Martin Kramer on the Middle East
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Martin Kramer on the Middle East
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Netanyahu interview, Welt am Sonntag (English original)

Here is a simple fact that apparently has eluded Mister Grass: Israel doesn’t seek to destroy Iran, Iran seeks to destroy Israel and openly calls for it and works for it by building atomic bombs for that expressed purpose. What do we do with such statements? In every society you have extreme statements. A society is not judged by those statements but by how the leadership responds to them. And I think the fact that there was a broad condemnation by the leaders of Germany is important and positive. I am concerned that there is an undercurrent of support for this, at best it reflects a great ignorance on the facts that I have just put forward.

 

• Netanyahu interview, Welt am Sonntag (English original) http://bit.ly/JjiXmZ

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What Gunter Grass Really Said by Abraham Foxman

What Gunter Grass Really Said by Abraham Foxman | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Grass converts an Israeli defensive option into one that he describes as a project to destroy the Iranian people. Whatever one thinks of an Israeli military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, to see that as trying to destroy Iran is an inversion so grotesque that it must be labeled as an effort to equate Israel with the Nazi regime. In other words, it is anti-Semitism.

 

• What Gunter Grass Really Said by Abraham Foxman http://bit.ly/JdgmhX

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Poison Pen [Günter Grass] by D.G. Myers

Poison Pen [Günter Grass] by D.G. Myers | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

People can get away with anti-Semitism these days only by passing it off as anti-Zionism. Since Israel is the political expression of Jewish peoplehood, however, to call into question its right to exist is either to wish the Jews powerless to defend themselves again or to deny they are a people. The first may seem less vicious than the second, but for an ex-SS soldier like Günter Grass, the dream of Jewish powerlessness is deeply embedded in a history of exterminating destruction. And in either case, Grass is an articulate literary spokesman for a new European anti-Semitism that pretends it is merely anti-Zionism, although there is not a pinch of salt's difference between the two.

 

• Poison Pen [Günter Grass] by D.G. Myers http://bit.ly/HKEeF7

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Persona Non Grass by Jonathan S. Tobin

Raising Grass to the status of a special case for exclusion merely allowed him to drag out the controversy and play the martyr. However, it bears mentioning that Israel actually has a valid reason to consider Grass ineligible for entry that has nothing to do with his views about the Iranian or Israeli nuclear programs because he is a veteran of the Waffen SS. Indeed, were Grass merely an ordinary person rather than a Novel Laureate for Literature — a bauble he received for his work critical of Nazi Germany before the world discovered that he was in fact a member of one of the organizations responsible for carrying out the Holocaust — such an entry in his biography might put him on a watch list that would prevent his entry into the United States and some other Western countries.

 

• Persona Non Grass by Jonathan S. Tobin http://t.co/C7KFYbuT

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In his Israel poem, Günter Grass chose the wrong side—again by David Stromberg

In his Israel poem, Günter Grass chose the wrong side—again by David Stromberg | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

One can understand why Grass sees Israel as a threat: It endangers the peace of mind he only attained in recent years—having finally confessed, fairly late in life, to having been in the Waffen SS as a teenager. And while Grass has made public peace with his personal past, Israel keeps disrupting this apparent serenity by insisting to its allies and to its enemies that it will not stand by quietly against a looming existential threat. This not only disturbs Grass' peace of mind, but also challenges him to face a new historical contingency in which he has to choose sides—something of which he is clearly weary. And perhaps for good reason, since we know from his Nazi-era admission that he has a tendency to pick the wrong side. That time he had the excuse of being young. Now he can perhaps blame it on being old.

 

• In his Israel poem, Günter Grass chose the wrong side—again by David Stromberg http://t.co/NLCWIe7L

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The First Death of Günter Grass by Bernard-Henri Lévy

Here is a European writer, one of the greatest and most eminent, for he is Nobel prize laureate Günter Grass, who has nothing better to do than to publish a poem in which he explains that there is only one serious threat hanging over our heads, and that this threat comes from a tiny country, one of the smallest in the world, one of the most vulnerable as well and, by the by, a democracy: the State of Israel. Posture and imposture; a statue made of sand and a sideshow; the Commander was a Tartuffe, the teacher of morality the very incarnation of the immorality he assailed. Günter Grass, this big fish of letters, this turbot, frozen by 60 years of posing and lies, has finally decomposed. And that, to the letter, is what is called a debacle -- how sad.

 

• The First Death of Günter Grass by Bernard-Henri Lévy http://t.co/nYDcAMNj

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Grass: Ignorant or Calculating Cynic? by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

Grass: Ignorant or Calculating Cynic? by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Grass’s bald assertion that Israel threatens the preemptive annihilation of the Iranian people, which he cleverly presents as a fact and then argues that it must be resisted, is either an anti-Semitic fantasy or a grotesque cynical fabrication that plays on many Germans’ projections of Nazism onto Jews and Israel. There is not a shred of evidence, a whispered word, or any reason to believe that Israeli leaders have for one micromoment contemplated such an act. How absurd that I, or anyone else, would have to write these words! There is Grass’s underlying fabrication that many readers may not even think to catch, which is the fabricated justification for Grass to pen his poem in the first place.

