Monday, April 9, 2012
German Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass banned from Israel
Gunter Grass the Nobel Laureate winning German author has been banned from entering Israel because of a poem that he wrote criticizing the Israeli government. He condemned German arms sales to the Israelis and also said that Israel should not be allowed to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.
The Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai claimed that Grass tried "to inflame hatred against the State and people of Israel." Grass maintains he was only criticising Israeli policies.
Grass was quite critical of Israel's own nuclear program:""... the nuclear power Israel endangers an already fragile world peace? Because that must be said which may already be too late to say tomorrow," "Also because we - as Germans burdened enough - may become a subcontractor to a crime that is foreseeable."
Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the poem and brought up Grass' personal history. Grass was drafted into the Waffen SS at the age of 17 and kept this service under wraps for decades.
Many in Germany, Israel, and elsewhere have been quite critical of the poem but Gideon Levy writing in the Jewish paper Haaretz defended him. Levy writes: """A situation in which any German who dares criticise Israel is instantly accused of anti-Semitism is intolerable".."after we denounce the exaggeration, after we shake off the unjustified part of the charge, we must listen." For more see this article.