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The Tin Bum: Did Gunter Gross Write a Pre Passover Blood Libel?

Günter Grass, the Nobel Prize-winning German author, poet, and artist – best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum – has written a poem in the SudDeutsche Zeitung today, which tells Europe that Israel is the bully, and not Iran.

The poem, titled WHAT MUST BE SAID (Was gesagt werden muss), asks “Why did I wait until now at this advanced age and with the last bit of ink to say: The nuclear power Israel is endangering a world peace that is already fragile?” He goes on to criticize Germany for selling Dolphin-class submarines “from my country” to Israel. Grass also expresses his solidarity with Israel.

Grass called for a “permanent monitoring of Israel’s nuclear potential and Iran’s nuclear facility through an international entity that the government of both countries would approve.”

The Central Council of Jews in Germany called the poem an “aggressive pamphlet of agitation.” Ruprecht Polenz, the chair of the German parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung that Grass “has difficulties whenever he comments on politics and is often wrong.” Philipp Missfelder, a member of the Christian Democrats, said “the poem is tasteless, ahistorical and demonstrates a lack of knowledge about the situation in the Middle East.”

Henryk Broder, a German journalist for Die Welt and Germany’s most famous contemporary Jewish writer said “Grass always had a problem with Jews, but it has never articulated it as clearly as he has in this ‘poem’…. Grass has always had a tendency toward megalomania, but this time he is completely nuts. he is the prototype of the educated anti-Semite, who is well-meaning when it comes to Jews. Haunted by feelings of guilt and shame and also driven by the desire to settle history, he is now attempting to disarm the ’cause of the recognizable threat.'”

The Embassy of Israel to Germany in Berlin may have gone a little overboard in its response to the poem. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

In a statement that offered it own “What must be said,” the diplomats wrote that, “What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder,… Earlier, it was Christian children whose blood the Jews allegedly used to make their unleavened bread, but today it is the Iranian people that the Jewish state allegedly wants to annihilate. What also must be said is that Israel is the only state in the world whose right to exist is openly doubted. That was true on the day of its founding and it remains true today. We want to live in peace with our neighbors in the region. And we are not prepared to assume the role that Günter Grass is trying to assign to us as part of the German people’s efforts to come to terms with the past.”

(Was gesagt werden muss ist, dass es zur europäischen Tradition gehört, die Juden vor dem Pessach-Fest des Ritualmords anzuklagen. Früher waren es christliche Kinder, deren Blut die Juden angeblich zur Herstellung der Mazzen verwendeten, heute ist es das iranische Volk, das der jüdische Staat angeblich auslöschen will.)

18 Comments

  1. benjamin kopperl

    4/5/2012 at 12:52 am

    why are we surprised? all of those closets are opening!

    s

    ts

  2. themiddle

    4/5/2012 at 4:03 am

    Well, I was so taken with his pipe, his mustache and his poem that I also wrote a poem. I call it The Tin Ear. jewlicious.com...

  3. larry

    4/5/2012 at 10:15 am

    Israel’s current Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu responds:

    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.

  4. seagull

    4/8/2012 at 4:00 pm

    Dear folks,
    it is not an author or philosoph, whose only weappons are the words to have or should be or must have to be threatened to shut up, it is the ignorant mass ignoring human rights, pluralism, secularisation and pluralism to be defended. But who are these? And whom do we kill and to whom do we listen? Which oppositions do we support? Do we support the oppositions, who want freedom and democracy in any states? No! In Iran, there is a community, which suffers under the regime of the actual government, they go to prison and are being tortured for exactly the thing i am doing right now: using my demodratic rights to talk about problems. They are even killed for nonsense. It is never The Iran or The …nation, be glad to live in a democracy! A nation is never homosapiente, a democracy is a membership of a cummunity steadily discussing, accepting oppositions to keep the balance, which has to be steadily and daily controlled and evaluated. A strong democracy does not have the need of defence. A strong democracy let the demagogues and hypocrites dry out by not serving the perpetuum mobile.

  5. seagull

    4/8/2012 at 4:19 pm

    Mr. Grass was 17! Not even adult!
    You accept real nazies and weappon dealers to be more honoured. Mr. Grass is not your enemy! The real enemy is ignorance, oppression and forgetting the past.
    By offending him you will evoke a silence and a hush, which means that nobody besides a person, who has won the nobel price is daring to say anything! Do you really want the silence of democracy and thinking west? Maybe he is old and has formulated his poem badly? Yes! But he was not cited correctly! If you deny him, you can deny the whole german folk beside the nazies of course, they do not read at all! and explicetly not gunther grass or any literature of liberal or democratic authors.

