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German Poet Banned from Israel for Writing about Nuclear Program

Israel a 'threat to world peace,' poet says

Common Dreams staff

Gunter Grass, a Nobel-Prize winning German writer, has been banned from Israel for a poem he recently published that attacked the nation for its nucear arsenal and potential plans for war with Iran. Grass called Israel a "threat to world peace." Israeli officials promptly banned the famous author from Israel for publishing the poem.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Grass' poem, "is an attempt to fan the flames of hatred against Israel and the Jewish people, and thus promote the idea with which he was publicly affiliated in the past when he wore the SS uniform."

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The poem, published in Süddeutsche Zeitung, is titled "What Must Be Said." It reads in part:

It is the claimed right to a first strike, which could eliminate the Iranian people, dominated by a loudmouth and led by organized jubilation, because supposedly there is a nuclear bomb in it's power sphere.

But why am I denying myself, to name this other country, in which for years - although in secret - there is a growing nuclear potential available, but out of control, because it is not accessible to public scrutiny.

The general silence about these facts, which my silence has been subordinated to, feels like an incriminating lie and constraint, which promises penalty as soon as revealed; the common verdict: "anti-Semitism".

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The Guardian: Günter Grass barred from Israel over poem

The celebrated German author Günter Grass has been declared persona non grata in Israel following the publication of his poem warning that the Jewish state's nuclear programme was a threat to an "already fragile world peace".

The row over the literary work continued to reverberate over the weekend, with the 84-year-old Nobel laureate saying in a newspaper interview that he did not intend to criticise Israel but the policies of its present government, led by Binyamin Netanyahu.

With hindsight, he told Süddeutsche Zeitung, he would have rewritten his poem to "make it clearer that I am primarily talking about the [Netanyahu] government". He added: "I have often supported Israel, I have often been in the country and want the country to exist and at last find peace with its neighbours." Netanyahu, he said, was damaging Israel.

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 +972: Günter Grass, persona non grata in Israel 

Günter Grass told the truth, he was brave in telling it, he was brave in admitting that he'd been drafted into the Waffen SS as a teenager, and by speaking out against an Israeli attack on Iran, he's doing this country a great service at some personal cost while most Israelis and American Jews are safely following the herd behind Bibi [Netanyahu] over the cliff.


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