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Günter Grass Compares Eli Yishai to German Stasi

Banned from Israel, he’s more present than ever.

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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.

Günter Grass: In Banning Me, Israel’s Interior Minister Resembles German Stasi Chief [Haaretz]

Earlier: Günter Grass’ Stupid Poem About Israel and Iran
Eli Yishai Bans Günter Grass From Israel

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God forbid that Jews in general and Israelis in particular should feel provoked and insulted by Grass’ provocative and insulting comments. 

The idea that Israel should ‘turn the other cheek’ in response to the former Waffen SS member’s ugly connotations about Israel’s desire to defend itself from an Iranian regime that for over 30 years has called for its destruction, and has followed up on its words by supporting two groups (HAMAS and Hizballah) that have followed those words with deeds, denigrates both Israel’s right to protect itself, and voice an appropriate reaction to the ugliness of Grass’ words.

Indeed, no one has called for Grass’ murder.  Israel’s government did not act like the late Ayatollah Khomenei and put out a $1.0 million bounty for his life.  No one is calling for Grass to be knifed in the chest like the late Theo van Gogh, and no one is taking an axe to Guntar’s front door seeking to lop off his head.  
Neither are Jews rioting, either in Israel, Germany or elsewhere. 

Rather, Grass was told his presence in Israel, home of a great many survivors of the Shoah and their descendents, who continue to face calls for their annihilation, would be a further insult.  It is a sign of self-respect, not childness or piquishness on the part of Yishai, or any other Israeli, to tell this former Nazi where he can stick his attitude and opinion. 

mouskatel says:

Unlikely feet?

mouskatel says:

And it’s Myanmar, not Myamar. Dude, a bit more editing, please.

Royq says:

Well, I guess I’d rather be a Neo-Stasi than a Neo-Nazi, given the choice.

Royq says:

By the way, this guy can’t be more than a schnitzel and a smoke or two away from meeting der Grim Reaper.   If the Mossad really wanted to do him in, they could just send him an unlimited gift certificate to Macdonald’s. 

Failing that, he should be cast in the Olivier role in a remake of Marathon Man:

Grass:  Issss it zafe?
Shia Labeouf: Is what safe!!?
Grass:  Issssssss it Zaaaafe!!?

Royq says:

Trying to think of other ways in which Gunter Grass could profitably spend his time:

1) As a dance floor at a Tel Aviv rave.
2) As a human shield in Qom.
3) As a crash test dummy for BMW.

JehudahBenIsrael says:

Mr. Gunther Grass has entered Israel twice during the past several decades, according to Qol Israel (Voice of Israel) radio. In both cases he lied on his entry visa when he denied being affiliated with Nazism during his life. He was of course, a volunteer at the Waffen SS troops of Nazi Germany.

This act of lying would be a good enough reason to prevent him from ever entering Israel again, and he did it twice. And, of course, as a result of such a lie no other country, the US and Canada included would permit him to ever step a foot on its sovereign soil.

What Israel did was not only the right thing to do with this un-repented Nazi, but sadly, it should have done so a long time ago, and didn’t. But, better later than never of course.

stannadel says:

But the scandal over Grass’ “poem” did not die down and continues to this day in Germany and Austria.  Nearly universal condemnation greeted it and it took Yishai’s ban to divert the discussion onto a track more favorable to Grass.  It was counter productive and stupid–especially as there was no immediate prospect of Grass trying to go to Israel anytime soon and it could have waited until he tried to go. 

yevka says:

Good op ed piece in Der Spiegel concerning open debate:

 http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,826180,00.html

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Günter Grass Compares Eli Yishai to German Stasi

Banned from Israel, he’s more present than ever.

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