Friday, April 13, 2012

Gunter Grass

Another piece from Dr Mike Lumish I lifted from his blog Israel Thrives to which this blog is a proud contributor.

An unnecessary sideshow has been opened by the probably ill-advised decision of the Israeli interior minister to bar Grass from entry to Israel. One can understand this. Grass is no ordinary former Nazi. He is a former member of the Waffen SS. He claims he was conscripted and he never fired a shot. This could be true. Much of the Waffen SS were not required to do the shooting themselves. They often used Ukrainians, German special miltary police units and others to fire the guns and in any event more often used gas.

Grass's poem is a thing of supreme ugliness. An ugly thought steeped in bigotry expressed in a clumsy and ugly way. Israel is a threat to the world because the Jews might preemptively nuke Iran and kill millions of Iranians using German submarines. Maybe they will take out the military use equipment the Germans have sold to Iran into the bargain.

It is striking that the "this is hypocrisy because the Jews have the bomb too" brigade always put Israel and Iran into the same "region". Away. Not here. Perhaps it's because both countries start with the letter "I".  Iraq too is definitely in the "region".

But what really is the "region"?  India? Why not; another "I" country. Pakistan?  China? Russia? France? UK? All of these countries are within range of Iran's missiles. They all have nukes. Why does Grass pick out Israel as suddenly the threat? Because it is being suddenly threatened?

Here is an essay by Allan Dershowitz on why barring Grass from Israel was a mistake that should be reversed.

The decision by Israel's Interior Minister to bar German writer, Gunter Grass, from entering the Jewish state is both foolish and self-defeating. Grass wrote an absurdly ignorant and perversely bigoted poem comparing Israel to Iran and declaring Israel to pose a great danger to world peace. He also warned Germany that by selling submarines to Israel, it is becoming complicit in a crime against humanity.

These wrong-headed views deserve to be rebutted on their demerits, as Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, did quite effectively in his public response to Grass, by exposing his "shameful moral equivalence between Israel and Iran, a regime that denies the Holocaust and threatens to annihilate Israel," by pointing out that "it is Iran, not Israel, that threatens other states with annihilation," and that it is Iran who supports the Syrian regime's crackdown of its people and "stones women, hangs gays and brutally represses tens of millions of its own citizens." Grass' poem has also been effectively critiqued by Israelis across the political and literary spectrum. That is as it should be in an open, vibrant democracy, accustomed to rancorous public debate. But a great nation, committed to freedom of expression and dissent, should not bar a critic, even a critic as bigoted as Grass, from its territory.

Gunter Grass has always had a problem with Jews, from his early days as a member of the Hitler youth and Nazi SS to his most recent application of a nasty double standard to the Jewish state. But his ridiculous poem doesn't pose any security threat to Israel that would justify his physical exclusion from the country.

Maybe. Read the article. The Israelis says they are just pointing out Israel has to bar former Nazis by law. Perhaps they are merely taking the opportunity to remind Grass of that. It certainly does not impede the right and power of this particular former Nazi to express himself. Just at some physical distance is all.


Günter Comes Full Circle

Mike L.

(Cross-Posted at Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers.)

Nobel prize winning writer, Günter Grass, was a Nazi.

As a member of the Waffen SS, he was a soldier and a fighter for Nazi beliefs, values, and ideals. If he was a "good" Nazi he believed that Jews are responsible for much, if not most, of the world's misery and therefore needed to be stomped like a cockroach.

The Germans didn't slaughter the Jews because they were mean, they did it because they believed that the Jewish people were a disease on German culture and society, if not cultures and societies throughout the world. In particular, the Nazis accused its population of Jews (which amounted to about 1 percent of the whole) of being responsible for World War II, itself. They considered the Jewish people a menace who needed to be crushed. Whatever else Günter Grass thought that he was doing as a young Nazi, he promoted this bloody defamation of the Jewish people. It was a view that led to the slaughter of two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population, including much of my own family.

Since that time, of course, Grass has redeemed himself... or so we all thought. The writer of The Tin Drum was widely believed within liberal Jewish circles to be a Nazi who reclaimed his humanity. In all fairness, I have not closely followed this man's career, but he is someone that I was aware of growing up. I read The Tin Drum as a kid and I saw the movie. My recollection, faulty as it may be, was that this was an artist of sensitivity and intelligence.

That's what I thought.

Every once in awhile... however... unfortunately... to my never-ending horror and disgust... an artist or thinker that I admired comes busting out with malicious anti-Semitic nonsense of the type that historically has gotten us killed. When I first heard Helen Thomas yammering about the need for Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine" and to move back to Poland and Russia and Alpha Centauri Seven, I practically fell out of my chair. I just couldn't believe it.

And now we discover that the great, world-renowned writer, Günter Grass, still believes that the Jews are a menace to the world who want nothing more than genocide for another people, for no other reason than shear malice. He wrote:

It is the alleged right to the first strike / That could annihilate the Iranian people/ Subjugated by a loud-mouth / And guided to organized jubilation / Because in their sphere of power / It is suspected, a nuclear bomb is being built.

Annihilate the Iranian people? Really? Merely because we "suspect" a bomb is being built?

Over at Bloomberg News, Jeffrey Goldberg has some words:

Perhaps it reads better in the German, or perhaps Grass is simply T.S. Eliot’s inferior in anti-Semitic poetry, but put aside the poem’s aesthetic shortcomings and consider the idea advanced in the first two lines: That Israel, which in reality is contemplating targeting six to eight nuclear sites in Iran for conventional aerial bombardment, in fact wants to annihilate the Iranian people in a “first strike.”

This is, of course, delusional. Not even the Iranian regime seems to believe this. To make yourself believe that Israel is seeking to murder the 74 million people of Iran, you must make yourself believe that the leaders of the Jewish state outstrip Adolf Hitler in genocidal intent.

In this way the former Nazi, Günter Grass, much like his former compatriots, the original Nazis, is again telling the world that the Jews are a menace that must be stopped at all costs. The hideous irony is that the Israelis are not calling for the genocide of anyone. All they want is to be left alone so that they can build computer doodads and send Natalie Portmans out into the world.

The fact is, however, that many of the surrounding 200 to 300 million Arabs (and Persians) are calling for the slaughter of the Jews. We are 1/50th of the region's population, yet western European's often tell one another that the Jews are menacing the Arabs and Muslims, even as so many Arabs and Muslims scream to the hillside about their genocidal desire to murder us.

How's that for twisted and sick?

And, so, Günter Grass comes full circle. He started out supporting a political movement that defamed the Jewish people, leading to our slaughter, and now he intends to go out defaming us again.

Good-bye, Günter.

You're done for the day.


  1. Gunter Grass: what a great name to play with.

    The Grassy Gunt does have a point however: Jews are responsible for much of the world's woes.

    For example: it was 100 years ago to almost the day when a Jew sunk the Titanic. I believe it was some super cool dude by the name of Iceberg.

    As it turned out Iceberg did us a terrible dis-service, for having us suffer this:

    So there ya go, the Gunt does have a point.

  2. Hi Geoffff,

    thank you for inviting me to front page at the bar and grill.

    I think what I intend to do is front page every other or every third piece that I write.

    In any case, I appreciate it very much, pahdnuh.



  3. Hi Mike,

    Please feel absolutely free to post here anytime. I look forward to it. Welcome.