The Left’s Defense of Nazi Günter Grass

By IndepthAfrica
In Middle East
Apr 12th, 2012
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Günter Grass has been transformed overnight into the poster boy of Neo-Nazis, leftist anti-Semites, and jihadists from all around the world.  This is of course thanks to his “poem,” in which he proclaims Israel a far worse danger to world peace than Iran is.  (Grass’s original poem is in the language of Himmler but an English translation can be read here.)  Grass insists that an Iran openly building nukes and threatening to use them against Israel and the West is far less of a global threat than an Israel that dares to defend its civilians from terrorist attacks.

While the condemnation of Grass from most corners of civilization has been massive and dramatic, Grass is also attracting a considerable following and outpouring of support from the Axis of Evil, the one that allies the radical Left to the genocidal Islamofascists.  Statements endorsing the Teuton and his “poem” have come from the radical Left, all the way from Noam Chomsky to the Israel-hating Israeli professor of German history, Moshe Zimmerman from the Hebrew University.  No relation to the shooter in Florida.

Grass has quite a bit of a track record when it comes to Jew bashing (but is hardly the only anti-Semite literary figure).  Best recognized for his Hitler moustache, Grass had served in the Waffen SS as a Panzer soldier.  He is putting his SS experiences to good use these days in his lobbying for Israel’s destruction.  His poem, expressing clearly his underlying desire to see Israel exterminated, triggered Israel’s Minister of the Interior to declare him persona non grata, in effect banned from Israel.  Even leftist “post-Zionist” Tom Segev, writing in Israel’s radical leftist daily Haaretz, denounced Grass in these words:

Grass’ comparison of Israel and Iran is unfair, because unlike Iran, Israel has never threatened to wipe another country off the map. And contrary to Grass’ sanctimonious verses, under no circumstances would a military action against Iran lead to the extermination of the Iranian people, because as far as we know, it would exclusively target the country’s nuclear facilities.

Few could dispute that the world will be a better place without an Iranian nuclear weapon. And not only in Israel – also the northern German town of Lubeck, the capital of marzipan, where Grass writes, paints and sculpts, will be a better place if Iran doesn’t get the bomb. Grass basks in hypocritical moralism and agonizes over not having condemned Israel’s nuclear capacity earlier. … One gets the impression Grass’ act of “breaking the silence” is more a self-contained personal experience than anything else. Neither can one escape the notion that he seeks to recreate the shock waves of his confession six years ago about his service in the Waffen SS during World War II.

But alongside the condemnations have come large numbers of expressions of support for Herr Grass and his opinions.  Take for example the shrill cheers for Grass from the pro-jihad Neo-Stalinist web magazine “Counterpunch.”   It ran a piece by Tariq Ali, a communist extremist from Lahore who lives in Britain.  A fanatical anti-Semite and hater of America, Ali (no relation to Ali G) defends Grass by attacking Jews for blaming Germans for the Holocaust, and then turns around and trivializes the Holocaust itself in these words: “Behind this thinking is the Zionist and Zionophile argument that the crime against the Jews of Europe was unique in the annals of history. This was true as far as the method of extermination was concerned, but not in any other way. The Belgians massacred the Congolese in greater numbers.”  Ali condemns Germany for sending aid and reparations to Israel, not for its anti-Semitism and history of genocide.  It is interesting to note that while Ali himself trivializes the Holocaust as just one set of killings among so many others, Counterpunch these days is chock full of actual Holocaust Denier columnists, including the deranged “Israel Shamir,” Gilad Atzmon, and others, alongside such anti-Semitic critters as Norman Finkelstein. Stalinist Alexander Cockburn, who runs the site, seems never to have met a Jew he does not think deserves to be murdered.

Meanwhile, Grass became overnight the darling of Neo-Nazis all over the world.  A cabinet minister from Iran just loves the Grass poem.  Deputy Culture Minister Javad Shamaqdari wrote in a sycophantic letter to Grass: “I read your literary work of human and historical responsibility, and it warns beautifully…Telling the truth in this way may awake the silent and dormant conscience of the West. Writers are able single-handedly to prevent human tragedies, in a way that armies cannot.”   Leftists and Neo-Nazis of various stripes took to the streets of Germany in rallies of support for Grass.  The brownshirts were joined by the “World Socialist Web Site” and the pro-terror “Electronic Intifada” and Al Jazeera.  They were also joined by Neo-Nazi “anarchist” Stephen Lendman, who posts daily anti-Semitic spam on the “Indymedia” anarchist sites.

