'Flames of hatred.' Grass
Photo: EPA

Minister Yishai declares Grass persona non grata

FM Lieberman says German author who labeled Israel 'threat to world peace' would be willing to 'sacrifice Jewish nation to sell a few more books.' Yishai: His poems fan the flames of hatred against Israel

Interior Minister Eli Yishai declared Guenter Grass Persona non grata in Israel, this after the German Nobel literature laureate published a poem in which he criticized Israel's nuclear program and labeled the Jewish state a threat to "already fragile world peace" over its stance on Iran.


Yishai's move means that Grass, 84, would not be permitted to enter Israel if he asked to do so. "Grass' poems fan the flames of hatred against Israel and the Israeli people, thus promoting the idea he was a part of when donned an SS uniform. His distorted poems are not welcome in Israel and might receive a following in Iran," the minister said.


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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the poem "an expression of the cynicism of some the West's intellectuals, who, for publicity purposes and the desire to sell a few more books, are willing to sacrifice the Jewish nation a second time on the altar of crazy anti-Semites."


Lieberman stressed that Israel expects European governments to call out against such statements made by public opinion leaders. "We've witnessed in the past how small seeds of anti-Semitic hatred can turn into a big blaze that hurts all of humanity," he said.


The FM made the comments during a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Jerusalem.

The poem, which was published in European dailies earlier this week, drew harsh criticism in Germany and around the world, with the German Welt newspaper calling Grass "the eternal anti-Semite."


"Grass is the prototype of the educated anti-Semite who means well with the Jews. He is hounded by guilt and feelings of shame and at the same time is driven by the wish to weigh up history," the newspaper wrote on Wednesday.


On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also slammed Grass, saying: "The shameful comparison he made between Israel and Iran says very little about Israel but speaks volumes about Mr. Grass."


"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.


The author, for his part, explained that he was singling out the Jewish state's government, not the country as a whole.




פרסום ראשון: 04.08.12, 12:35
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