Poetry News

Gunter Grass Offends Israel via Verse Again

By Harriet Staff

From The Globe and Mail:

Nobel prize-winning German author Gunter Grass, declared persona non-grata by Israel over a poem saying it threatened world peace, has published another work critical of the Jewish state.

In one of a collection of 87 new pieces, Mr. Grass hails whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu, who served 18 years in jail for leaking Israeli nuclear secrets to a British newspaper, in a poem entitled A Hero in Our Time.

He describes Mr. Vanunu, a former nuclear technician, as a “hero” and a “role model,” according to extracts published by the German news agency DPA.

Earlier this year, Mr. Grass, 84, angered Israel after publishing a piece entitled What Must Be Said, in which he voiced fears that a nuclear-armed Israel “could wipe out the Iranian people” with a “first strike.”

Israel has since barred him from visiting the country.

Mr. Vanunu himself said that he was pleased to be mentioned by a writer of Mr. Grass’s stature. “I am very happy to be in the league of Gunter Grass,” he told AFP, speaking in English. Mr. Vanunu compared Israel’s ban on a Grass visit to its refusal to let him leave the country.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor mocked Mr. Grass’s poem as “surely no Schiller,” adding that at least Mr. Grass had found in Mr. Vanunu one Israeli worthy of praise.

Full article here.

Originally Published: October 1st, 2012