L’affaire Grass—the hullaballoo surrounding Nobel Prize winning novelist Günter Grass’ terrible poem-lemic against Israel—continues. Just a reminder, this story—which is really about the increasing German resentment about German guilt—would have died a week ago if Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai hadn’t arbitrarily decided to bar Grass from setting foot in Israel. Yishai’s grandstanding has garnered condemnation from our own Liel Leibowitz, Sir Salman Rushdie and
anti-Israel stalwart [UPDATE: My attempt at a joke apparently missed the mark. Alan Dershowitz is as far from anti-Israel as possible. Mea Culpa]. Alan Dershowitz and has now given Grass an opening to keep attacking Israel. Eli Yishai has performed the unlikely feat of making poetry, bad poetry, relevant in the year 2012.
In his new response, published by Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Grass says that Yishai’s ban reminds him of the other two countries that once barred him: the military junta controlled Myamar and communist East Germany. I’m guessing Israel doesn’t really want to be compared to two totalitarian regimes (one of which no longer exits), so maybe Yishai shouldn’t have given license to for Israel’s critics to do so? Grass being wrong about Israel was bad, him being right is much worse and I’m guessing it’ll be awhile until he goes away. There is, in fact, more than one way to cross a border.