PM: Günter Grass poem a ‘collapse of moral judgment´ (JERUSALEM POST) By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JPOST CORRESPONDENT 04/22/12)
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BERLIN – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has told the German paper
Die Welt am Sonntag that Nobel literature laureate Günter Grass’s
recent poem sharply criticizing Israel is “an absolute scandal.”
Netanyahu ratcheted up his criticism of Grass in the interview with
the paper, and defended Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s decision to
bar Grass from entering Israel.
The poem was “shameful” and constituted a “collapse of moral
judgment,” the prime minister said.
Die Welt’s website published excerpts of the interview on Saturday,
which is slated to appear in the Sunday paper.
The 84-year-old Grass, a former member of the Nazi- Waffen SS,
published a poem, “What Must Be Said,” earlier this month in the
Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. Grass accused Israel of
warmongering and planning a first nuclear strike against the Islamic
Republic to “extinguish the Iranian people.” He said Israel was a
main impediment to world peace.
Netanyahu told Die Welt am Sonntag, “That this comes from a German
Noble prize winner, and not from some teenager in a neo-Nazi party,
makes it still more shocking.”
He defended the travel ban. “Sometimes there are things that are so
shocking that one has to react in other ways. He went too far in the
direction of untruth and defamation. Our reaction expressed that.”
Grass “created a perfect moral misrepresentation, in that that
aggressor becomes a victim and the victim becomes an aggressor,” the
prime minister continued.
Netanyahu said that according to Grass, Israel’s efforts to defend
itself against extermination become a threat to world peace. It is a
view “where the firefighter and not the arsonist becomes the true
danger,” the prime minister said.
The attacks against Israel today are comparable to the perfidy and
defamation of those launched against Jews during the Nazi period in
Germany, which resulted in the Holocaust, he said.
“The question which people should pose reads: What if I had back then
believed in this perfidy and defamation against Jews, because
defamation is always the precursor to complicity?” Netanyahu asked.
The prime minister added that it was “important and positive” that
leading German politicians condemned Grass’s statements. He had
hoped, however, for more support from the German public. According to
surveys, 70 to 80 percent of Germans commenting on online blogs and
newspaper comment sections, and responding to television polls,
support Grass’s attacks against Israel.
The chairman of the opposition German Social Democratic party, Sigmar
Gabriel, defended Grass last week. Gabriel called Israel
an “apartheid regime” in March and has gone to great lengths to
support Grass, who is a longstanding activist in the party. (© 1995-
2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/22/12)
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