World Jewish News
“His distorted poems are not welcome in Israel. I suggest he try them in Iran where he will find a sympathetic audience,” Israel's Interior Minister Eli Yishai said.
Israel bars Gunter Grass from entering the country
Israel declared German author Gunter Grass unwelcome in Israel on Sunday, barring him from entering the country for a poem that accused Israel of being a threat to world peace.
"Grass’s poems fan the flames of hatred against Israel and the Israeli people, thus promoting the idea he was part of when he donned an SS uniform," declared Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
The minister was referring to Grass’s admission that he had been a Waffen-SS Nazi soldier as a 17-year-old. An Israeli law prevents entryin Israel to ex-Nazis.
“His distorted poems are not welcome in Israel. I suggest he try them in Iran where he will find a sympathetic audience,” the minister added.
In his poem titled 'What Must Be Said', published in a German newspaper, 84-year-Grass said Israel "could wipe out the Iranian people" due to the threat it sees in Tehran's disputed nuclear programme and labeled the Jewish state a threat to "already fragile world peace."
In Germany, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called comparisons between Israel and Iran "absurd."
In an article in the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Westerwelle wrote that Germany had " historic responsibility for the people of Israel" and underscored the similarities between the countries as democracies as well as the history between their peoples.
"Putting Israel and Iran on the same moral level is not ingenious but absurd," Mr. Westerwelle wrote.
On Sunday, during a meeting in Jerusalem with visiting Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Grass’s poem "an expression of the cynicism of some of the West’s intellectuals who, for publicity purposes and the desire to sell a few more books, are willing to sacrifice the Jewish nation a second time on the altar of crazy anti-Semites."