David Calling

Poisonous Poetry

Günter Grass thinks that Israel is a threat to world peace, and he’s written a poem to say so with the title “What must be said.” It is really rather amazing how adept and persistent the man is at getting things wrong.

He lived through the Nazi experience, and his explanation of it is that Hitler was a magician who bewitched the Germans. Metaphysical fantasy, in other words, replaces the political reality that Germans became enthusiastic Nazis in the belief that Hitler was fulfilling huge national ambitions. This imaginative excuse for the intellectual and moral breakdown of the Germans made Grass popular and won him the Nobel Prize.

Throughout his career Grass insisted that Germans had to confess to the wrongful ways in which they had allowed themselves to be deceived. Only after some six decades of heavy moral bombardment of other Germans did he let drop that he too had been a member of the Waffen SS. The hypocrisy of the concealment is as rich as any example to be found.

This expert in double-dealing now claims that he is tired of “Western hypocrisy” for calling to end the Iranian nuclear program while tolerating the Israeli nuclear program.  Not so fast, please. It was Nazism that finally drove numbers of post-war Jewish survivors to seek safety in the state of Israel.  Again 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.

David Pryce-Jones — David Pryce-Jones is a British author and commentator and a senior editor of National Review.

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