 2012, 10:27 am

      “”I admit: I will be silent no longer, because I am sick of the hypocrisy of the West”….is what he said.

      “To which I say……Amen…It’s the hypocrisy of all hypocrisy.

      • Theo
        Theo on April 6, 2012, 12:06 pm

        It is the mother of all hypocracy, but the ice is showing a tiny crack.

    • lysias
      lysias on April 5, 2012, 10:31 am

      “b” of Moon of Alabama‘s thread on the poem is worth a read: Günter Grass – What Has To Be Said.

      The poem in the original German was published in yesterday’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, very much a mainstream newspaper in Germany: Grass’ Gedicht im Wortlaut: Was gesagt werden muss.

      Grass is going to recite his poem and be interviewed about it on German national television tonight: Günter Grass äußert sich in «Tagesthemen» und «aspekte».

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder on April 6, 2012, 7:59 am

        lysias, and everbody who understands German, there are obviously many, many features all over the German first channel. There is already an interview online by NDR the local northern channel, belong to the first channels ARD. Günter Grass nimmt Stellung.

        He says two factors made him publish it, first Natanyahu’s statement to have the right to a first strike to defend Israel, and that the American government accepted this claim. I think it’s slightly more difficult, as the latest “point-of-no-return-Goldie” missives show, if one doesn’t completely trust his idea that Obama is dissembling.

        Second was the delivery of the submarine. The link to further clips Grass get’s you MDR (also belonging to the ARD channels), were his statement is, as stated by the chairman of the Jewish community in Leipzig, is equivalent to Hitler’s statements.

        Aspekte is ZDF the second channels culture magazin, SAT3 belongs to this channel. ZDF Mediathek I think Aspekte will only be online tonight. There is a short interview Tom Segev too.

        SAT 3 Mediathek directly. A longer feature where Grass is given time to defend himself.

        This is of course only the gist of it.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder on April 6, 2012, 8:00 am

        I don’t correct German’s first channel, I don’t want to mend all links in the process, I don’t to correct anything else for the same reason.

  2. Winnica
    Winnica on April 5, 2012, 9:49 am

    There has never been a dearth of prominent public figures in Germany who criticise Israel. Grass himself has done so more than once. Since his Nazi past was unveiled a few years back, however, after he’d covered it for more than 60 years, his moral weight was rather diminished.

    • lysias
      lysias on April 5, 2012, 10:20 am

      If memory serves, it was Grass himself who “unveiled” the fact that he had served in the Waffen-SS.

      • lysias
        lysias on April 5, 2012, 10:33 am

        I should add that Grass joined the Waffen-SS because he was conscripted into it.

        People here may remember that, during the Vietnam War, young men were drafted not only into the Army, but also into the Marine Corps.

      • Winnica
        Winnica on April 5, 2012, 2:43 pm

        Something like 15 million men served in the German Army (Wehrmacht). About 2 million served in the Waffen SS. The Wehrmacht was bad by the standards of the 20th century, but the Waffen SS was far worse, and everyone knew it at the time. Most men in the Waffen SS were volunteers. Someone as young as Grass could indeed have been a conscript, but since there’s no way of knowing, we only have his word. Since he spent six decades preaching, moralizing and sermonizing, before ever letting on about his own past, his word isn’t very convincing. The denials over decades were what so damaged his reputation, not the original story itself.

        One way or the other, the facts are that as a young man he served in a murderous criminal unit, then spent 61 years forgetting to mention it, and as an old man he’s damning Israel for something which hasn’t yet happened and probably never will.

      • annie
        annie on April 5, 2012, 3:02 pm

        what do you mean ‘letting on about his own past’? weren’t german men in decent health all nazis? even old ones in crappy condition were required to serve. is there any kind of evidence he hid this information about himself? or that it was a secret? anything?
        About 2 million served in the Waffen SS

        probably the ones deemed most fit one might imagine. the war is over.

      • lysias
        lysias on April 5, 2012, 3:31 pm

        From the Wikipedia entry on the Waffen SS:

        At the post-war Nuremberg Trials the Waffen-SS was condemned as a criminal organization due to its essential connection to the Nazi Party and involvement in war crimes. Waffen-SS veterans were denied many of the rights afforded to veterans who had served in the Heer (army), Luftwaffe (air force) or Kriegsmarine (navy). An exception was made for Waffen-SS conscripts sworn in after 1943, who were exempted because of their involuntary servitude. In the 1950s and 1960s, Waffen-SS veteran groups successfully fought numerous legal battles in West Germany to overturn the Nuremberg ruling and win pension rights for their members.[7]

      • Winnica
        Winnica on April 5, 2012, 3:39 pm

        Annie –

        None of this is speculation, or the stuff of blogs and media. It is solid history, which has been fully worked through decades ago. There were ordinary Germans, there were members of the party, and there was the SS. The Waffen SS wasn’t as totally horrible as the Enisatzgruppen, perhaps, or the Sicherheitspolizei, but that’s very faint praise indeed. Membership in the Waffen SS as a 17-year-old wouldn’t have killed a man’s reputation forever in Germany, but preaching and sermonizing while hiding it for six decades is pretty odd. Since I doubt you read German I won’t link to the uproar his admission caused in the German press in 2006, but here’s an article about it from the New York Times

        The point being that Grass, it turns out, isn’t in the position to do much moralizing towards anyone; penning a long poem about actions of the Jewish State which haven’t happened is, how to put it: rich.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 5, 2012, 4:22 pm

        “The denials over decades were what so damaged his reputation, not the original story itself.”

        What denial? Cite to one place where he denied anything.

        In fact, he simply didn’t mention it. It wasn’t like he rifled through US Army records and stealthily purge every trace of it. No one thought to look. But when they did, they found confirmation quick enough. It came out in the Frankfruter Allgemeine on a Saturday afternoon and Der Spiegel had copies of US Army documents documents up on its website confirming it on Tuesday.

        “One way or the other, the facts are that as a young man he served in a murderous criminal unit”

        Oh, please. He was an assistant gunner in a Panzer division on the Western front, not a member of an Einsatzgruppe.

        “…then spent 61 years forgetting to mention it, and as an old man he’s damning Israel for something which hasn’t yet happened and probably never will.”

        None of which establishes your thesis about his moral authority because, as anyone would know, he spent the next 61 years establishing his moral weight. And to have some immoral reprobate like Benji Netenyahu criticize him is a joke.

      • Brewer
        Brewer on April 5, 2012, 4:34 pm

        The pungent smell of hypocrisy is ruining my morning coffee:

        “Fundamental Features of the Proposal of the National Military Organization in Palestine (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning
        the Solution of the Jewish Question
        in Europe and
        the Participation of the NMO in the War
        on the Side of Germany


        The NMO, which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that:

        Common interests could exist between the establishment of a new order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO.
        Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed folkish-national Hebraium would be possible and,
        The establishment of the historic Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.
        Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively lake part in the war on Germany’s side.”

      • Thomson Rutherford
        Thomson Rutherford on April 5, 2012, 5:33 pm

        weren’t german men in decent health all nazis?

        Actually, no. The Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (abbr. NSDAP, short form NAZI) was an established political party in Germany, and a party member might be called a ‘Nazi’. Alternately and more weakly, since the term ‘Nazism’ refers to the fascist political ideology of the ‘Nazi’ party, ‘Nazi’ might mean any adherent to that ideology. From my 12 years of living in Germany and my study of German history, it has been my understanding that a majority of German men during the period of Nazi government were probably not ‘Nazis’ in either of the above senses.

        It was also my understanding that Guenter Grass was never a Nazi in either of the above senses. Can anyone cite evidence to the contrary?

      • annie
        annie on April 5, 2012, 6:14 pm

        i meant during the war thomson, were there other german soldiers besides nazis?

      • annie
        annie on April 5, 2012, 6:16 pm

        hiding it for six decades

        any evidence of that? my dad didn’t talk about what happened in the war but it doesn’t mean he was hiding from it.

      • American
        American on April 5, 2012, 6:24 pm


        First – no one cares
        Second- no one cares.
        Third – no one cares

        And a Israeli zionist complaining about Germans isn’t going to make anyone do anything but laugh at the pot calling the kettle black.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 5, 2012, 6:31 pm

        “i meant during the war thomson, were their other german soldiers besides nazis?”

        Yes. As Thomson notes, the Nazis were a political party; many members of the German military were memers of the party, but not all were.

        I read your question as asking whether all German men in good health involved in the war effort, which most all were in one capacity or another. (If you include the Volkssturm, even some in not good health were involved.)

      • Ellen
        Ellen on April 5, 2012, 6:41 pm

        Winnica, you are attacking the messenger, not the message.

        No fan of Grass, regardless of his conscript status as a 17-year-old and obscuring it later in life, he wrote a poem that was published in a rather conservative mainstream paper, The Süddeutsche Zeitung.

        “Was gesagt werden muss” What must be said.

        Concentrating on what was said and not who said it is credible. Blabbering on about the Wehrmacht and Stadt Sicherheits Dieneste is irrelevant to what must be said.

      • Brewer
        Brewer on April 5, 2012, 7:03 pm

        “were their other german soldiers besides nazis?”

        I think I get the logic of this.
        America entered the Vietnam War under a Democrat administration. Ipso facto, all soldiers were members of the Democrat Party right?
        It follows from this that, come Iraq, the military, to a man must have become Republicans.

        It is an oft-forgotten fact that WWII began with Britain and France’s declaration of War against Germany during a period when the National Socialist Party was hugely popular due to the economic turnaround they had achieved.
        To expect that young German men would, en masse, become conscientious objectors is unrealistic.

        In the light of recent aggressive Wars indisputably instigated by America and Nato and historical facts of both WWI and II that have become known of late, one would have thought the ridiculous smearing of German citizens whose only crime was to respond to their country’s call would cease.

      • Colin Murray
        Colin Murray on April 5, 2012, 8:00 pm

        Annie, most German soldiers were not members of the Nazi Party. More than 20 million German men served in the Werhmacht during WW2. Nazi Party membership rolls didn’t exceed 6-8 million by the end of the war and a huge percentage of them were civilians. Many millions of Germans were communists. There is even evidence that several German soldiers (former members of the German Communist Party) deserted to the Soviets on the eve of Barbarossa to try to warn them that Hitler was about to attack. I’d provide detailed citations but alas I got rid of that portion of my book collection to focus on other areas.

        That said, most Germans, including German soldiers, supported Hitler and the Nazi Party as the rulers of Germany once they were at war. (rally-round-the-flag) Most bought into racial supremacism to varying degrees, although we should keep in perspective the ugly reality that the VAST majority of Europeans (and those of European descent in the US, Australia, etc) in the early 1940’s were racists. What was different about Germans was that they tended to obsess most over Jews while others from nations with greater colonial interests obsessed most over darker-skinned Africans and Asians.

