Josef Olmert
Josef Olmert
Last updated: April 11, 2012
Josef Olmert: The Günter Grass Affair – why it matters

"The veteran SS soldier tells us that he can’t keep quiet anymore about Israel’s plans to destroy the Iranian people"

In a recent article on Your Middle East, I described and analyzed the burden of the past and Israel’s calculus about Iran and its nuclear program. Jews believe that righteous people have their work done for them by others. Well, I am certainly not a righteous person, as there are only 36 such people, and I hate the thought that anything coming from the veteran SS soldier Günter Grass could be used by me, but this is what life presents us with... So, how can I ignore Grass poem ‘’what has to be said’’.

The veteran SS soldier tells us that he can’t keep quiet anymore about Israel’s plans to destroy the Iranian people. Well, before we get unnecessarily excited by his agony, let us remember that he managed to be silent 60 full years about his Nazi past. Moreover, his sudden admission that he served Adolf Hitler to the very end came only when he got wind of an impending press discovery about that. Grass was very silent also when German firms were exposed supplying chemicals to Saddam Hussein, who in April 1990 threatened to burn half of Israel. Grass was silent again when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the map. Should we even expect a veteran SS soldier to raise his voice under these circumstances? Probably not, but we should have expected the committee which awarded him his Nobel Prize to deprive him of that, the moment they heard his own admission about his SS service. It is not too late to do it even now, just a question of basic decency.

Coming back to the veteran SS soldier, he may deserve a prize after all, but on condition that he provides even a shred of evidence that anyone in a position of responsibility in Israel ever threatened to wipe Iran off the map. Grass knows one or two things about genocide, as he so loyally served those who did it against the Jewish people, but he knows nothing about what really is happening in Iran, or else he pretends not to. So much about one veteran SS soldier, and maybe we could end it all with just reminding the readers a thing or two about this German writer. But, there is much more to the story, and that also needs to be told.

This is about the international effort to delegitimize the existence of Israel, among other things by denying the Holocaust. Furthermore, to imply, as Grass does, that the Jews are the ones who are in the business of planning a holocaust against Iran. This effort is shared by both the extreme right and the extreme left. There is nothing new about these two demonic forces combining efforts against the Jews and Israel, and the only thing that changes really is the identity of the world power which is most anti-Jewish at any given time. This is the power that then enjoys the support of these extremes, and nowadays this is the Islamic Republic of Iran and Islamic fundamentalism at large. So, no surprise that a Kosher Left winger as Grass , is coming to the help of the regime in Teheran, that supposedly is committed to everything that Grass and his likes should be opposed to. But then, how can a veteran SS soldier and his counterparts resist the temptation of going again after the Jews and supporting the dark ages resurfacing with Ahmadinejad and his regime?

In 2005, Ahmadinejad, in his official capacity as President of Iran summoned the Holocaust denial conference in Teheran, and so, in the words of another German , much more righteous than Grass, though much less famous; ‘’never before had the leadership of a nation made denial of the Shoah a governmental policy at every level of societal life’’.  Our ‘’hero’’, the veteran SS soldier never raised his voice against this conference, and did not mention Ahmadinejad by name in his poem. Surely, a trivial, episodal detail...

Then, let us see the list of participants in this shameful conference. ‘’A strange parade of speakers ‘’, as Kuntzel called them. Among them the usual suspects as David Duke, the former chief of the K.K.K, officials of the Neo-Nazi German National Party and a Frenchman called Robert Fourisson , who defined the Holocaust as a ‘’fairy tale’’. With that name, things get more complicated. Fourisson published his scientific research in a book which, surprisingly enough, was forwarded by the guru of so many leftists, Noam Chomsky, of all people. Chomsky defended his dubious contribution to the book by upholding the principle of freedom of speech.

On many occasions, Chomsky defends and explains Iran’s nuclear program, and always he leads his readers to blame US and Israel for basically every injustice in the world. We can go on and on, but the message is simple and clear: the veteran SS soldier, Günter Grass, a self-styled "moralist" and "leftist", as well as many other such luminaries of the left have only one common denominator with so many in the extreme right, and this is about Iran and Israel. Can Israel be that wrong if this is the international coalition it is confronted with?

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