Germany’s most famous living writer, the Nobel literature laureate Günter Grass, is not welcome in Israel, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said on Sunday, after a controversial poem Grass wrote stated that Israel's "atomic power endangers" world peace.
"Grass's poems are an attempt to fan the flames of hatred against the State of Israel and its people," Yishai said, who said the poem highlights Grass's well-known history as a member of the Waffen-SS.
"If Gunter Grass wants to continue to spread his distorted and false works I suggest he do it in Iran, where a receptive audience awaits him" Yishai stated.
Grass poem, entitled "What Must Be Said," created a storm following its publication in the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung last Wednesday. In it, the author states that Israel seeks Iran's destruction, and questioned Germany's sale of a submarine "equipped to transport nuclear warheads" to Israel, which is widely believed to be the Middle East's sole nuclear power.
Israel maintains a policy of ambiguity surrounding its nuclear program, and is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty along with India and Pakistan, which are confirmed nuclear powers.
Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this report