        The take-home message is that most German soldiers were NOT members of the Nazi Party, but most were racist. Likely Grass was too, at 17 years of age. Is he now? I don’t know what’s in the man’s heart, but I don’t see the least bit of antisemitism in the English-translation of his poem. Is that not the question that we should be focusing on? And if the answer is negative, we should move the discussion on to the validity or lack thereof of its message.

      • annie
        annie on April 5, 2012, 9:39 pm

        thank colin, woody, thomson. for some reason i thought that’s what all the german troops were called.

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich on April 5, 2012, 10:39 pm

        @ Thomson Rutherford,

        Just nitpicking – NAZI = Nazionalzosialist

        Side note: Towards the end of the war any and all able-bodied [German] men had to join in defending the collapsing Reich [young/Hitlerjugend] as well as the old/Volkssturm]

      • atime forpeace
        atime forpeace on April 5, 2012, 10:59 pm

        A moral argument stands on its own merit, the weight of the messenger is not needed to give it the value that the truth of the message carries.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        Thomson Rutherford on April 5, 2012, 11:19 pm

        i meant during the war thomson, were their other german soldiers besides nazis?

        Annie, surely you jest?

        During WWII approx. 18 million men (not all of them German nationals or ethnic German) served in the Wehrmacht (combined German armed forces – army, navy, and air force). Conscription of German nationals into the Wehrmacht began (actually was resumed in violation of the Treaty of Versailles) in 1935, and this conscription of Germans and foreign nationals under German control continued throughout the war (1939-45). It has been my understanding that the great majority of men serving in the Wehrmacht during the war, including German nationals, were conscripts – not volunteers. All German nationals upon entering the Wehrmacht were required to swear personal loyalty to the Fuhrer (Hitler). I don’t know if this requirement was imposed on all non-Germans serving. Except for a relative few, there was no requirement to join the Nazi Party, swear loyalty to it, or identify with its ideology.

        The Waffen-Schutzstaffel (weaponized arm of the SS) stood apart organizationally from the Wehrmacht, though it was integrated operationally under control of the Wehrmacht Supreme High Command (topped by Hitler). About 1 million men served in the Waffen-SS during the war, many of them foreign nationals. In total, about one-fifth of the W-SS during the war were conscripts. Conscription into the W-SS began in 1942-43, depending on the type of unit. All officers in the Waffen-SS were required to swear loyalty to Adolf Hitler by name – not to the Nazi Party or its political ideology. However, I feel sure that a greater percentage of the German-national officer corps in the W-SS chose to belong to the Nazi Party, as compared to the Wehrmacht officer corps.

        Guenter Grass, as I understand it, was a conscript into the Waffen-SS at age 17, not a volunteer. At the end of the war boys 14 and younger were found fighting in the Wehrmacht in defense of the Heimat. Nazis?

        P.S. in edit: I notice now a few others have already answered you. Should have saved the effort. :-)

      • peeesss
        peeesss on April 6, 2012, 2:27 am

        Winnica, will you speak of the moral character of Netanyahu’s father . a terrorist , racist, and proud of his past endeavors. Or that terrorists Begin and Shamir became elected Prime Ministers of the “only Democracy ‘ in the MI. Other Ministers Sharon, Livni, Peres,
        have the blood of thousands of innocents on their hands. Lets not mention Barack, Netanyahu, Omert and all the rest of that blood thirsty ,racist Zionist war criminals. One thing you are right about. They have not hidden their past activities. Actually they have all proclaimed the justice of their past actions and activities. Many books diary’s and literature heaps praise of them throughout the Zionist world. But the actions of a seventeen year old boy , who might not have harmed one human being, brings condemnation.

      • Brewer
        Brewer on April 6, 2012, 3:57 am

        “most German soldiers were NOT members of the Nazi Party, but most were racist”


        One must assume that you, Colin, are persuaded by post-war justifications of allied atrocities such as civilian bombings, the wholesale slaughter of refugees and the horrendous atomic bomb crimes – all initiated by us, or, should I say, the psychopathic politicians of the day.

        No. The entire citizenry of countries that find themselves in our gunsights did not suddenly, collectively, abandon their human values and become demons. The projection of such propaganda is the prerogative of the victors.
        How many times do you need to learn, after the fact, that the justifications for War are manifest and mostly myths?
        Did you learn nothing from Vietnam? Iraq?
        Have you read any first hand accounts of the situation in Germany during the period or do you rely solely on the cinema for your information?

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder on April 6, 2012, 8:07 am

        Winnica, we are talking about Germany in October 1944. By that time there weren’t hardcore Germans left to go over to the “elite” corps with flying flags. There surely were fanatical Hitler youth, but they hardly waited till they were conscripted. In fact at that point in time the Waffen SS had to take what it could get all over the place not just in Germany.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 6, 2012, 9:02 am

        “Just nitpicking – NAZI = Nazionalzosialist”

        Nope. Thomson had it right.

        In German, it is spelled, “Nationalsozialist” and thus, “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei” The “z” in “Nazi” came from the German pronunciation of the Latin root “tion,” (which has a “tz” sound) rather than its spelling. (Which is why Churchill’s pronunciation of “Nazi” as “NAH-see” made no sense at all.)

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 6, 2012, 9:41 am

        “The point being that Grass, it turns out, isn’t in the position to do much moralizing towards anyone; penning a long poem about actions of the Jewish State which haven’t happened is, how to put it: rich.”

        LMAO. For the state which brought about the terrorism of Cast Lead and the multi-generational horror of the Nakba and occupation, or its supporters, to be flattering itself to suggest it has any authority to morally judge anyone is laughably disgusting.

        Par for the course for Zios, though.

      • dahoit
        dahoit on April 6, 2012, 12:01 pm

        Yeah,and I wonder if the victims of the US military and the IDF don’t consider our Nazi like actions as equivalent to the SS,with our Seals,Green Berets and other Special(SS?) Forces.
        Let’s pin all of Hitlers crimes on a 16 year old draftee,yeah,that’s it!

      • Theo
        Theo on April 6, 2012, 12:24 pm

        Grass is now 84 years old, so at the end of WWII he was only 17!!!
        How can any idiot charge him with a “nazi past”? Close to the end of the war 16 and even 15 year olds were drafted and they were put into front units, where they died like flies, not having any decent training and were facing war veterans with years of experience.

        After the announcement of the poem, we had the pleasure of watching a full lineup of slimey politicians from different parties, all damning Grass and declaring their love and devotion to the state of Israel.
        I was ready to puke all over myself, devotion to a land of apartheid and mass murder of women and children.

        It is time the germans wake up, shake off the chain imposed on them by the zionist opportunists and see Israel what it really is.
        95% of the germans cannot be made guilty of the crimes commited during WWII and they should voice their resentment of still calling them nazis at any given time.
        The nazis moved to Israel, they are called now zionists.

      • Theo
        Theo on April 6, 2012, 12:32 pm


        Do you think they were worse than the Irgun or the Stern Gang?
        The leaders of those two terror organisations became PMs of Israel.

        And watching videos of how IDF soldiers today terrorize women and children in Palestine, bombard cities with white phosphorus, use rockets to kill leaders of political parties, break hands of stone throwing children, shoot unarmed peacefull demonstrators, destroy whole palestinian villages, the question arrises:

      • Theo
        Theo on April 6, 2012, 12:52 pm

        Here we could inject that most of our soldiers and the general population support our wars against Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, bombing pakistani and yemeni villages, etc.
        Stupid and ignorant people always flock behind the leaders, whatever they may be.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder on April 6, 2012, 1:16 pm

        Yes, Annie, a commander or whoever told him to get rid of his uniform, and he did. The SS had a special “education arm” too, I read some of their stuff. I am sure this archive is heavily studied since his book appeared. His division: 10. SS-Panzer-Division Frundsberg.

        But Winnica’s argument is silly nevertheless. Since I doubt they had much time for education from Oct. 1944 till February 20 something, when he was wounded. My father, same age as Grass’, got picked up by older soldiers in the same time frame, when his whole troop was gone, and he was terrified he could be shot as deserter the further he moved away. They found out that my father was a rather good draftsman. His first order was to falsify the call-up, they were tired and didn’t want to go were they were sent. This was among the stories my father told us. The man and the checkpoint looked rather long on the paper, my father was terrified he noticed. They had sent him to present it. Finally he nodded at him they could pass. Till the day he told us he was sure he knew. No one was sent to where they wanted to go Czechoslovakia at that time. But the older soldiers were all from Vienna and all they wanted was to go home, so they tried to get at least close to it.

        The SS was among the most feared by Germans too, but that of course is nothing one should mention.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        Thomson Rutherford on April 6, 2012, 1:44 pm

        … most German soldiers were NOT members of the Nazi Party, but most were racist. Likely Grass was too, at 17 years of age.

        Colin, I’m curious about your two statements above which I highlighted in bold. Do you mean ‘racist like most Europeans – and Americans- were in those days’? Do you mean German soldiers, through effects of (supposed) special political indoctrination, were more racist/anti-Semitic than the German (or, say, Polish) general populations? I rather doubt that, but would appreciate your mentioning any specific references that address the point.

        Can you share any insights you might have into the racial attitudes of one Guenter Grass around the age of 17, near the end of the war?

    • American
      American on April 5, 2012, 10:39 am

      Glass according to the article was 17 years old, barely old enough to shave when he was in the German military. You probably can’t find a living German of his age who wasn’t in the army in WWII. Like you can’t find an Israeli who hasn’t served in the IDF.
      You’d be wise to lay off demonizing every single German and Germans collectively who like most citizens of a country would, joined their army in war time and didn’t know of the atrocities to come.
      Unless of course you want us to collectively treat all Israelis the same way.

      • marc b.
        marc b. on April 5, 2012, 12:56 pm

        and for some historical context, what is more morally repugant: a teenager conscripted into his country’s military (is there any evidence that grass was directly responsible for harming an enemy soldier, never mind an innocent?) or a member of the stern gang boobytrapping a crate of oranges?

        LEHI (the “Stern Gang”) were pioneers in the use of terrorism, targeting Palestinian civilians “in a series of notorious bombings of Arab markets, cinemas, and coffee houses during 1937-38.” Avram Stern (a self-identified fascist and admirer of Mussolini) and his followers later innovated the use of the car bomb when they found that trap bombs, suitcase bombs, booby-trapped orange crates, and other disguised explosives were not capable of causing sufficient mayhem. (The use of these devices by Palestinians, Lebanese, etc. is, of course, treated as evidence of their inherent savagery.) The ultimate aim of LEHI was to provoke a violent reaction from the Palestinians, radicalizing both populations and undermining any opportunity for a mixed, democratic society. Thus, in response to a Palestinian attack in 1948, David Ben-Gurion wrote: “I had never imagined such destruction. I didn’t recognize the streets. Horror and hatred. But I couldn’t forget that ‘our’ thugs and murderers had blazed this trail in Haifa, at the King David, the Goldshmidt House and elsewhere.”

