European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor on Thursday condemned Günter Grass’ attack on Israel, when the German writer and Nobel laureate claimed in a poem that Israel “could wipe out the Iranian people” and that it is the greatest threat to world peace.
The poem was published Wednesday in one of Germany’s largest daily newspapers, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and several other European newspapers.
“Grass has a history of intellectual dishonesty, whether it was joining the Waffen-SS, then spending the majority of his life hiding it and recently when attacking Western governments and defending oppression” Kantor said.”His views should not to be lauded, but rather should be reviled.”
“When someone of this background attacks Israel it merely fits in with his history of intellectual dishonesty. Rather than discussing the danger of a radical Islamist government acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, Grass shifts the attention to a democratic nation which needs to defend itself from this very threat.”
Kantor said that after the murders in Toulouse, it is a time for greater understanding of the impact of incitement in Europe.”Only days after Jews were murdered because of an anti-Israel ideology, one would assume there would be some reflection on the dangers of such hate speech,” Kantor continued”. “Grass apparently has no such concerns and is only trying to inflame the agenda.”
In New York, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said the poem written by Grass draws “an outrageous moral equivalence” between Israel and Iran.
In a statement, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL’s National Director, said: “The scorn unleashed by Gunter Grass against Israel in his poem is shocking. By turning the Iranian nuclear threat on its head and drawing an outrageous moral equivalence between Iran and Israel, Grass reveals his deep-seated disdain for Israel.”
“The cumulative effect of these distorted views, together with his long-hidden record of belonging to the Waffen-SS during World War II, confirms Grass’ anti-Israel bias and indeed suggests he harbors some anti-Semitic beliefs.
“This poem shows Grass to be someone who is ignorant about or willfully disregarding the true nature of the Iranian nuclear threat, willing to cast Israel as an irresponsible aggressor against Iran and blaming accusations of anti-Semitism as the reason there has been a lack of criticism of Israel.”
“Grass appears convinced that Israel is the wrongdoer at a time when most responsible countries and people are calling on Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions,” Foxman added.