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.)

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