      • American
        American on April 5, 2012, 2:37 pm

        The Stern and Irgun also had a terrorist network in England. Letter bombing government officials in England itself.

        Jewish extremist proposed killing Churchill: MI5 records reveal 1944 plot by Stern Group

        Ask me who I think was behind the anthrax letters in the US.

      • American
        American on April 5, 2012, 2:48 pm

        The thing about the zionist is they attack even those who help them. They turned on England, calling it “worse than Hitler’ because England tried to uphold the immigration quotas agreed to. They demonize the UN that created their state for them.
        Everyone, without exception, who has ever had anything to do them has regretted it….the US will too in the end. They are vipers who need to be decapitated.

      • proudzionist777
        proudzionist777 on April 6, 2012, 8:07 am


      • proudzionist777
        proudzionist777 on April 6, 2012, 11:42 am

        Tell us, American. Who do you think was behind the anthrax attacks?

      • Les
        Les on April 5, 2012, 1:19 pm

        I had a cousin on the front lines in Germany at the end of the war where he shot from his foxhole at Germans in theirs. He never really talked about the war but did mention that one German woman who was shot to pieces couldn’t have been more than 17 years old. What he did not know was that at this stage of the war she was much more likely to have been nearer 13.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka on April 5, 2012, 11:01 am

      “Since his Nazi past was unveiled a few years back, however, after he’d covered it for more than 60 years, his moral weight was rather diminished.”

      How so? Mere membership in an organization, especially one under the compultion of state exercise of power, does not, itself, diminish one’s moral weight one whit.

    • Chu
      Chu on April 5, 2012, 11:03 am

      The current Pope (Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger) in 1941 was conscripted into the Hitler Youth. I guess his moral weight is rather diminished as well.

      • SimoHurtta
        SimoHurtta on April 6, 2012, 5:03 am

        Every German (and Austrian) young person had to join Hitller Jugend if they wanted to avoid severe personal and family sanctions. They had no options. Where does a 10 – 15 year old boy or girl go in a totalitarian state if he/she doesn’t agree? Hitler Jugend was a nationalistic combination of scouts and political Sunday schools.

        It is idiotic to claim that those teenagers had in Nazi Germany a change to radical “moral” decisions. Ratzinger went to Hitler Judend because he had to do that. Günther Grass was called to Waffen SS because ALL German boys of his age were commanded to join the army. What should those 16 – 17 years old boys have done, when even adults had no options? The young boys went to defend their country, not the political ideology or order.

      • Chu
        Chu on April 6, 2012, 1:40 pm

        it was a sardonic comment. sorry.

      • annie
        annie on April 6, 2012, 1:47 pm

        this is how i imagined it to be simo and how i imagine it to be for the idf kids too, although there is likely somewhat more opportunity to reject serving in the idf. but i understand society does make it harsh on ones family:

        I think that society will eventually blame them for my refuse, “how could they have a daughter that “betray” her own society”? It happened in past years, families of refusniks received hate letters, hate graffiti on the house walls etc. To be honest, Israel is becoming less tolerance for other views, “price tags” are now common against individuals and that’s something I’m keeping in mind, that someone can choose to target me or my family. My mom basically told me that she’d rather I leave the house if I’m going to get involved with jail and the army police, since she does not support this. That happened two years ago too, one of the refusnik’s was kicked out of the house short while before his jail time.

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye on April 5, 2012, 11:37 am

      Winnica, I had a friend some years ago whose mother was in one of those organizations. Her elderly father had lost both the sons of his first marriage to WWI, and was a complete pacifist, but the family would have suffered if she had not been encouraged to join. She was younger than Grass at the end of the war – is she as tainted as he is? Considering the level of Nazi indoctrination forced down the throats of German children?

      • American
        American on April 5, 2012, 1:19 pm

        Do people not remember “Hitler’s Youth Corps”, even grade school children were ‘required’ to join. The father of one of my college friends had been in Hitler’s Youth Corp before they got out of Germany. If your child wasn’t in it there were severe repercussions for the families.

    • justicewillprevail
      justicewillprevail on April 5, 2012, 12:01 pm

      Yes, always worth attacking the messenger instead of the message, when you have nothing useful to say on the subject of nuclear armed Israel and its destabilising influence on the ME.

    • quercus
      quercus on April 5, 2012, 1:24 pm

      Your criticism of a Nazi past or charges of anti-semitism carry no sting anymore nor will they ever again.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS on April 5, 2012, 3:51 pm

      This characterization of Grass is completely off.

      First he did not have a Nazi past, what he admitted to was serving in an SS division.

      At the age of 17, in November, 1944 (Germany had already lost the war, they would surrender 6 months later) he was drafted into an SS tank division. Germany had already suffered over 4 million combat deaths and somewhere near 10 million irreversible wounded. They had a severe shortage in soldiers and the regular army began drafting youth as young as 14. The reputation of the SS is based on the rear line regiments that controlled civilian populations. The SS also consisted of front line combat divisions, that served the role of shock troops, i.e. those units that spear head assaults against opposing armies. In the US we have the 101st and 82nd airborne divisions and the Marines that serve a similar role.

      A last point is that Gunter Grass was raised and educated in Prussia — this was the most highly militarized state in Germany, with a 300 year military tradition. Every child was exposed to intense military indoctrination and the glories of 300 years of victorious campaigns. The Nazi Party was not particularly strong in Prussia and indeed the May plotters that tried to assassinate Hitler were Prussian.

      There is absolutely nothing in this sketch that makes Gunter a former Nazi.

      Just another chapter in the Israeli playbook — if you can’t deal with the message then attack the messenger.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 5, 2012, 5:20 pm

        “A last point is that Gunter Grass was raised and educated in Prussia ”

        Actually, he was born, raised and educated in the Free City of Danzig, now Gdańsk, Poland. It had been separated from Prussia at Versailles.

      • lysias
        lysias on April 5, 2012, 5:34 pm

        Grass was born and raised in the Hanseatic Baltic port city of Danzig. Even though that city was within the province of West Prussia, it had the cultural flavor of a Hanseatic Baltic port. Commercial, not Junker.

        Because Danzig was made a free city under the League of Nations and outside Germany after World War One, a free city in which the Polish government had many rights, German nationalism was particularly inflamed there. Large parts of the provinces of West Prussia and Posen (Poznań) were taken from Germany and given to Poland at the same time, and, even though these areas had Polish majorities, they also had substantial German minorities, and the Germans felt aggrieved, rightly or wrongly. This served to intensify the German nationalism of the 95% German majority in Danzig.

        As a result, Nazism was quite powerful in Danzig. Until World War Two broke out, ultimate authority in the city belonged to the League of Nations High Commissioner, but the city had a local government that had a lot of power within the city. And the Nazi Party took over the local government in May-June 1933.

        The overwhelming majority of Danzig Germans fervently wanted to be reunited with the Reich. World War Two opened with the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein shelling the Polish fortress in Danzig harbor, and Danzigers greeted rapturously the arrival of German soldiers and, in short order, of Hitler himself into the city.

        Danzig was annexed to the Reich, and local government was taken over by the local party Gauleiter, Albert Forster. The Tin Drum deals with this period, and Forster makes a prominent appearance in the movie (and therefore, I would presume, in Grass’s book as well).

  3. pabelmont
    pabelmont on April 5, 2012, 10:07 am

    “may many free themselves of the bondage of silence,” : ALWAYS.

  4. Kathleen
    Kathleen on April 5, 2012, 10:16 am

    Good for Gunter! And he admits that his and others silence has been complicity. Last President to demand Israel open up to inspections was Kennedy. Since then we have heard Former President Carter, Brzezinski , Norman Finkelstein bring this outrageous double standard up. Many letters at the IAEA’s website form leaders in that world addressing the fear that many nations in that region live with due to Israel’s undeclared and un inspected nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

    I have heard hundreds of non Jews talk about and talk to their Reps for decades about this massive double standard.

    Mordechai Vanunu. What a brave man!

  5. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther on April 5, 2012, 10:22 am

    Nice one Phil.

    Nuclear weapons play a big time role in the conflict (not only I/P but I/ME)
    Its a little more than disconcerting that Israel has a nuclear arsenal, for obvious reasons. No shame in stating that fact.

    Masada was not an example to follow–it hurt the Romans not a whit, but Sampson in Gaza? With an H-bomb? What would serve the Jew-hating world better in repayment for thousands of years of massacres but a Nuclear Winter. Or invite all those tut-tutting European statesmen and peace activists to join us in the ovens?

    —David Perlmutter

    • American
      American on April 5, 2012, 12:44 pm

      “Jews well understand the consequences of passively accepting doom.”..LAT

      Too bad Israel and it’s supporters don’t understand the consquences of ‘inviting’ doom.

  6. Kathleen
    Kathleen on April 5, 2012, 10:33 am

    Great interview with Ted Turner about nukes and other issues.

    Who are your heroes? “Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King”
    What would you like to see happen? “Would like to see the world at peace”

    Damn hippie!

  7. on April 5, 2012, 10:33 am

    It’s strange that it took a poet to put the issue on the front pages of German papers – and cause such a controversy. What his poem says may be poetic fiction or may be not. But one thing is for sure: Israel’s ‘nuclear ambiguity’ and our tacit support is now gone in Germany.

  8. Chu
    Chu on April 5, 2012, 10:53 am

    While the Western focus is solely on Israel’s destruction, they are neglectful of the blood that will be spilled of the Iranian people. Preemptive war is worse than any other war. It starts bloodshed without the realization that a war may never occur.
    Besides, Israel’s dissolution will come with or without the Iranian strike. They cannot even draft a constitution, but they will always take more land, while proclaiming ‘We’re a democracy’ fellow westerners. If the western media wanted to turn to heat up on this glib occupation and land theft, they can start by asking the 60year-old state for a declaration and a constitution.

    “I admit: I will be silent no longer, because I am sick of the hypocrisy of the West”.
    It feels moral to stand up and say it as he did, and it’s contagious to others.

  9. on April 5, 2012, 10:58 am

    I want to ad a little anecdote on the matter.

    Some twenty years ago I talked to an Israeli at the International Frankfurt Book Fair. I said: ‘Israel has nuclear weapons, right?’ He said: ‘No’. Someone else asked me: ‘How do you know?’. I said: ‘UN Ambassador KirkPatrick said so on Larry King Live’.

    The Israeli shrugged his shoulders and said: ‘Yes we do, but we are told to say No when we are abroad’.

