Günter Grass, persona non grata in Israel

Now Interior Minister Eli Yishai has declared Grass to be persona non grata while Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has accused the German author of being “willing to sacrifice the Jewish people on the altar of crazy anti-Semites for a second time, just to sell a few more books or gain recognition.”

Yishai and Lieberman are the two most outspoken racists in the Israeli government, so if one of the ways to know a person is by his enemies, I’d say Grass is looking pretty good.

And in a way, he’s getting off easy; when ex-Mossad boss Meir Dagan started criticizing Netanyahu and Barak’s plan to bomb Iran, his diplomatic passport was revoked and some cabinet ministers demanded he be investigated for endangering national security.

So it doesn’t matter if Grass was in the Waffen SS (drafted at age 17 at the end of WWII). That makes him an easy target for Israel’s enforcers, but when you’re dealing with antiwar critics, any excuse will do: he’s a German, he’s a gentile, he’s a Jew who doesn’t live in Israel, he’s a fifth-column Jew living in Israel. Whatever. The point is to shut up criticism of Israel’s right to make war whenever and wherever it wants.

I find it hard to believe that any honest, intelligent person looking at the Gunter Grass affair doesn’t see that.

More on this issue: Larry Derfner, Yossi Gurvitz  earlier on Gunter Grass’s poem “What must be said.”