What Must be Said

Gunter Grass continues to face accusations of antisemitism for his poem `What Must Be Said', which predicts that very reaction.
But why do I forbid myself
to name that other land in which
for years—although kept secret—
a usable nuclear capability has grown
beyond all control, because
no scrutiny is allowed.

The universal silence around this fact,
under which my own silence lay,
I feel now as a heavy lie,
a strong constraint, which to dismiss
courts forceful punishment:
the verdict of “Antisemitism” is well known.
Why is it only now I say,
in old age, with my last drop of ink,
that Israel’s nuclear power endangers
an already fragile world peace?

I like this translation better than the original German. Somehow it does sound more "prophetic" and less like the writing of a disgruntled old man.
They worked themselves into an existential conflict. There's nothing more to be said.
I think it is understandable that Grass faces accusations of antisemitism. His poem (which is actually more like prose with too many line breaks) claims things that are far away from reality, but are suitable for casting a damning light on Israel.

For example according to Grass, Israel claims a right to a first strike (“Erstschlag”). Now a first strike is an initial strike with nuclear weapons, something that Israel does not intend. The delivery of submarines from Germany, which caused Grass to write his text, is for enabling Israel to carry out a second strike if it is attacked by Iran.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants Israel to be extinguished, but Grass fears that Israel could “extinguish the Iranian people”. No wonder that Iranian state TV is happy, saying that “metaphorically, the Nobelist has delivered a lethally lyrical strike against Israel.”

So the statements made by Grass could very well be antisemitic. Alternatively, they could just be stupid, a sign of outstanding ignorance.
Imho the comment by Anonymous on 1/5/12 7:53 PM is just stupid.
Any arguments that justify this claim?
Anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews. Where exactly was Grass saying anything against Jews ? It is frankly annoying and a pretty despicable tactic to paint any critic of Israel as "anti-Semitic"...

This is a Jew writing this, and this phenomenon is spread everywhere, for instance in France, any journalist that says anything against Israel is promptly taxed of anti-Semitism, sometimes even if they are themselves Jews ! Israel is a nation, it should be possible to critic it as a nation and for example to remark on its multiple violation of international law and its ignorance of UN resolutions without involving racial or religious hatred. But it's not because for Israel defenders, it is far easier to dismiss and ridicule such criticism with this simple word : "anti-Semitism".

It is also pretty funny to see an "anonymous" accuse a Nobel Prize of literature (not exactly a prize for drooling idiots) of outstanding ignorance...
@Jedai: Well said!

(A different anonymous -- because I can be bothered to sign in...)
Hi Jedaï,

I agree that using the “antisemitism mace” as a means to shut down critics of the Israeli government is a bad practice.

However, Grass’ critique doesn’t seem to be reasonable at all. In my post from 1 May 2012, 7:53 PM, I gave a few arguments that back up this claim. Unfortunately, you didn’t refute my arguments, but suggested that Grass is right already because he received a Nobel prize. However, a person that has received the Nobel prize in literature is not necessarily competent in politics.

You also mentioned Israel violating UN resolutions. I’d be interested to hear why you think that UN resolutions have to be obeyed under all circumstances. After all, the UN is not God. According to blogger Zettel, the UN is “a permanent conference […] in which almost all states of the world take part, and in which they lobby for their own interests. Decisions are typically dictated by large voting blocks, most notably the block of the islamic states and the block of the more or less socialist […] states. These are the states whose values are not the ones of the free western world.“
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