 

• Grass: Ignorant or Calculating Cynic? by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen http://t.co/aYJRUZ5f

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Israeli Government Screws Up PR Again by Jewdar

Israeli Government Screws Up PR Again by Jewdar | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

This should be been nothing with nothing, except that a few days later, the Israeli gov’t announced that Grass was banned from Israel. In other words, after being negatively compared to an autocratic theocracy that penalizes speech, the Interior Minister from Shas penalizes speech, and in the most moronic way possible–by banning a writer who wasn’t coming to Israel anyway. Now, of course, Israel’s less clever defenders will doubtless bristle and point out that while Iran issues death sentences against writers, Israel just bans them. But at the point at which your defense is that you are not as bad is Iran, haven’t you already lost?

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Günter Grass Shouldn't Be Barred From Israel by Alan Dershowitz

By misusing border controls to make a symbolic gesture of contempt against a writer, Israel's Minister of the Interior weakens his nation's otherwise strong case for excluding individuals who pose genuine threats. I hope that the decision will be quickly reversed by the Israeli government. It is too important a decision, and does too much damage to Israel, to be left to one minister. The entire nation suffers when a poet is barred from its land. That is not the democratic response to bad speech. Nor is it the response of the Jewish tradition, which thrives on debate and dissent. It should not be the Israeli response.

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Günter Grass' delusions by Yehoshua Sobol

Günter Grass' delusions by Yehoshua Sobol | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

In his subconscious, Günter Grass needs Israel to wipe out the Iranian people, because the day Israel exterminates 80 million people will be the day that Grass – in his own delusional mind – will finally be acquitted in the court of history. But the problem is not Günter Grass. The problem is the 50 percent of the Süddeutsche Zeitung readership that agrees with him, according to an Internet poll taken by the German newspaper. Does the entire Christian world have a psychological need for Israel to commit a worse crime than the ones committed by the Nazis?

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Poisonous Poetry by David Pryce-Jones

Poisonous Poetry by David Pryce-Jones | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

It was Nazism that finally drove numbers of post-war Jewish survivors to seek safety in the state of Israel. It is intellectually and morally bankrupt for a former member of the SS to come up with warnings and prescriptions to these survivors or their descendants, most of whom have been driven to extremes precisely by the SS. Grass is blaming the Jews of Israel for taking steps to stay alive and also delighting those who still want to kill them — and that’s what must be said.

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Günter Grass Specializes in 'Self-Righteousness' by Charles Hawley

Günter Grass Specializes in 'Self-Righteousness' by Charles Hawley | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

In his poem about Israel and Iran published on Wednesday, German Nobel laureate Günter Grass expressed the fear that he would be labelled anti-Semitic for his anti-Israeli stance. Some commentators in Germany on Thursday say that the fear was more than justified.

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The Nazi teen and the occupation of Jerusalem by Burak Bekdil

The Nazi teen and the occupation of Jerusalem by Burak Bekdil | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

The State of Israel, in the personality of Mr. Yishai, is behaving like the countries it criticizes of being undemocratic and intolerant. The travel ban looks not only childish but also self-denigrating. But let’s go back to the Occupation. Hardly a day passes in the Islamic world (or in the western intellectual world) without people standing up against and decrying the occupation of “al-Quds” (otherwise known as Jerusalem). In this column I have often argued otherwise: A counter-occupation is no occupation. Now, dear Islamists, I have a “witness” whom I guess you could hardly refute...

 

• The Nazi teen and the occupation of Jerusalem by Burak Bekdil http://bit.ly/JYvAmh

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Gunter Grass's Tin Ear by Josef Joffe

 The motive is unbearable guilt feelings, though Germany has evolved into a model democracy since 1945. How to regain moral worth? By projecting culpability onto Israel. "The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz," runs a quip ascribed to Zvi Rex, an Israeli psychiatrist. You don't need a shrink to deconstruct this defense mechanism. Our grandfathers did it, but the Israelis, who won't let us forget, are just as bad. Three classics are: "They are the new Nazis," "Gaza is like the Warsaw Ghetto," and "We learned our lesson, the Israelis did not." Thus, the accounts are squared, with a tidy moral surplus left over for Mr. Grass and his new friends on the far left and far right.

 

• Gunter Grass's Tin Ear by Josef Joffe http://t.co/BcvJST4m

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Günter Grass and "Criticism" of Israel, CAMERA

Whether or not a writer supports the decision to bar Grass from the country, readers deserve to hear all of the germane facts. Liel Liebovitz suggests that the ban is either completely arbitrary or the result of a blanket punishment of all who don't walk in lockstep with Israel's government. But the decision, right or wrong, is neither of these. The Jerusalem Post, Ha'aretz and the Times of Israel have each reported that the decision was based on a Israeli law allowing the Interior Ministry to bar people with past Nazi affiliations, and Grass, as he eventually admitted to the German people, was in a unit of the Waffen SS.

