Israel bars Gunter Grass from entry under law barring former Nazis

Philip Weiss

The latest in the Gunter Grass story. Sydney Morning Herald

Israel’s Interior Minister has barred the German author Gunter Grass from entering the country because of a poem that accuses Israel of being a threat to world peace.

”Grass’s poems fan the flames of hatred against Israel and the Israeli people, thus promoting the idea he was part of when he donned an SS uniform,” the minister, Eli Yishai, said on Sunday, referring to Grass’s admission that he had been a Nazi soldier as a 17-year-old. ”His distorted poems are not welcome in Israel. I suggest he try them in Iran where he will find a sympathetic audience.”

Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood:

On Sunday, Israel’s interior minister Eli Yishai used a law permitting a bar on entry to former Nazis to declare Grass persona non grata for his “attempt to fan the flames of hatred against the state of Israel and its people, and thus to advance the idea to which he publicly affiliated in his past donning of the SS uniform”.

… Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, added his voice to the storm of criticism, saying Grass’s poem was the expression of “egoism of so-called western intellectuals who are willing to sacrifice the Jewish people on the altar of crazy anti-Semites for a second time, just to sell a few more books or gain recognition”.

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of,  April 9, 2012

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