Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
condemned German author Guenter Grass over a poem
he wrote in which he attacked Israel as a threat to world peace.
"The shameful comparison Grass made between Israel and Iran says very little about Israel but speaks volumes about Mr. Grass," Netanyahu said Thursday.
"Why do I say only now ... that the nuclear power Israel endangers an already fragile world peace? Because that must be said which may already be too late to say tomorrow," Grass, 84, wrote in the poem, published in German in Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
The poem caused uproar both in Israel and in Germany, prompting a response by Israel's prime minister. "It's Iran, not Israel that threatens to destroy other countries. It's Iran, not Israel, that supports terror organizations that fire rockets at innocent civilians.
Grass with Norman Mailer (Photo: AP)
"It's Iran, not Israel, that endorses the Syrian massacre. It's Iran, not Israel that pelts women with stones, hangs homosexuals and brutally suppresses tens of millions of its citizens," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu also addressed the fact that six years ago Grass admitted he had been a member of the Waffen SS in his youth. "For six decades Mr. Grass concealed his past, and it therefore comes as no surprise that he regards the only Jewish state in the world as a threat to world peace and opposes its procurement of means of self defense," Netanyahu said.
"However, honest people around the world must harshly condemn these shameful and ignorant statements."
Grass, a seasoned campaigner for left-wing causes and a critic of Western military interventions such as Iraq, also condemned German arms sales to Israel in his poem "What must be said", published in several newspapers on Wednesday.