  10. Matthew Taylor
    Matthew Taylor on April 5, 2012, 10:58 am


  11. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka on April 5, 2012, 11:03 am

    LMAO. And, as predicted, and on cue, Israeli-born German historian Michael Wolffsohn joins the fray with typical nonsensical slurs:,1518,825942,00.html

  12. Pixel
    Pixel on April 5, 2012, 11:20 am

    “Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act.”
    — George Orwell

    Anyone who moves this conversation forward has undertaken a courageous act.

    • Pixel
      Pixel on April 5, 2012, 11:42 am

      This guy is in a perfect position to tell the truth because he’s got nothing to lose, nothing to fear. Anything that can be tossed at him is powerless because of his own admission of culpability.

      He tells a truth that others, who haven’t ever been culpable (i.e., every generation born in Germany following WW2), are even too afraid to speak about.

      Oddly, his poem may play an important role in Germany – and all of Europe – in getting people to finally stand up and refuse to be silenced and cowed any longer by those who use the Holocaust to hold others forever in moral captivity.

      • Pixel
        Pixel on April 5, 2012, 12:02 pm

        Courage is contagious.

      • lysias
        lysias on April 6, 2012, 7:06 pm

        There’s an interesting article in the latest New Yorker about Karl May, the German who wrote novels about the Wild West in the decades before the First World War.

        The author, Riva Galchen, observes that a German asked her (I’m assuming from her name that she’s a woman), during her recent travels in Germany researching for the article, why the U.S. has a Holocaust museum, but no museums about slavery or the genocide of the American Indians.

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen on April 5, 2012, 12:41 pm

      Grass admits his silence, his complicity. An important note. Some who are finally taking a stand are running with their tails between their legs. Caught in the act of decades of complicity. Important to admit this

  13. American
    American on April 5, 2012, 11:30 am

    I have thought for a while that even official German support for Israel is wearing thin or at least becoming conditional. Several small things like Merkel refusing to sell Israel Dolphin Subs until it released the tax money it was withholding from Palestine and then also making Israel pay more of the cost of the sub then they were required to pay in the past, plus more frequent and public official statements condemning their Palestine occupation.
    And signs the German population, now into it’s third generation away from Hitler is balking at eternal guilt responsibility.

    • Charon
      Charon on April 6, 2012, 1:01 pm

      As they should. I read an article a little while back written by an Israeli expressing outrage because of a German op-ed advocating ending reparations. The author even said something about Germany’s national consciousness must always carry the guilt. Modern Germany has nothing in common with WWII-era Germany. Why should Germans be eternally guilty? Why should a 13-year-old German, for example, be made to feel guilt for something that happened half a century before they were born? Learning about it is one thing, but national guilty consciousness for eternity? If reincarnation was real and somebody turned out to be a reincarnated totalitarian and murderous dictator, would people demand they be punished for their crimes in another life?

      I’m just trying to understand the thought process. I think it has everything to do with collective punishment. Germany was once a revival of the Western Roman Empire, then a constitutional empire as a result of warfare, then it became a smaller republic due to more warfare. This one fell on hard times and bred the environment that led to the Nazi take over. The end result 12 years later was a destroyed Germany with one side controlled by the Soviets for over 40 years. The whole territory was firebombed and in ruin. Displaced people were encamped and starved to death. Soviets confiscated homes and property in Eastern Germany. Their economy was notoriously destroyed for years while the allies occupied it. I’m not talking about Nazi war criminals being punished here, but all of ‘hey, I just live here’ Germany.

      Since that time period, Germany agreed to pay Israel reparations for the Holocaust. War criminals were punished. Anything eluding to the Nazi era is a punishable offense. And both sides of Germany reunified in 1990. The two sides are still very different from each other. The point I’m trying to make is that modern Germany is not only three Generations away from Hitler, it’s a completely different nation. The guilt is still there, so it takes guts to talk about that elephant in the room, Zionism and Israel. Israel’s behavior would not be tolerated were it any other nation. It’s the sensitive nature of it’s history and founding that make it a difficult topic to discuss, but if it isn’t discussed they will continue to get away with it.

  14. Kathleen
    Kathleen on April 5, 2012, 11:35 am

    Have folks seen this?

    We love you Iran and Israel. Power to the loving people! More of those damn hippie types

  15. giladg
    giladg on April 5, 2012, 11:36 am

    The biggest danger to world peace are the progressives who write the history books, and who leave out the transgressions of one side, thus creating a total distortion of the story. The printed book can be so misleading. There it is, on the shelf, so it must contain the truth. Would someone actually go to all that effort to print a book and not tell it all?

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka on April 5, 2012, 1:07 pm

      “The biggest danger to world peace are the progressives who write the history books”

      Yeah, because all those children who were burned to death by Israeli white phosphorus in Gaza actually died by progressives wielding history books…

      • proudzionist777
        proudzionist777 on April 5, 2012, 6:46 pm

        Proof of WP deaths please.

      • annie
        annie on April 5, 2012, 9:42 pm

        yuk, those photos are pretty gruesome pz.

      • giladg
        giladg on April 6, 2012, 2:05 am

        Take this up with Hamas, who are responsible for firing rockets and mortars from within their own civilian population. Mistakes in war will always, always, always happen. As Israel has been forced to protect itself and has been attacked more than most other nations, and with the international news media reporting on Israeli mistakes with a passion rarely seen or given to other nations (Syria for example), the implications of these mistakes are misunderstood in the bigger picture. Israel is not even given the latitude afforded to other countries, like Russia in Grozny, Syria in Homs, Nato in Afghanistan. Seen pictures of the wedding in Afghanistan that was bombed by Nato? Pretty gruesome ar.
        ar is now going to tell that the world should never have gone into Afghanistan. See what happens. Mistakes will always happen. Need to focus on the bigger picture.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on April 6, 2012, 5:16 am

        “Mistakes in war will always, always, always happen.”

        It’s not a “mistake”, if Israel uses weapons with a high radius of damage in dense populated areas.

        “Need to focus on the bigger picture.”

        Decoded: “Need to distract from Israel’s crimes”.

      • proudzionist777
        proudzionist777 on April 6, 2012, 7:53 am

        I read something about a rural Gazan family being burned to death when a WP shell hit their home. Of course, firing WP in a rural setting is legal and the WP shells used by the IDF in Cast Lead would detonate in mid air, and therefore wouldn’t land on a house unless the shell was a dud (which isn’t Israel’s fault).

        So that’s why I asked.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 6, 2012, 9:45 am

        “Proof of WP deaths please.”

        Mods, I thought Nakba denial was supposed to be followed by bannings. If this crap by pudracist isn’t Nakba denial, the a mention of Auschwitz followed by the question “proof of Zyklon B deaths please” isn’t holocaust denial.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 6, 2012, 9:51 am

        “Take this up with Hamas, who are responsible for firing rockets and mortars from within their own civilian population.”

        Baloney. The Jews chose to commit those crimes. They’re not excused by a few relatively harmless firecrackers any more than the Holocaust was excused by the unjust terms at Versailles. Unless you think a shrug and “take it up with Wilson, Lloyd George and Clemenceau” is an appropriate response in a discussion about the Nazis and their crimes.

        “Need to focus on the bigger picture.”

        You’re right. The bigger picture is the fact that the Palestinians are innocent people whose land is being stolen by a cancerous horde following an evil ideology.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 6, 2012, 9:54 am

        “Of course, firing WP in a rural setting is legal”

        Not if you fire it in the way the Jews did in Gaza, it isn’t.

        Besides, if rural v. urban makes a difference, pudfascist then don’t complain when people fire rockets into the fields outside of the colonial outpost of Sderot.

        “the WP shells used by the IDF in Cast Lead would detonate in mid air, and therefore wouldn’t land on a house unless the shell was a dud (which isn’t Israel’s fault).”

        Well, pudracist, that assumes that the Israelis are truthful, which they are not. No one but an idiot would believe anything they say without verification. And the Israelis would still be responsible for using weapons which are not fully effective.

    • marc b.
      marc b. on April 5, 2012, 1:41 pm

      The biggest danger to world peace are the progressives who write the history books, and who leave out the transgressions of one side, thus creating a total distortion of the story.

      fascinating, but what the hell are you talking about?

    • Talkback
      Talkback on April 5, 2012, 5:47 pm

      “Would someone actually go to all that effort to print a book and not tell it all?”

      Like Israel’s school books about 1948, giladg?

      • giladg
        giladg on April 6, 2012, 12:41 am

        The soldiers of the progressive movement are too lazy to actually read the books themselves. They are also in Hebrew so I am interested to read who has actually done the intellectual work pulling them apart. By the way, many Zionists in Israel complain of how the progressives, in Israel, have also manipulated the history books. Don’t tell me, Shlomo Sand, right or did you just generalize and speculate?

      • Talkback
        Talkback on April 6, 2012, 4:50 am

        Before you get more confused, watch this:

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 6, 2012, 10:00 am

        “By the way, many Zionists in Israel complain of how the progressives, in Israel, have also manipulated the history books.”

        Of course they do. Fascists and bigots of all stripes — Nazis, Italian fascists, Zios, American KKK, etc. — always complaint about progressives.

      • giladg
        giladg on April 6, 2012, 10:46 am

        Missing from the the mothers understanding of the world, which clearly leans left, are demands on the Palestinians to accept a Jewish Israel.
        Without this her analysis is typical progressive in nature, does not look back and does not understand what evil really is. Remember that every 8 or 9 years there have been wars in Israel. The direct action of the Palestinians should overwhelmingly point to the violent nature of how they have conducted themselves. Somehow progressives seem to let the Muslim world off the hook for evil they have caused. Why?
        There is a religious conflict going on. Okay, so the next textbook should show a Palestinian doctor as well, and there are plenty of them. This is not going to solve the conflict. The conflict will be solved when the Palestinians accept a Jewish independent country in the Middle East. This should be the starting point for Nurit. There are plenty of Israeli soldiers who have balanced opinions on Palestinians. More of them would not have saved her daughter. Palestinian textbooks are no better. Israel of today offers a high level of acceptance and religious freedom. Something good has emerged from Israeli text books after all.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 7, 2012, 2:28 pm

        “Remember that every 8 or 9 years there have been wars in Israel. ”

        Most all of them started by the Israelis. After repeatedly banging their heads against the wall in this fashion, you would think that even they would learn to change their behavior and recognize that the brutal oppression they’ve been inflicting on the rightful owners of the land for the past 100+ years doesn’t work.

        “The direct action of the Palestinians should overwhelmingly point to the violent nature of how they have conducted themselves.”

        Yes, resistance to an evil like Zionism is often violent.

        “The conflict will be solved when the Palestinians accept a Jewish independent country in the Middle East. This should be the starting point for Nurit.”

        No, the starting point should be the freedom, human rights and equality of every person in the region, should be the starting point. The “Jews first” bullshit you people have been pushing is exactly the problem.

    • Inanna
      Inanna on April 5, 2012, 6:34 pm

      Interesting how the criticisms that zionists make are often a projection of what zionists themselves have done…..

