Günter Grass, the German Nobel Prize winner for literature, just published What Must Be Said, a prose poem that accuses Israel of being a threat to world peace (original here). The problem, according to Grass, is that (a) Israel has unacknowledged nuclear weapons and yet (b) Israelis may be planning to destroy Iran’s ability to build nukes. Claiming a right to such a preemptive strike is not only unfair, but a threat to peace. And Western nations are hypocritical for closing their eyes to this situation. (h/t Týden, NYT)
Grass’s poem was condemned throughout the world. (NYT summary here)
Grass was prompted to write his poem by the news that Germany has signed a contract with Israel for a sixth Dolphin-class submarine, which can apparently carry nuclear missiles. Israel has three operational Dolphins, with three now under contract.
Having said what must be said, Grass also claims to be a supporter of Israel. (In other words, to coin a phrase, he “has Israel’s back.”)
Grass has a habit of criticizing others from a moral high ground. Throughout his career, he was especially hard on his fellow Germans who had in any way gotten their hands dirty with the Nazi regime. Except, that is, until 2006, when he finally admitted in his memoir that he had been in the Waffen-SS.
He claims that he has drafted and that he had “never fired a weapon.” That may be so but, in 1942, he did volunteer for the submarine corps. It doesn’t matter that he was only 15 and was rejected: his eagerness to get his own hands dirty speaks volumes.
Mr. Grass is the hypocrite here – then and today.