German poet feels ire of Israel for anti-nuclear poem

A Nobel-Prize winning German writer is facing the growing ire of Israeli politicians because of his anti-nuclear poem. Günter Grass, 84, has reportedly been banned from Israel because of the sentiments […]

By Vicky Ellis

A Nobel-Prize winning German writer is facing the growing ire of Israeli politicians because of his anti-nuclear poem.

Günter Grass, 84, has reportedly been banned from Israel because of the sentiments in his poem “What Must Be Said”, which was first released last week in the German paper Süddeutschen Zeitung.

According to a translation of the poem by Reuters, his poem apparently suggests Israel is a danger to “fragile world peace”, by drawing a parallel between the “nuclear power Israel” and Iran, “where the existence / Of a single atomic bomb is unproven”.

Over the weekend Mr Grass was declared ‘persona non grata’ by the Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

Mr Yishai said: “Grass’s poems are an attempt to fan the flames of hatred against the State of Israel and its people,” reported Israeli media.

The author of ‘The Tin Drum’, which frequently features on ‘must-read’ lists of 20th century novels, is quoted as saying in a subsequent interview he would like to have made the poem clearer in its criticism of the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu rather than the country itself.

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