      • Sumud
        Sumud on April 6, 2012, 11:53 pm

        Interesting how the criticisms that zionists make are often a projection of what zionists themselves have done…..

        I have noticed this over and over Inanna, quite often American politicians and public figures do the same thing.

    • dahoit
      dahoit on April 6, 2012, 12:17 pm

      Progressives (allegedly)want progress.You are talking about regressives who want US to go back to caveman days of might makes right,and critique every enlightened author from Mr.Grass to our outdated and outmoded Anglo founding fathers who gave US our now outdated Constitution,a naive recipe for disaster in the neolibcon playbook of naked bigotry and hate.

  16. atime forpeace
    atime forpeace on April 5, 2012, 12:03 pm

    ut oh, the Germans reparations bill will multiply due to this social infraction by a representative of the entire German population, as we know the entire nation must be held accountable, well only in this case.

    damn the waves just keep breaking on Israel beach.

  17. Kathleen
    Kathleen on April 5, 2012, 12:23 pm

    Always better late than never

  18. ahadhaadam
    ahadhaadam on April 5, 2012, 12:52 pm

    I can understand Grass breaking the silence. After all, the West has reached new heights in the level of hypocrisy and double standards towards its old colonial slaves, where the country leading the charge against Iran’s supposed (no proof necessary) military nuclear program is the country that itself is not signed on the NPT and has hundreds of unreported and unsupervised nukes.

    The taking of the double standard to such new extremes is so blatant and has made it such a farce that the US is not even trying to put a facade of legality on it. It’s simply the same old colonial rule: one law for us the “enlightened”, another law for the native “savages”.

    And of course, we should always remember that with its endless spoiling and showering of gifts on its “special child”, with turning of a blind eye to ethnic cleansing and Apartheid, by supporting its wars of aggression and dispossession, by providing endless assistance and protection, the West has created a little monster in the Middle East.

  19. on April 5, 2012, 1:09 pm

    The critics of Grass frame him and his poem mainly in Freudian terms: guilt, suppression, projection etc. They know, ‘anti-Semites’ suffer from a mental illness. But why is Grass’ poem resounding. Obviously, a lot of people suffer from that ‘illness’. Even Netanyahu takes the trouble to address what in Freudian terms is a Grass-Neurosis.

  20. tree
    tree on April 5, 2012, 2:00 pm

    At a slight tangent to this topic, I noticed this below while perusing coverage of the Gunter Grass poem. It’s old news, from November 2010, but may have helped pave the way for Grass’ poem:

    Jewish Critic of Israel Chosen to Speak at Frankfurt’s Kristallnacht Commemoration

    An Israeli diplomat in Germany condemned the city of Frankfurt on Sunday for inviting a Jewish intellectual who has been critical of Israel to speak at a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nov. 9, 1938, attacks on Jewish synagogues and businesses in Nazi Germany.

    The keynote address at Tuesday’s commemoration of the pogrom at Paulskirche, a former church in Frankfurt that is a symbol of German democracy, will be delivered by Alfred Grosser, who was born in the city 85 years ago, before fleeing to France with his family at the age of 8. Last year, he published a book called “From Auschwitz to Jerusalem,” in which he suggested that Germany was not critical enough of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians because of the legacy of the Holocaust.

    “From the German side they don’t say anything because of Auschwitz,” Mr. Grosser told the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle last year. He added, “When the Israelis want something from the Germans, they like to remind them of Auschwitz.”

    Mr. Grosser, a retired professor of political science who was considered one of the architects of postwar reconciliation between France and Germany, also said last year that he was pro-Palestinian, “because the Palestinians are despised, are occupied, and I think that the majority of Israel’s citizens despise Palestinians.”

    In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s deputy chief of mission in Germany, Emmanuel Nahshon, said that Frankfurt’s decision to invite Mr. Grosser to speak at the memorial “casts an unfortunate and unnecessary shadow on the event.” He also said that Mr. Grosser’s criticism of Israel was “illegitimate and immoral,” and suggested that his “extreme opinions are tainted by self-hatred.”

    Mr. Grosser responded by telling the Post that “criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism have nothing to do with each other. It is rather Israel’s policies that promote anti-Semitism globally.” He also told the Israeli newspaper that he plans to criticize Israel during his speech on Tuesday and will refer to the founding father of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, to support his argument that there should be “no discrimination by sex and religion” in Israel.

    In a letter to Frankfurt’s mayor, Petra Roth, Germany’s Central Council of Jews condemned the invitation to Mr. Grosser, saying that he “does not tire [of] equating the situation of the Palestinian population with the fate of millions of Jewish men, women and children during the Shoah… and for this reason plays down the Holocaust and the unspeakable suffering of the victims of National Socialism.”

    As the German magazine Der Spiegel reported, last year Mr. Grosser accused the Central Council of silencing any criticism of Israel. Mr. Grosser told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, “As soon as a voice against Israel rises up, it’s immediately called ‘anti-Semitic.’” He added, “the worst is the Central Council of Jews.”

    more at link…

  21. lysias
    lysias on April 5, 2012, 2:04 pm

    Well, Bibi seems not to be too happy about Grass’s poem: Facebook: Prime Minister Netanyahu comments on the hateful peom by Guenter Grass:

    Prime Minister Netanyahu comments on the hateful peom by Guenter Grass
    by The Prime Minister of Israel on Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 7:09am ·
    Guenter Grass’s shameful moral equivalence between Israel and Iran, a regime that denies the Holocaust and threatens to annihilate Israel, says little about Israel and much about Mr. Grass.

    It is Iran, not Israel, that is a threat to the peace and security of the world.

    It is Iran, not Israel, that threatens other states with annihilation.

    It is Iran, not Israel, that supports terror organizations that fire rockets on innocent civilians.

    It is Iran, not Israel, that is supporting the Syrian regime’s massacre of its own people.

    It is Iran, not Israel, that stones women, hangs gays and brutally represses tens of millions of its own citizens.

    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.

    But decent people everywhere should strongly condemn these ignorant and reprehensible statements.

    Marc Neunueller’s comment says it all:

    Its [sic] is Israel, not Iran who has the atomic Bombs.

  22. on April 5, 2012, 2:07 pm

    An early sign of Grass’ suspected ‘anti-Semitism’.

    The famous literary critic Reich-Ranicki, a Polish Jew of German-Jewish descent on his mother’s side, who came to Germany after WW II recounts his first encounter with Günter Grass in 1958 (His biographie ‘My Life’, page 1):

    “He engaged me in a conversation … and wanted to know: ‘Now, what are you actually — a Pole, a German or what?’ The words ‘or what’ pointed at a third possibility. I quickly replied: ‘I am half a Pole, half a German, and a whole Jew.’ ”

    Reich-Ranicki goes on to say that Grass liked his bonmot very much. But still, ever since some doubt lingered on that Grass had a problem with the concept of Jewish identity. He is not the only one, Phil Weiss has that too.

    • annie
      annie on April 5, 2012, 2:25 pm

      oh please, theatrics aside, it is perfectly understandable after the war, after people relocated, to ask how they identified nationally. Reich-Ranicki was squeezing meaning out of an ordinary question to possibly suit a political agenda and now you’re conflating grass to phil? hello.

      further more grass’s question didn’t imply a ‘problem’ with jewish identity.

      • on April 5, 2012, 2:43 pm

        An identity usually ads up to 100 %.
        Reich-Ranicki – in his own bonmot – is 50% Polish + 50% German +100% Jewish = 200% Reich-Ranicki.

        Isn’t that true for Phil also: 100% American by spirit and nationality + 100% Jewish by birth = 200% Philip Weiss.

      • annie
        annie on April 5, 2012, 2:59 pm

        klaus, the idea of ethnicities as ‘nations’ is not an idea roundly shared by most people. the idea, in terms of humanities longevity, is new. if jews want to call themselves a nation don’t reference people who don’t understand that as having a problem with it.

        An identity usually ads up to 100 %.

        really? you mean it is common for people think of their identities in percentage pts, i don’t think so. if someone asks casually how one identifies referencing two countries it’s not necessarily imperative one mention ones religion. people don’t say i’m 60% american and 40% christian or mormon or whatever. and if they didn’t it wouldn’t mean they had a problem with their identity. if hat you say is true, that identity usually ads up to 100 %, then a typical american jew who does not have (as you allege) a problem with the concept of Jewish identity, what portion of their identity is would they claim as jewsih? as if it was separate from their identity as an american. and who are you to label that, like Reich-Ranicki, a problem?

      • on April 5, 2012, 3:09 pm

        Of course Annie, I’m joking.
        But there might be some truth to it. I guess we two poor souls just ad up to 100%. We are just half the identity-size of geniuses like Reich-Ranicki and Phil. That’s the downside. But the upside is that neither we nor others have a problem with our identity.

      • annie
        annie on April 5, 2012, 3:22 pm

        of course, i forgot you joke while making pts. now i recall we’ve had this conversation about jokes before.

        We are just half the identity-size of geniuses like Reich-Ranicki and Phil.

        Reich-Ranicki didn’t sound like any kind of genius to me. he was an officer in the communist secret police where he worked in the censorship department. thrilling.

        But the upside is that neither we nor others have a problem with our identity.

        oh really.

      • on April 5, 2012, 3:47 pm

        Phil often writes about balancing his American identity with his Jewish background. That seems to be a problem. From what I have read, I figure he is: 90% American universalism +10% Jewish tribalism (haunting him).

      • on April 5, 2012, 4:17 pm

        I forgot to tell you something Annie. Although I am located 9 time zones away from you, I listen real time to KCSM, the Bay Area Jazz & Blues Station from San Mateo. That keeps me in touch with California and you.

      • annie
        annie on April 5, 2012, 11:18 pm

        i don’t listen to local radio klaus, so i’m not sure how it is that keeps you in touch with me.

        Phil often writes about balancing his American identity with his Jewish background. That seems to be a problem.

        your problem perhaps, it seems to be phil’s saving grace. lots of people actually like it, admire it, honor it and quote it. but if you have a problem with it, own it yourself, do not imagine it is someone else’s problem, or phil’s:

        I will have a Jewishness that is authentic to my experience.

        that is not a problem, it is a blessing.

      • Theo
        Theo on April 6, 2012, 12:44 pm

        Reich-Ranicki was also a communist spy working for polish intelligence stationed at the embassy in London. A real turncoat, if I may say so.

      • on April 6, 2012, 1:48 pm

        You got me wrong Annie, I admire Phil and his honest writing about his Jewish background. I have learnt a lot. Also what Krauss has written.
        But obviously there is need (maybe I shouldn’t have said ‘problem’) to reconcile two sides.

      • on April 6, 2012, 2:14 pm

        And one more thing: I am statistician by training. So I like to quantify things – just for the hell of it.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on April 6, 2012, 5:36 pm

        “So I like to quantify things – just for the hell of it.”

