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Israeli Writers Will Call on PEN To Rebuke Günter Grass

The Hebrew Writers Association in Israel on Monday denounced a controversial poem by Nobel Literature laureate Günter Grass in which he criticizes Israel for threatening to attack Iran. The writers association said it would ask International PEN, a worldwide body of writers, to “publicly distance itself from Grass’ remarks and to come out against all expressions of delegitimization against Israel and the Jewish people.”

“Even before the traces of the swastika on his clothes were gone, Grass joined the crusade against the State of Israel,” the Hebrew Writers Association said in a public statement on Monday, referring to Grass’ days as a member of the Hitler youth and Nazi SS. “Grass should clean his clothes and his past, express remorse for the days when he served in the Nazi Death Army, because his terrible statement cast a dark shadow over all of his writings.”

The chairman of the association, Herzl Hakak, called on Israeli and international writers to denounce Grass and said the Nobel Prize committee should also weigh in on the issue. Hakak emphasized that the Nobel does not give its recipients immunity and called on Grass to issue an apology.

Grass’ poem, “What Must Be Said,” claimed Israel was preparing a first strike to “wipe out the Iranian people” as it attempts to derail Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Eli Yishai is coming under fire from German politicians for his announcement Sunday that Grass would be considered a persona non grata in Israel. A minister in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s German government has reportedly denounced the Israeli visa ban on Grass as “exaggerated.”

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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