Monday, April 9, 2012

Israel bans German author Gunter Grass after he described country as a threat to world peace

Israel has banned German author Gunter Grass from entering the Jewish state, over a poem in which he accuses Israel of plotting Iran's annihilation and threatening world peace.

In his work called What Must Be Said, the 84-year-old longtime leftist activist said Israel 'could wipe out the Iranian people' due to the threat it sees in Tehran's disputed nuclear programme as well as labelling the country a threat to 'already fragile world peace.'

The dispute with Grass, who only late in life admitted to a Nazi past, has drawn new attention to strains in Germany's complicated relationship with the Jewish state.

It has also focused unwelcome light on Israel's own secretive nuclear program.

The poem has touched a raw nerve in Israel, where officials have rejected any moral equivalence with Iran and been quick to note that Grass admitted only in a 2006 autobiography that he was drafted into the Waffen-SS Nazi paramilitary organization at age 17 in the final months of World War II.

Grass' subsequent clarification that his criticism was directed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not the country as a whole, did little to calm the outcry. Read More