        Gosh, I never knew statistician’s had such stringent, demanding ethics.
        And as soon as you put a number on it (“just for the hell of it”) it becomes real. That’s the beauty of lies, damn lies, and statistics.
        What a cruel thing the 19th Century was! Leaving like that and not taking Klaus with it.

    • optimax
      optimax on April 5, 2012, 7:59 pm

      It’s absurd to say with certainty Grass’s “or what” meant Jew. It sounds like a percieved slight more than an intended one.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 6, 2012, 10:23 am

        “It’s absurd to say with certainty Grass’s “or what” meant Jew. It sounds like a percieved slight more than an intended one.”

        I agree, optimax, especially considering that Glass has relatives who were Kashubian (his mother was Polish and Kashubian.) So to suggest that there were only three possibilities and precluding two of them necessarily left “Jewish” as the third.

  23. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger on April 5, 2012, 2:19 pm

    Good to see three articles in one day here at Mondoweiss on the cultural battlefronts – this one, Rich Siegel’s on the pulling of the review of his new jazz album, and Eleanor Kilroy’s on the push to have Kadima Israeli National Theater excluded from the upcoming Globe Shakespeare Festival.

    Having been a part of this aspect of the struggles for Palestinian rights now for almost exactly eight years, it seems to me that conscientious artists, art troupes/ensembles and arts organizations are making important gains. Hopefully, more and more of these individuals and orgs fighting the Zionist cultural-political machinery or asserting for Palestinians will connect with each other often and effectively.

    Is anyone aware of a web site or blog that seeks to keep up with all the artistic activities and protests worldwide in this arena? Thinking of starting one if one doesn’t already exist.

  24. Taxi
    Taxi on April 5, 2012, 3:46 pm

    So in under one week Apartheid israel manages to pronounce cultural icons like Ema Thompson and Gunter Grass as antisemitic for criticizing israel’s warmongering and ethnic cleansing – exposing to the cyberactive multilingual world what a decrepit, delusional and vindictive bunch zionists really are.

    Well I’d say this is proving to be an important week in the media wars regarding the push for a strike on Iran, israel’s illegal and vast stock of W.M.D.’s, and the unbearable western hypocrisy that’s endangering the world and the futures of all children on earth.

    Gunter’s poem is a giant earthquake. And the label of ‘antisemitic’ ain’t working the way it used to – judging by the 90% web commentaries expressing support for Gunter (and Ema’s) message. People aren’t buying it cuz it’s clear to them that the term is being used to slur recognized peaceful citizens, and it’s clearer to people too that the term is being abused by the jews themselves. Ironic huh?

    Did Gunter start a German Spring – to free the German youth from the dictatorship of the holocaust?

    I would even go as far as saying that I count this week as the beginning of the end of the holocaust industry.

  25. wondering jew
    wondering jew on April 5, 2012, 5:45 pm

    Granting my amateur status as a military analyst:
    My impression is that German submarines enable Israel to have a strike back capacity in case of attack by nukes and this capacity would serve as a deterrent against a first strike by Iran and thus make an Iranian nuclear capacity more acceptable so that the mutually assured destruction aspect is enhanced.

    Israel’s nukes are sometimes reassuring, often scary, even to an Israel supporter like myself. Iran’s nukes, when they come, or when they are only a few turns of a wrench away, should be scary to everyone, unless you’re of the school that all countries should have nukes, even North Korea. Mutually Assured Destruction is hardly reassuring and containment might work better if Iran were located half a world away next door to North Korea, rather than right near the Straits of Hormuz and close enough to send weapons to Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. An Iranian nuke is not just a fear born of paranoia, but a very real fear. I assume the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US has measured the dangers of an Iranian nuke and found them to be quite real. Whether it would be better for the US to go to war in order to obstruct that danger or not is a real question, but an Iranian nuclear capacity is not “just a fear” nor something minimal.

    • annie
      annie on April 5, 2012, 9:46 pm

      the US has measured the dangers of an Iranian nuke and found them to be quite real

      quite real if they were real you mean. un huh. as i recall wasn’t that based on the ‘fact’ iran has shown the wherewithall to attack us before based on the mexican drug mafia?


      Iran’s nukes, when they come, or when they are only a few turns of a wrench away, should be scary to everyone

      yeah, because unlike israel they have a history of attack and invasion/not

    • RoHa
      RoHa on April 6, 2012, 2:53 am

      “Israel’s nukes are sometimes reassuring, often scary, even to an Israel supporter like myself.”

      I find nothing reassuring in the idea of Israel’s nukes. Israel is an aggressive and paranoid country that regularly attacks its neighbours. Its leaders sound like dangerous madmen.

      “Iran’s nukes, when they come, or when they are only a few turns of a wrench away, should be scary to everyone”

      There is no indication that they ever will come. When they do, they will certainly be no scarier than Israel’s. Iran has not attacked its neighbours. The leadership of Iran seems to be no more paranoid than is usual among national leaders, and seem far saner than the Israelis.

      “close enough to send weapons to Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.”

      Do you seriously believe it is likely that if the Iranians had nuclear weapons, they would pass control of those weapons over to anyone else?

      “I assume the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US has measured the dangers of an Iranian nuke and found them to be quite real.”

      They have probably estimated the dangers of an Iranian nuke, but why assume they have found them real? What evidence do you have?

      “Whether it would be better for the US to go to war in order to obstruct that danger or not is a real question”

      It would be totally unethical to go to war for such a reason.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on April 6, 2012, 5:41 pm

        ““Whether it would be better for the US to go to war in order to obstruct that danger or not is a real question””

        That may be a real question or not. You can tell by looking for the question mark. That always gives it away.
        Of course, if it is a question of War on Iran, one thing there’s no question about is who will “wonder” into the front lines of brave Americans willing to fight that war. E-mail us from Tehran, “Wonderful Jew”

    • Charon
      Charon on April 6, 2012, 12:14 pm

      Those Israeli submarines in the Mediterranean whose location is secret and always moving aren’t to deter Iran. They’re to collectively punish the world if Israel is ever incapacitated. A second strike option which is intended to bring the world down with it for not helping. The Samson option. The subs exist. Israel prepared to nuke Egypt and Syria in 1973 unless the US helped them (blackmail by the way). They called it losing the third temple. I believe the Samson option is an actual policy.

      I also don’t trust Israel. I trust a nuclear armed Iran. And there is no nuclear armed Iran. Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons. No matter how many times a lie is repeated, that doesn’t make it true. Iran never threatened to wipe Israel from the map, that was an interpretation of an exaggerated mistranslation. And Iran is already contained, it’s surrounded (literally) by US military bases:

      Iran also has the largest Jewish population in the ME outside of Israel. The Iranian people, despite the older religious leaders wishes, have become ‘Westernized’ and the Faravahar has been popularized as a national symbol despite being associated with another religion and also the Shah’s regime. The youth today are the leaders tomorrow. Iran doesn’t need regime change and it won’t need a revolution, the dictators will just be phased out by the people. This whole fear mongering over Iran being some sort of big bad evil fascist danger is beyond ridiculous, a media falsification of fact compared to the actual reality. Most people don’t know because they can’t see it.

    • dahoit
      dahoit on April 6, 2012, 12:26 pm

      Every country should have nukes except the batsh*t crazy ones like US,Britain France and Israel.

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder on April 6, 2012, 2:06 pm

      Mutually Assured Destruction is hardly reassuring and containment might work better if Iran were located half a world away next door to North Korea,

      wondering, from the military experts, I sometimes visit, I heard the argument that mutual deterrence actually prevents wars. If we take the one hot period under Kennedy out, it seems to fit. On the other hand, there is a reason for Dr. Strangelove, remember? The question is, can we be sure our leaders are always in their right minds?

      rather than right near the Straits of Hormuz and close enough to send weapons to Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.

      I doubt Hezbollah and Hamas have the capabilities to handle nukes. Are you indicating Iran could tinker something that would be easier to transport and use? , So far the whole dirty bombs scenario is a mind-child of the West. Are they experimenting? Maybe we should carefully watch our own secret facilities?

      I don’t think Grass’ poem is good, maybe it was written in a hurry, but I understand his fear. Western hypocrisy, and the fact that before demanding the world stop Iran’s development, Israel should officially admit its own capabilities and allow the world’s inspection. Or is that possibility not on their adminstration’s West-East-Clash-horizon? Remember, Obama invited him to America to a conference for nuclear proliferation. I understand Grass’ fear, I occasionally had fears of another world war in the larger scenario, lately mainly created by Israel’s activities,
      again, if I do not buy into Goldberg’s (or his Israeli partners) meme, that Obama is feigning and wants to attack anyway.

      concerning blood libel and Pesach, he initially offered it to DIE Zeit, the feuilleton crowd accepted it for publication, but they were stopped higher up, Giovanni diLorenzo, the editor and advertisement image of Die Zeit. Someone, I don’t like very much and as long as I read the paper, I considered pretty close to the neocons in many ways. All this must have postponed the publication, so whoever arguments this way should look closer.

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew on April 7, 2012, 4:38 am

      I will try to clarify.

      I think the ayatollahs of Iran want a nuke. Despite this, I oppose an Israeli attack on Tehran. I don’t believe Obama will attack Iran unless he has the full backing of the Joint Chiefs. I would prefer Obama to Romney partially because Obama is not eager to go to war against Iran and Romney portrays himself in a somewhat eager fashion. I assume the Joint Chiefs are not pleased by the prospect of an Iranian bomb, based on what Mullen has said in front of the Senate. I doubt anyone without extensive study can really claim to know how close or far Iran is from a nuke.

      I think Iran’s leadership is shitty: nondemocratic, retrograde, supplies weapons to Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. Even many of those who are in the Middle East and hate Israel have learned to hate Syria, Iran and Hezbollah. This is due to the killing done in the last year by Assad. Hamas moved out of Damascus, but Nasrallah is too slow to react and Iran is Assad’s second favorite enabler, after Mother Russia. But some of you think uttering a negative word about Iran is equivalent to uttering a positive word about Israel oppressing the Palestinians, which clearly it is not. (Clearly anyone can use any word to distract from another word. But also clearly Israel’s bad acts are not exonerated by labeling Iran or Syria as villains.)

      I have read here (elsewhere in the comments) that the jury is still out on Assad. It may be that what comes after Assad will be worse than Assad, that does not mean to me that the jury is still out on Assad, just that Assad is a killer and maybe the next act is even worse. The jury is not out on Assad. Nor should it be. The jury might have to be bribed to consider something other than Assad’s evil, but the jury is solidly in on Assad.

