In Speigel online:
Günter Grass, Germany's most famous living author and the 1999 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, sparked outrage in Germany on Wednesday with the publication of a poem, “What must be said,” in which he sharply criticizes Israel's policies on Iran.
“Why did I wait until now at this advanced age and with the last bit of ink to say: The nuclear power Israel is endangering a world peace that is already fragile?” Grass writes in the poem. The 84 year old also criticizes the planned delivery of submarines “from my country” to Israel, a reference to Germany's plan to deliver Dolphin-class submarines to Israel that are capable of carrying nuclear-armed missiles. At the same time, Grass also expresses his solidarity with Israel.
In the poem, published by Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and other European dailies on Wednesday, Grass also calls for an “unhindered and permanent monitoring of Israel's nuclear potential and Iran's nuclear facility through an international entity that the government of both countries would approve.” It is widely believed that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, although it has never been proven.
In response to the publication, the Israeli Embassy in Berlin issued a statement offering its own version of “What must be said.” “What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder,” the statements reads. “Earlier, it was Christian children whose blood the Jews allegedly used to make their unleavened bread, but today it is the Iranian people that the Jewish state allegedly wants to annihilate. What also must be said is that Israel is the only state in the world whose right to exist is openly doubted. That was true on the day of its founding and it remains true today. We want to live in peace with our neighbors in the region. And we are not prepared to assume the role that Günter Grass is trying to assign to us as part of the German people's efforts to come to terms with the past.”