Silence of the scribes (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Yaakov Ahimeir 04/09/12)
Israel Hayom Articles-Index-Top
The wide exposure enjoyed by Gunter Grass´ poem, in which he dubs
Israel a threat to world peace and warns that Israel could wipe Iran
off the map, led to high expectations followed by deep
disappointment. Why have Israeli writers, whose voices are often
heard in Europe, and namely in Germany, not spoken out against this
poem by Gunter Grass?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the poem and the Israeli
Embassy in Berlin viewed the poem´s publication on the eve of
Passover as an anti-Semitic act. But in the face of such a respected
writer as Grass, a Nobel Prize laureate, would it not have been more
appropriate if the response had come, first and foremost, from our
own respected writers, those Israeli writers who never hesitate to
make their voices heard on other controversial issues?
As of the time these words were written, other than Eli Amir´s
condemnation of Grass´ poem, where are the rest of our writers? After
all, our writers are often called upon to contribute to discussions
of the hour, and they usually criticize the government´s policy.
Here in Israel, that is their right, as they commune with their
fellow writers overseas and their respective audiences there. Today
there are no boundaries. A remark made in Berlin or Rome is heard in
Tel Aviv, and vice versa.
Grass´ sentiments go far beyond the bounds of polemic questions over
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is telling us, essentially that
we are not allowed to live in Tel Aviv, that we have no right to
exist in it, or in Israel in general. He declared that Israel has
adopted a menacing policy to the point of threatening Iran´s general
If Israel is a threat to world peace, as he explicitly wrote, perhaps
Germany should not supply Israel with another submarine, as he
recommends. In other words, perhaps Israel should be disarmed of its
deterrence weapons, the submarines, and be left exposed. The threat,
says Grass, is not Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – it is
But Israel is certainly not the only country that assigns grave
significance to Ahmadinejad´s threats – Germany, the U.S., the
International Atomic Energy Agency and many more do too.
Nevertheless, according to Grass, Israel - the big threat - has no
right to exist. Perhaps that is not surprising, written by someone
who admitted to serving in the Waffen S.S.
This is not a debate on this or that policy - this is the
classification of Israel as a threat to world peace. We believed, for
instance, that the presence of thousands of German soldiers in
Afghanistan was their modest contribution to peace and security in
the face of threats made by Osama bin Laden´s followers in the world.
Our writers´ silence is both unfortunate and thunderous, in light of
Grass´ idiotic experiment and anti-Semitic effort to dismiss the
legitimacy of Israel´s existence.
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