      Rabin, no saint, but a clear eyed pragmatist, was willing to go along with the Oslo accords because of his fear of a nuclear Iran (and his vision that Israel should compromise on the Palestinian issue in order to solidify support against Iran and the danger it and its potential nukes would pose.) So at least since 1993 all leaders of Israel have feared Iranian nukes. It is not merely a Netanyahu scarecrow. It is a real fear.

      I do not worry about Iran giving a nuke to Hezbollah, Syria or Hamas. The weapons I was referring to were conventional weapons, not nukes. Iran is a player in the war against Israel. If you favor warring against Israel you can consider this a good thing. But to paint Iran as a bystander regarding Israel is untrue. And its rhetoric is certainly not innocent.

      I oppose an Israeli attack on Iran, certainly at this time and until Meir Dagan says that he favors an attack. At that time I will have to reconsider. As far as an American attack, I would consult with the Joint Chiefs and if they all favored an attack, I would favor an American attack on Iran.

      As far as Grass’s poem I think Derfner’s critique in 972 is on target: It is not a small fear (although Netanyahu is drumming up the fear beyond proportion) and Israel does not seek to annihilate the Iranians. Derfner is on the front lines fighting against Netanyahu and Barak’s “desire” to attack Iran and therefore he considers these two criticisms as minor, considering the battle that Derfner is fighting. I don’t know if these criticisms are minor or major.

  26. eGuard
    eGuard on April 5, 2012, 6:28 pm

    Frank Schirrmacher (FAZ): end of stature. Hit by the Auschwitz-club.

  27. Les
    Les on April 5, 2012, 7:14 pm

    Compare the Süddeutsche Zeitung with our dreadful media.

    April 05, 2012
    The NYT – A U.S. Government Propaganda Outlet

    U.S. Sees Iran in Bid to Stir Unrest in Afghanistan

    … according to American officials. … American officials have closely studied the episodes … according to interviews with more than a dozen government officials … One United States government official described … American officials say … Afghan and American officials said … but American officials see a pattern … American officials say … one United States official said. Intelligence analysts emphasize … prompted American and other intelligence agencies to renew … American officials say … according to American officials … One American intelligence analyst noted …

    There is not a word in the piece on why the U.S. government may have an interest in badmouthing Iran or on how these allegations fit the facts. Obviously the piece was simply dictated by officials and written down by some lobotomized robots.

    How those writers are still able to look into a mirror and to call themselves “journalists” is beyond me.

  28. Ira Glunts
    Ira Glunts on April 5, 2012, 7:26 pm

    Here is the Israeli journalist and historian Tom Segev on Grass with a new and bizarre twist on the old anti-Semite smear. Segev says Grass has a strange mental disease. The German novelist although not an anti-Semite has purposely acted in a way that would cause people to incorrectly believe that he [Grass] is an anti-Semite.

    What are bunch of crap. Please Tom, you are better than this.

    Segev wrote “The Seventh Million…” a fascinating book about the Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Israel and the indifference they faced in their new homeland. The Holocaust did not develop as an Israeli obsession until the 60s. The book never made the Hasbara Top Ten Shoah Reads list and for good reason.

    Here is Segev quoted in the Guardian:

    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 [Segev] 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.”

    I commend Grass for speaking the truth and taking the hit he knew would be forthcoming. If enough powerful voices speak up, maybe this insane rush to attack Iran will disapear from the page of time. I guess we can’t count on Tom Segev in this battle. Too bad. He has been a voice of moderate reason in the past.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka on April 6, 2012, 10:06 am

      “Segev says Grass has a strange mental disease.”

      That’s an interesting way to put it. It is a sign of the authoritarian mind to attribute to mental disease disagreement with the authoritarian’s ideas. There is a very Orwellian streak to the Zionist attempt to quash any criticism of Israel.

      • Charon
        Charon on April 6, 2012, 12:19 pm

        Zionist indoctrination creates mental illness. So if you are already mentally ill yourself, normal probably seems mentally ill.

      • dahoit
        dahoit on April 6, 2012, 12:37 pm

        I saw some academic from Oregon used the same terminology in dissing critics of the AGW campaign,as they need treatment for their mental disease of questioning group think by the same class of clowns who brought US Iraq,Afghanistan,Iran and all the rest of the nonsensical idiocy in our world today.
        The fruits of serial lying are skepticism,and even possibly eschewing reality of an actual threat(AGW-who knows for sure,give US the data free from politics,but with all the current events of political idiocy lead me to believe that there will be no stopping it and we will adapt if true).

  29. Carowhat
    Carowhat on April 5, 2012, 8:14 pm

    I wondered when I started reading this thread how long it would take someone to call Grass a Nazi. You got to it in the second comment. Which is pretty much what I’d come to expect for Israel apologists. Always keep nuclear option of dropping the anti-Semite bomb within arm’s reach.

  30. on April 5, 2012, 8:31 pm

    Grass on German TV tonight

    The interviewer said: ‘Aren’t you turning the victims into perpetrators. Israel evolved from the Holocaust.’ That’s the German thing. – But Israelis today aren’t the refugees or survivors (and their descendants) of the Holocaust. 90% aren’t. Their claim on ‘Judea and Samaria’ isn’t based on Hitler’s persecusion of the Jews. Grass isn’t really aware of that. His point was mainly: Everybody critizises Iran – so someone has to criticize Israel also. Fair enough, but not good enough.

    It’s not Günter Grass who was bold with his poem/text – it was the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich, who was bold to publish it. Primarily the paper counts not Grass.

  31. Talkback
    Talkback on April 5, 2012, 9:25 pm

    “Tom Segev says Grass is “pathetic” and is guilty about his Nazi past.”

    That’s code. Segev wants to secretely tell us that anyone who has served in the IDF and criticizes Palestinians is pathetic and guilty about his Zionist past.

    Oh, he’s too clever for us naughty people.

  32. Carowhat
    Carowhat on April 6, 2012, 1:06 am

    It is astonishing to see here on this website (once more) what an astonishing tool the anti-Semitic/Nazi charge is. Gunter Grass writes a poem that criticizes Israel’s unacknowledged nuclear weapons and the second person to comment on his poem suggests that Grass had no right to raise such an issue due to his “Nazi past.”

    And now virtually all the posts are either attacks on (or apologies for) Grass while the hypocrisy of Israel’s claiming the exclusive right to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East is totally forgotten. Come on guys. You got to be smarter than this. The question today is not whether Grass was a Nazi when he was 17. The far more important issue is whether or not Israel is going to drag us into yet another war to maintain her monopoly on Middle East nucs.

  33. Brewer
    Brewer on April 6, 2012, 3:25 am

    Another translation, in my view, more literate. I regret I cannot acknowledge the translator, all I know is he/she is described as an Austrian/American:

    What must be said
    Why have I been silent, silent for so long?,
    Our generals have gamed it out,
    Confident the west will survive.
    We people have not even been considered.

    What is this right to “preventive war”?
    A war that could erase the Iranian people.
    Dominated by it’s neighbor, pulsing with righteousness
    Smug in the fact that it is they, not Iran,
    Who have the Bomb.

    Why have I so far avoided to identify Israel by it’s name?,
    Israel and it’s ever increasing nuclear arsenal,
    Beyond reproach, Uncontrolled, uninspected.

    We all know these things
    Yet we all remain silent, fearful of being labeled:

    Considering Germany’s past these labels stick
    So we call is “business”, “reparation” take your pick,
    As we deliver yet another submarine.
    As we provide to Israel the means to deliver annihilation.
    I say what must be said.

    Why did I stay silent until now?
    Because I’m German, of course.
    I’m tainted by a stain I cannot wash out
    I’m silent because I want so badly to make it right
    To put my sins in the past and leave them silently there.

    Why did I wait to say it until now?
    And write these words with the last of my ink?
    Declaring that Israel threatens world peace?
    Because it is true and it must be said,
    Tomorrow will be too late.

    We Germans now carry a new burden of sin on our shoulders
    Through the weapons we have sold
    We are helping to carry out this foreseeable tragedy
    No excuse will remove our stain of complicity.

    It must be said. I won’t be silent
    I’ve had enough of the hypocrisy;
    Please shed the silence with me,
    The consequences are all too predictable.
    It’s time to demand free and permanent control
    of BOTH Israel’s nuclear arsenal
    AND Iran’s nuclear facilities
    enforced with international supervision.

    It’s the only way, in a land convulsed with insanity,
    Israelis, Palestinians, everybody, will survive.
    And we too, will survive.

    • Talkback
      Talkback on April 6, 2012, 5:42 am

      The translation in Phillip’s article is spot on and the freestyle one you quote is full of errors and omissions.

      • Brewer
        Brewer on April 6, 2012, 7:57 am

        Works better for me without the mid-European grammatical and syntax bloopers but a matter of taste I guess. Whatever blows your skirt up.

  34. upsidedownism
    upsidedownism on April 6, 2012, 8:14 am

    carowhat is right. The ad hominem attacks on Grass are a typical hasbara attack style.

    Grass’s past is not important. What is important is israeli policies, in particular its nuclear policies as well as its nuclear weapons.

    Israel and its supporters criticize Iran for not living up to the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) which it has signed. Iran is also accused of not cooperating with inspectors sent under the terms of the NPT.

    The point to make is that Iran has signed the NPT. For Israel, there is no treaty. There are no inspectors. Israel has no right to comment on Iran’s nuclear industry at least until Israel itself has signed up to the NPT and allows inspectors.

    Israel instead has an ‘ambiguity policy’ (in other words, a ‘dishonesty policy’) and pretends it has no nuclear weapons at all. Unfortunately many western governments (US, UK) have adopted Israel’s ‘ambiguity policy’ and the MSM for the most part slavishly follows the Israel doctrine as well.

  35. lysias
    lysias on April 6, 2012, 11:33 am

    Grass isn’t backing down. Der Tagesspiegel: Grass legt nach und warnt vor “Drittem Weltkrieg” [Grass Lays it On, Warns of “Third World War”]:

    Günter Grass sieht sich an den Pranger gestellt und hält an seiner Kritik fest. Jetzt warnt er vor einem “Dritten Weltkrieg”, der drohe, falls Israel Iran angreife.

    Interesting observation by Grass later in the article:

    Als Fehler bezeichnete es der Autor, dass in seinem Gedicht von Israel und nicht konkret von Israels Regierung die Rede sei. Er hege große Sympathien für das Land und wünsche, dass es auch in Zukunft Bestand habe. Er selber würde eine Föderation zwischen palästinensischen Gebieten und Israel als politische Vision bevorzugen, aber dies sei zur heutigen Zeit nicht vorstellbar.

    So Grass would prefer as his political vision a federation between the Palestinian Territories and Israel, although he considers this possibility as “unimaginable” at the present time.

    • annie
      annie on April 6, 2012, 12:31 pm

      google translate:

      Günter Grass is confronted in the pillory and sticks to his criticism. Now he warns of a “third world war” that threatens, if Israel attacking Iran.

