Former SS member and German Nobel literature laureate Guenter Grass labeled Israel a threat to world peace in a poem published Wednesday that drew sharp rebukes at home and from Israel.
Not only does the AP leaves the SS factoid out of the headline; they don't mention it until the near bottom of their article.........talk about burying the lede. The AP didn't mention the fact that Guenter Grass was a member of "the Waffen-SS, the combat arm of the Nazis' paramilitary organization" until the very end of the article (as were the comments in defense of the tiny Jewish state).
"What must also be said is that Israel is the world's only nation whose right to exist is publicly questioned," the Israeli Embassy in Germany said in a statement. "We want to live in peace with our neighbors in the region."
"Guenter Grass is turning the situation upside-down by defending a brutal regime that not only disregards but openly violates international agreements for many years," said Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee in Berlin.
"Iran is the threat for world peace — and Israel the only democracy in the entire region, and at the same time the world's only whose right to exist is openly questioned," said Charlotte Knobloch, a former leader of Germany's Jewish community.
Efraim Zuroff, who leads the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, called Grass' poem "outrageous," adding it appeared to be a sign of Israel "becoming the whipping boy for the frustrations of those who are sick of hearing about the Holocaust."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a staunch ally of Israel, and her spokesman reacted coolly to Grass' remarks.
"There is artistic freedom in Germany, and there thankfully also is the freedom of the government not to have to comment on every artistic production," Steffen Seibert said.
BERLIN (AP) — German Nobel literature laureate Guenter Grass labeled Israel a threat to "already fragile world peace" in a poem published Wednesday that drew sharp rebukes at home and from Israel.
In the poem titled "What must be said," published in German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Italy's La Repubblica among others, Grass criticized what he described as Western hypocrisy over Israel's own suspected nuclear program amid speculation that it might engage in military action against Iran to stop it building a suspected atomic bomb.
The 84-year-old Grass said he had been prompted to put pen to paper by Berlin's recent decision to sell Israel a submarine able to "send all-destroying warheads where the existence of a single nuclear bomb is unproven."
"The nuclear power Israel is endangering the already fragile world peace," he wrote. His poem specifically criticized Israel's "claim to the right of a first strike" against Iran.
Grass also called for "unhindered and permanent control of Israel's nuclear capability and Iran's atomic facilities through an international body."