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German writer Guenter Grass barred from visiting Israel

German writer Guenter Grass barred from visiting Israel

German author and Nobel literature laureate Guenter Grass (file photo)
Sun Apr 8, 2012 5:3PM GMT
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Israel has declared German author Guenter Grass as persona non grata, after a critical poem published by the Nobel laureate described Tel Aviv as a threat to world peace.


On Sunday, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai barred Grass from entering the country and accused him of fuelling the fire of hate against Tel Aviv.

In a controversial poem titled "What Must Be Said," which was published in Germany's daily Suddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday, Grass accused Israel of threatening world peace.

“Why do I say only now ... that the nuclear power Israel endangers an already fragile world peace? Because that must be said which may already be too late to say tomorrow," Grass wrote.

The 85-year-old author says Iran is in danger of a nuclear attack from Israel and expresses concern over the consequences of Israel’s plan to attack Iran.

"We could be suppliers to a crime that can be foreseen, which is why none of the usual excuses would erase it," Grass writes, referring to Germany’s plan to sell Israel a sixth nuclear-capable Dolphin-class submarine that can carry nuclear warheads.

The poem has provoked the ire of the Israeli regime. The Israeli embassy in Berlin issued a statement on Wednesday, saying Israel is “not prepared to assume the role that Gunter Grass assigns us.”

Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and it has never allowed inspections of its nuclear facilities nor has it joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) based on its policy of nuclear ambiguity.

According to a survey conducted in 2011 by the Berlin-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation, more than 50 percent of the European people believe Israel is the most serious threat to global security.

PG/JR

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