    • themiddle

      4/8/2012 at 7:20 pm

      Offending him?! He should be ashamed of himself. Look at how he is backtracking now, claiming that he didn’t mean “Israel,” only Israel’s government led by Netanyahu. He is backtracking because as he reads responses, he recognizes that he made some grave errors.

      Being a Nobel Prize winner does not make you automatically right on any subject. It means that your work in your area of knowledge is outstanding. Grass was honored for his novel writing. Apparently, his comprehension of international politics would not have won him a Nobel Prize. He can say whatever he wants and he can say it in any way he would like, but he should expect criticism from others and he should expect it to be severe when he is so greatly wrong.

      The mistake is not in the citing of Grass. I have read at least 5 different translations of the poem or key parts of the poem which he published very publicly in two newspapers. His accusations are false and his view of the world is upside down and backwards. What is trying to prevent exactly? A war? Guess what, so is Israel.

  6. seagull

    4/8/2012 at 4:39 pm

    South America has not given any statement yet!

  7. seagull

    4/8/2012 at 5:41 pm

    Is anybody intersted in the actual circumstances and happenenings in the greatest refugee camp worldwide in Kenia anylonger? Do we really need to discuss abouit more or less? Are we evil enough to ignore existing refugee camps? How many dead people or children a day make it discussable? GIVE ME A FIGURE! Actueally all real time media statements do not inform about the biggist refugee camp of the wold, which means, that we are discussing all about nonsense!

    • themiddle

      4/8/2012 at 7:21 pm

      Why are you changing the subject?

  8. seagull

    4/8/2012 at 6:34 pm

    What are you doing to save the jewish community in Iran? What are you doing to support opposion groups?…… I do not need an answer just support them!

  9. seagull

    4/8/2012 at 7:31 pm

    to the “middle² I love israel, Which subject am i am changing actually?

  10. SEAGULL

    4/8/2012 at 7:48 pm

    Dear Mr. middle, you invented my territory, but this is nonsence as long you adcept the rules.

  11. SEAGULL

    4/8/2012 at 8:09 pm

    where have you been exactly, in 1939 Mr midddle?
    I have nothing to add, in 1939 there where no human rules, there was agitating a dictatorship, ruled by nazies and asswhboles., having done nothing, getting everything for free.

  12. themiddle

    4/8/2012 at 11:42 pm

    Seagull, I don’t have a clue what you are saying.

  13. seagull

    4/13/2012 at 8:36 am

    Dear the middle,
    to understand what i was talking about:youtube.com/wa.... And: What are the consequences of war. Every dead person is a person too much. War is worth for nothing. War is not a game, and any war(action) evokes another war(reaction) and so on!(perpetuum mobile). To speculate about that”only 300 people will die” is a sin and a crime! Nobody can tell what will happen, if… .But you can be sure: We will all pay for it! again and again and again.

  14. SEAGULL

    4/13/2012 at 9:28 am

    I have to add dear “themiddle” that Mr. Grass has never used the word “jews” in his poem. As i know the “jews” are spread all over the world. He is actually not speaking of a community, more or less religious by origin. He was talking about a state and profane plitics. His “poem” is literary useless and bad.

  15. seagull

    4/13/2012 at 11:15 am

    And 3rd i really have do say that i more liked the first version: ” I have no idea, what you are talking about” than “I do not have a clue'”. Because: an idea implicites a will, a knoledge and an ability, “a clue” just says to me that you are on the slang part, having no own idea and support the masses, because it is soo chique! I really liked the first version more, it showed a strong, independent, thinking character, which nobody could push down. I like straight people staying.

  16. seagull

    4/23/2012 at 12:29 pm

    And 4th i have to tell you It was always the natrionalists starting war WW1/!WW2 it seemed, as there where free land to occupy , but actually we all know, that no land is not owned by anynbody! We are living in the so called civilized 20th century, so do we return to bloody shitty aggression wars or do we so called ancient enemies shake hands!?
    What if the most hatet enemy will be your friend?

    Better a good enemy than a false friend!

    ,This message is quasi manipulated, but i could cope with a peacefull end.

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