 

• Günter Grass and "Criticism" of Israel, CAMERA http://bit.ly/Hx49B4

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Germany's National Debate Over Guilt, the Holocaust, Israel, and Günter Grass by Heather Horn

Germany's National Debate Over Guilt, the Holocaust, Israel, and Günter Grass by Heather Horn | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

The question that Grass's German critics seem to be tackling is a tricky one: is Grass merely naïve and possibly careerist, or is there something more subconsciously sinister at work? Many of the critics seem to feel it's the latter, and that's why they find the poem so repellent. Grass, they argue, is attempting to will into reality a Freudian inversion of past German sins. His poem is an emotional rebalancing of the Holocaust, casting Israel, founded by 20th-century Jewish victims, as a 21st-century existential threat to Iranians. Germans have become adept at picking out undertones and recognizing exculpatory rhetoric. This poem, at this time, struck way too close to home.

 

• Germany's National Debate Over Guilt, the Holocaust, Israel, and Günter Grass by Heather Horn http://t.co/A1uShNcr

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Günter Grass and the mute left by Ari Shavit

Günter Grass and the mute left by Ari Shavit | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

The Grass challenge is a serious one. It includes an attempt to deny Israel the moral safety net on which the strategic safety net relies. This time the attack is not against the occupation and the settlements, but against Dimona. The spearhead of the European left is trying to deny Israel the deterrence on which its security is based. But there was no reaction at all from the Zionist left. No writer delivered a fire and brimstone speech in fluent English. No intellectual published a penetrating article in The New York Times. Meretz and Peace Now remained silent. The preachers who hasten to condemn every hallucinatory rabbi from the settlement of Yitzhar fell silent in the face of the Nobel Prize laureate's horrifying words. In the Gunter Grass test, Israel's moral left failed dismally.

 

• Günter Grass and the mute left by Ari Shavit http://t.co/zbwuHqBS

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Why Günter Grass should be persona non grata by Fresno Zionist

Rather than pique, the decision — which as far as I know is purely symbolic, with Grass showing no desire to visit Israel — is an expression of a more important principle, that of Jewish sovereignty. By shutting the door in Grass’ face, Israel is saying something like this: We can’t prevent people like Grass from making vicious and hateful statements, but we don’t have to let them in our house. Jews have been forced to listen to vicious libels and demonization from the mouths of those that hate them for hundreds of years, often trembling in fear at what they portend. Now we have our own house. Here we have the right — and the power — to demand respect.

 

• Why Günter Grass should be persona non grata by Fresno Zionist http://t.co/7hyIgHSL

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Let Günter Grass visit Israel—and encounter democracy by Gil Troy

Let Günter Grass visit Israel—and encounter democracy by Gil Troy | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Beyond not wanting to deploy state power against an aging, irrelevant blowhard whose great achievement, The Tin Drum dates to 1959, before I was born, I believe Israel has nothing to hide. Grass should visit Israel now during Passover. Freedom thrives from exposure. Let Grass come visit Israel and learn. Then, let him make Tehran his next stop, if he dares.

 

• Let Günter Grass visit Israel—and encounter democracy by Gil Troy http://t.co/CH8y7jUD

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The Lies of Günter Grass by David Solway

The Lies of Günter Grass by David Solway | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Günter Grass is a pitiable specimen of bad faith and muddled thinking who sounds current, given that he parrots the Leftist line, but is actually superannuated. From the perspective of his actual writing, the Grass was greener in the far distant past; today, to quote a genuine poet, John Keats, it is withered sedge where “no birds sing.”

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Israel-Iran History, Holocaust Perverted in Grass’s Poem by Jeffrey Goldberg

Israel-Iran History, Holocaust Perverted in Grass’s Poem by Jeffrey Goldberg | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Grass’s thinking is clear. The short version of his message: Israel may one day soon commit nuclear genocide against the people of Iran. Israel, which in reality is contemplating targeting six to eight nuclear sites in Iran for conventional aerial bombardment, in fact wants to annihilate the Iranian people in a “first strike.” This is, of course, delusional.

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The moral blindness of Günter Grass by Anshel Pfeffer

The moral blindness of Günter Grass by Anshel Pfeffer | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Logic and reason are useless when a highly intelligent man, a Nobel laureate no less, does not understand that his membership in an organization that planned and carried out the wholesale genocide of millions of Jews disqualifies him from criticizing the descendants of those Jews for developing a weapon of last resort that is the insurance policy against someone finishing the job his organization began. What could be more self-evident?

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Something rotten in Germany by Giulio Meotti and Benjamin Weinthal

Something rotten in Germany by Giulio Meotti and Benjamin Weinthal | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

With his latest work, Grass has become the leading anti-Israel author of the European intelligentsia. It is a disturbing sign of intellectual malaise, anti-democratic thinking and nihilism that he can use major media outlets to stoke hatred of Israel. To many Germans, anti-Semitism is apparently no longer a shock.

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