Interior Minister Eli Yishai declared Sunday that German Nobel laureate Gunter Grass is a persona non grata in Israel, after Grass published a poem last week which was highly critical of Israel and its policies.David Post writes:
Here is what, to me, is the most extraordinary thing about the recent flap over publication of Gunter Grass’ poem “What Must Be Said,” in which he excoriates the Israelis and depicting their undeclared nuclear program (and not Iran’s) as a threat to world peace. ... But really — wouldn’t you think that someone who was exposed, in 2006, as having been wartime member of the Waffen SS ... would have the good grace to spare us his views on this particlar matter? ... right before Easter -- a holiday sadly connected to some of the most brutal anti-Semitic activities over the past 2000 years ...As the comments explain, Grass was drafted into the German army in 1943 at age 16. And that is supposed to disqualify him from having an opinion about Israel's nukes 70 years later?
Besides Easter, it is also Passover, when Jews celebrate the murder of Egyptian children in the Exodus story of the Bible. This attack on Easter is offensive.
The Jewish magazine Tablet also attacks Grass:
Günter Grass, the 84-year-old German novelist who won a Nobel Prize in part for ostensibly reckoning honestly with Germany’s Nazi past (and who many years later revealed that, rather than having been a young bystander, he was in the Waffen-SS), yesterday published a poem accusing Israel rather than Iran of being the prime threat to regional stability, since it already has nuclear weapons. “It is the claimed right to a first strike/that could wipe out an Iranian people,” he writes, “subjugated by a loudmouth and steered to organized jubilation/because the building of an atom bomb is suspected in their territory.”The same issue has an article praising the Jewish writer Susan Sontag:
Most famously, she declared that “the white race is the cancer of human history; it is the white race and it alone — its ideologies and inventions — which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself.”If there is war between Israel and Iran, I will be rooting for Israel, but these attacks on Grass are way out of line. These Jews are bigots. They are trying to censor someone's political views purely because of his nationality 70 years ago (and because he is not supporting Zionism).
If I were Jewish, I sure would not go around making arguments about how others do not have the moral standing to make political arguments because of their race or nationality. Jewish intellectuals like Sontag have a long history of expressing hatred for white non-Jews, and Israel has race and national origin discrimination policies that many find offensive.