      When the error referred to the author that was not a factor in his poem of Israel and of Israel’s government speech. He have great sympathy for the country and wish that it did so in the future inventory. He himself would prefer a federation between the Palestinian territories and Israel as a political vision, but this is not the time to imagine today.

      • lysias
        lysias on April 6, 2012, 12:40 pm

        For those who can read German, the comments that appear below the Tagesspiegel article are extremely interesting. The usual hasbarists, but a lot of people who disagree with them.

      • lysias
        lysias on April 6, 2012, 6:59 pm

        Der Tagesspiegel happens to be the newspaper I regularly read during the two years that I was stationed in Berlin with the U.S. Air Force. (Well, my military duties also obliged me to read the official newspaper of East Germany, Neues Deutschland, a paper that our own U.S. newspapers have more and more come to resemble.)

      • lysias
        lysias on April 6, 2012, 12:43 pm

        Als Fehler bezeichnete es der Autor, dass in seinem Gedicht von Israel und nicht konkret von Israels Regierung die Rede sei.

        Google’s translation of that sentence is not intelligible English, so let me try:

        The writer [i.e., Grass] said it was a mistake on his part to have spoken in his poem about Israel, and not specifically about the Israeli government.

        And the next sentence,

        Er hege große Sympathien für das Land und wünsche, dass es auch in Zukunft Bestand habe.

        I would translate:

        He said he had great sympathy for the country and hoped that it would continue to exist in the future.

      • annie
        annie on April 6, 2012, 1:14 pm

        thanks lysias

      • on April 6, 2012, 1:11 pm

        “The author [Grass] considers it a mistake that in his poem he talks about Israel instead of more concrete about the Israeli government. He harbors great affection toward Israel and wishes that the country will continue to exist safely. As a vision he would prefer a federation between the Palestinian territories and Israel, but that is currently not imaginable.”

    • marc b.
      marc b. on April 6, 2012, 12:50 pm

      interesting. grass argued against german reunification over fear of resurgent german military might.

      from an amazon ‘library journal’ summary:

      For most of its history Germany was a loose confederation of small holdings and was a unified state for only 75 years. Because of united Germany’s bellicose history, especially during this century, and of its “sin of Auschwitz,” as he calls the Nazi experience, Grass fears the consequences of reuniting Germany. He assumes that this aggressive tendency will lead to adverse consequences for someone, if not the world.

      but of course, now he’s a closet nazi because he had the temerity to suggest that israel as a nuclear power might be problematic.

  36. ahadhaadam
    ahadhaadam on April 6, 2012, 11:47 am

    Israel’s neighbors (and indeed the whole world) must be very worried about Israel’s nuclear capacity. You have an extremely aggressive state which is inflicted with collective psychosis who view themselves as victims even as they commit continuous atrocities, that lives in a bunker mentality and views an impending Holocaust on every turn, that refers to each of its enemies as Hitler, that has a declared policy of acting like a mad dog, that has achieved an Orwellian indoctrination of its citizens, something to the level that Stalin could have only dreamed of. And these paranoid mad dogs have their fingers on an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

    This abnormal behavior and psyche create more and more enemies and results in complete and utter rejection of the Zionist enterprise by the entire people of the Middle East, which in turn helps feed their vicious paranoia cycle.

    That by itself highlights the urgency in international involvement in imposing peace, something which its so-called friend, the United States, is hell bent on preventing.

  37. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz on April 6, 2012, 12:14 pm

    In WSJ and other papers commenters complained that they read the negative reviews, but are unable to find poem in English. I posted the poem. Wonder if it will be removed.

  38. Mooser
    Mooser on April 6, 2012, 12:25 pm

    +Show content

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder on April 6, 2012, 2:17 pm

      you are the only one, were “+Show content” but nothing else shows, this makes me very sad. Was it an empty no-comment note? Or is it a bug? But I have to leave anyway. Take care.

      • tree
        tree on April 6, 2012, 2:35 pm

        Don’t be sad! Mooser’s simply showing that he is content. ;-)

    • on April 6, 2012, 2:38 pm

      That makes me very sad too. I was looking for something simultaniously idiotic and very amusing on Günter Grass, written in sophisticated American English.

    • annie
      annie on April 6, 2012, 2:50 pm

      mooser, when you look to the left of the screen do you not see the ‘show all comments’ option below the twitter/share feature??? still???

      • lysias
        lysias on April 6, 2012, 3:10 pm

        Not until you mentioned that there are things on the left of the screen did I realize there was anything there. For me (both in Mozilla Firefox and in Internet Explorer) almost everything to the left is cut off.

        Only because of what you said did I notice the “w” of “show” and the “ts” of “contents” that had not been cut off. When I clicked on them, sure enough, the texts of all the comments appeared. But I never would have known that without your comment.

      • annie
        annie on April 6, 2012, 4:12 pm

        i learned about it right here in the comment section on an earlier thread, someone clued me in but i cannot recall who. it was one of the first conversations on the day of the change. needless to say i was quite relieved. i hope mooser finds it. does that mean you’ve been suffering with having to open all the comment individually since then? triple yuk.

      • lysias
        lysias on April 6, 2012, 4:45 pm

        My chief reason for making my comment was in the hope that Mooser might eventually see it.

    • on April 6, 2012, 4:27 pm

      Why does anybody worry about Mooser not finding the right button?

      Mooser has an idiotic and simultaniously amusing colonial concept of Isarel:
      — The mother country being identical with the colony.

      • annie
        annie on April 6, 2012, 4:57 pm

        mooser is irreplaceable.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on April 6, 2012, 5:23 pm

        “mooser is irreplaceable”

        Me? Not hardly, at all. All I know is what I think and feel, and all I can do is put it down as honestly as I can, and if I provide a little amusement in the process, that’s even better.
        In a crowd of omniscient polymaths who know everything about anything, what good can that do anybody?

        BTW, the “show content” icons were there for a minute, and now everything looks like it used to. I don’t know what happened, but no doubt Klaus (like Axis, Bold as Love) knows. He knows everything, yeah, yeah, yeah.

      • annie
        annie on April 6, 2012, 5:50 pm

        did you click it???? maybe that’s why everything looks the way it used to!

        edit: yes hardly!

      • Mooser
        Mooser on April 6, 2012, 6:59 pm

        “did you click it????”

        As far as I know, no, I didn’t click it, and now the Commenter Names are “knocked out” of a green green strip!
        I’m not gonna worry about it, there’s been some truncation and other oddities in the Mondoweiss page before. It’s a long way from Mondoweiss Plaza and the 125th floor of Mondoweiss Center Tower to Moosehall, and a lot of tubes to get through to get there. I’m sure it’ll be fine tomorrow.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on April 6, 2012, 8:50 pm

        And at this juncture I will say that I have changed my mind about the green bits. That is a good idea.

      • annie
        annie on April 6, 2012, 11:00 pm

        i see green too! at first i thought it was because i am special. but noooo…do we all see green now and then? hello. nice color. i always liked green. it’s so..cosmically organic. like me! purple..i want to see purple, then i will know i am royalty.


      • RoHa
        RoHa on April 6, 2012, 11:08 pm

        You are special, though.

      • annie
        annie on April 6, 2012, 11:14 pm

        Yer special too RoHa.

      • eljay
        eljay on April 6, 2012, 11:21 pm

        >> And at this juncture I will say that I have changed my mind about the green bits. That is a good idea.

        How about green yarn on the green line – do you think that’s a good idea, too? ;-)

      • Mooser
        Mooser on April 6, 2012, 5:15 pm

        “Mooser has an idiotic and simultaniously amusing colonial concept of Isarel:”

        I bet that sounds better in the original German. I bet you can spell in German, too, and even use words correctly.
        Ah, but the mind-reading omniscience? Only your true Aryan has that in such abundance.

      • lysias
        lysias on April 6, 2012, 6:52 pm

        Mooser hat eine idiotische und zugleich komische Kolonialvorstellung von Israel.

        is my no doubt too literal attempt to translate the sentence.

        Perhaps one of the native speakers of German who inhabit this site can favor us with a more idiomatic translation.

      • on April 6, 2012, 7:00 pm

        So what’s your colonial concept of Israel?

      • on April 6, 2012, 8:03 pm

        Henry Menken and Mooser

        Let me tell you where I got the line “You are idiotic and hence very amusing” from. It’s Henry Menken, the German-American journalist from Baltimore. He once said: “I like democracy a lot, it’s completely idiotic and hence very amusing.” Isn’t that still true for American democracy and you?

        The way Henry Menken wrote ‘rolled easily off an American tongue.’
        I can’t remember who said this.

      • optimax
        optimax on April 6, 2012, 11:42 pm

        Better known as H.L. Mencken, the Sage of Baltimore.

      • on April 7, 2012, 3:47 am

        “idiotisch und zugleich amüsant”

    • eGuard
      eGuard on April 6, 2012, 7:03 pm

      – show comment

      Best metacomment ever.

      • on April 7, 2012, 12:45 pm

        Best meta-metacomment ever.

  39. on April 7, 2012, 1:27 pm

    Marcel Reich-Ranicki (born 1920) now attacks Grass with his last ink.

    He says, Grass’ poem is “not only an attack against the Jewish state (Judenstaat) but also an attack on all Jews”. But he ads, “Grass is not an Antisemite”.
    ( Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, 4/6/2012)

    I like this logik.
    I always thought that someone who attacks all Jews is an Antisemite.

    I always liked Reich-Ranicki and most Germans do. Whereas in the Jewish community he isn’t held in particular high regard. He isn’t and never was a member of any Jewish congregation. He always kept to literary criticism and almost never commented on political matters. This one on Grass is a very rare exception.

    Here is what he once said on the Bible: “God is a badly conceived literary figure”.

  40. on April 7, 2012, 8:04 pm

    Reich-Ranicki says, Grass’ poem is “disgusting” and of no literary or political worth.

    Reich-Ranicki’s animosity toward Günter Grass dates back to their first encounter in October 1958 – I mentioned that above. R-R’s headline of the first chapter of his autobiography reads.”Who are you actually?” – Quoting Grass who wanted to find out whether R-R was “a Pole, a German or what?”

    Grass’ first novel ‘The Tin Drum’ was torn to pieces by R-R. Later on, R-R admitted that his judgement had been wrong. One of the rare excamples that R-R admitted to a wrong literary judgement.

    There is another novel of Grass that mentioned Jews living in post war Germany.
    Grass has someone say: “Is it possible for Jews to live in Germany after WW II ?”

    R-R took that as an offence. After all, he lives in Germany after WW II – and quite comfortably. R-R was often bothered by questions like that. Also from the Jewish side. Unlike the offical Jews in Germany, R-R doesn’t have body guards and casually went with his wife to the neighborhood Italian restaurant. I know, I knew his secretary. — Anyway, both Grass and Reich-Ranicki belong to German literature.

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