Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed German Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass on Thursday, saying his “shameful” moral equivalence between Iran and Israel says more about Grass than it does about Israel.
It is rare for Netanyahu to react to anti- Semitic and virulently anti-Israel statements made abroad, but this time he felt it necessary considering Grass’s high profile and hidden Nazi past, a government official said.
“It is Iran, not Israel, that is a threat to the peace and security of the world,” Netanyahu said. “It is Iran, not Israel, that threatens other states with annihilation. It is Iran, not Israel, that supports terror organizations that fire rockets on innocent civilians. It is Iran, not Israel, that is supporting the Syrian regime’s massacre of its own people. It is Iran, not Israel, that stones women, hangs gays and brutally represses tens of millions of its own citizens.”
Grass published a poem in two major European papers Wednesday saying that Israel endangered the world’s security and that he was concerned it would “wipe out the Iranian people.” He called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to stop its delivery of Dolphin submarines to Israel.
In the poem, What must be said, the 84- year-old Grass, who has visited Israel a number of times in the past, wrote: “Why do I only say now, aged and with my last ink: the atomic power Israel is endangering the already fragile world peace?” Referring to Grass’s admission in 2006 that he was a member of the Nazi Waffen-SS – after having hidden that fact for six decades – Netanyahu said it was “perhaps not surprising” that Grass “cast the one and only Jewish state as the greatest threat to world peace and to oppose giving Israel the means to defend itself.”
Netanyahu called on “decent people everywhere” to “strongly condemn these ignorant and reprehensible statements.”