Another supporter of Grass, in fact his sidekick in trying to prevent an Israeli theater company from performing in Britain, has been Emma Thompson, a leftist British actress who claims to be an anarchist.  You may recall her recent bon mot on American television in which she claimed that British residents of the Isle of Man stone homosexuals to death.  She signed a letter that asserted that the Habimah Theater had oppressed Palestinians, perhaps by requiring that they buy tickets to attend its shows.  The letter said, inter alia:  “Habimah has a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory.”  The Harry Potter witch has a rich track record of bashing Israel.

While criticizing Grass, others have been denouncing Israel for its travel ban against him.  A German cabinet minister criticized Israel for the ban on Grass, while also denouncing as bigoted both Grass and his “poem.”  Salman Rushdie, Alan Dershowitz and Jeffrey Goldberg all oppose the ban.  The British Telegraph denounced Israel’s decision as “bullying censorship,” forgetting to mention the long list of people, from Michael Savage to Israeli opposition politicians to critics of homosexuality, banned from Britain because some official considers them to be “intolerant” people. Countries routinely ban entrance to hostile foreigners or those who demonize the people of those countries.  Israel has banned only a few notorious rogues, including Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, and Norman Finkelstein, all anti-Israel propagandists with close associations with terrorist groups..

Anti-Semites around the world celebrating Grass were even joined by some Jewish anti-Semites, always happy to “Tom” it up for Neo-Nazis and jihadists.  A small group of pro-jihad Jewish leftist anti-Semites in the US calling themselves the “Jews for Justice for Palestinians” endorsed Grass.  Also joining were sundry Holocaust Denial web sites and the deranged Israel-born British Holocaust Denier Gilad Atzmon.   (You may recall that the anti-Semitic conspiracist duo Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer have been endorsing and hosting the very same Atzmon.)

Israel’s own radical leftists have been crawling out of their holes to express support for Grass and to denounce the Israeli ban against him entering the country. Basically they endorse anyone who despises their own country. The tiny Israeli leftist “972 magazine” web site, funded by anti-Israel Europeans, issued a call for support of Grass.  Ironically, these leftists, who suddenly pretend to be free speech absolutists when it comes to Grass, have a long track record of OPPOSING freedom of speech in Israel.  Gideon Levy, the most openly treasonous columnist at Haaretz, adores Grass’s dreams of a world in which there is no Israel, while opposing freedom of speech for “Rightists” or for settlers.  Haaretz in its official editorial denounced the declaration of Grass as persona non grata as a policy non grata.  The herd of leftist sheep from Israeli academia and elsewhere are chiming in their agreement.

After all, what did Grass really do that was so awful, asks Haaretz. All he did was write a poem! Freedom of expression! Academic freedom!

Sure. All this coming from exactly the same Israeli leftists (and the newspaper promoting them) who just petitioned the court to order the arrest of two rabbis who wrote a controversial book about some matters in Rabbinic law, a book the Left regards as “racist.”  The Israeli Left wants the book banned and burned. They have even been joined by the Israeli branch of the Reform synagogue movement, a movement that has never seen a leftist bandwagon upon which it does not wish to leap.  These leftist book-burners are demanding not only that the two authors be imprisoned for “racism,” but also that anyone even recommending that other people read that book be similarly arrested.  This is just the latest anti-democratic “cause” of Israeli leftists, who generally oppose freedom of speech for non-leftists.  These people regard any criticism of radical leftism to be “McCarthyism.”

But those two rabbis who wrote the controversial book, just what did THEY do that was so awful? They wrote a book. Many people do not like the opinions in that book. So what? Books by leftist anti-Semites and Arab fascist jihadists can be bought and read freely in Israel.

These are the very same people rushing out to “defend” Günter Grass from bully Israel.  Just what does he need defending from?  Did Israel arrest him?  Burn his books?  No, grasshopper, book burning is something that leftists do.

Steven Plaut

Steven Plaut is a native Philadelphian who teaches business finance and economics at the University of Haifa in Israel.  He holds a PhD in economics from Princeton.  He is author of the David Horowitz Freedom Center booklets about the Hamas  and Jewish Enablers of the War against Israel.

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