Grass and the Sueddeutsche Newspaper

April 11, 2012 1:00 pm 0 comments

Photo: Dradio.de.

Anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, anti-Semitism is the new form of well-respected, mainstream hatred of Jews. On April 4, 2012, the leading German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung published a poem by 1999 Nobel Prize Laureate, Günter Grass, entitled “What Must Be Said.”

At the very beginning of his text Grass portrays himself and all of “us” as possible “survivors” of a hypothetical future war. Intentionally or not, Grass uses a term reserved for Jewish survivors of the Shoah. He is portraying himself as a possible victim of Jews, projecting his own guilt onto the victims. In 1944, at the age of 17, Grass became a member of the Waffen SS, and he lied to the public until 2006 when he revealed his Nazi past. Grass writes in his poem that Iranian President Ahmadinejad is nothing but a “loudmouth,” Israel seeks to “annihilate the Iranian people,” and that he is sick of hypocrisy and wants to speak out. The crucial sentence in the poem reads: “Israel’s atomic power endangers an already fragile world peace?” This is quite possibly the most anti-Semitic sentence written by an internationally acclaimed and respected German author since the unconditional surrender of National Socialism on May 8, 1945. It may be even worse than the phrase “The Jews are our misfortune” from German historian Heinrich von Treitschke in 1879, who became infamous for the Berlin Antisemitism Dispute (Berliner Antisemitismusstreit), because Grass writes in the post-Auschwitz time. He knows the consequences of Treitschke – and repeats his singling out of Jews, though framed as anti-Netanyahu and anti-Israel resentment.

Some might argue that Jews and the state of Israel are living in a pre-Holocaust time due to the fact that Iranian President Ahmadinejad said on October 26, 2005, at a conference in Teheran about “A World without Zionism,” that Israel must be “wiped off the map.” We know of many other genocidal anti-Semitic statements from Islamist leaders, including former Iranian president Rafsanjani, leading Sunni Islamist Yusuf al-Qaradawi and al-Jazeera TV from Qatar, or Egypt TV, where preachers have praised the Holocaust.

Grass dismisses those genocidal threats and portrays Israel as the bad boy which threatens Iran with a so-called “first strike” with atomic weapons dedicated to erase the population. This is a lie and Grass well knows that it is a lie. However, he knows from his own experience during Nazi Germany that people get to love, embrace and believe lies if they are repeated, repeated, and repeated. This was the tactic of Joseph Goebbels – the big lie method.

What is not much discussed, though, is the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. This is the leading German daily with some 410,000 copies a day, only the boulevard daily Bild-Zeitung sells more copies. The Sueddeutsche has a record of anti-Israel agitation. In December 2009 it published an article by British historian Tony Judt, declaring that Jews are not a people, and have no real connection to the land of Israel. In his article Judt used many antisemitic tropes. Finally he predicted that there might be “ethnic cleansing,” perpetrated by Israel, in the future on an unprecedented level since 1945.

In January 2010 historian Wolfgang Benz published a widely discussed article, entitled “Preachers of hate with parallels” (“Hetzer mit Parallelen”). He equated Islamists and preachers of hate in the Muslim world with critics of antisemitism and Islamism. Even if we take into account that Germans share the racist views of Muslims, which is horrible and has to be fought on a daily basis, there is nothing which can be compared with state-funded terrorism from Iran, with genocidal threats from the Iranian regime since 1979, and there is nothing which can be compared with Holocaust praise on Egypt TV.

Journalists spoke out against Grass, but those supposed experts on antisemitism, like the Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) at the Technical University of Berlin, are ignoring the new “Anti-Semitism Dispute” in 2012.

Dr. Clemens Heni is head of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA). 2008/2009 he was a Post-Doc at the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA), Yale University, in 2011 he published his book “Schadenfreude. Islamic Studies and antisemitism in Germany after 9/11” (in German). In 2009 he spoke at Hadassah Book Club and the Congregation Beth Israel in Hartford, in 2010 he spoke at the Congregation Beth-El in Edison, New Jersey. In summer 2012 he will publish his first book in English: “Antisemitism – A specific Phenomenon. An introduction in research on antisemitism – from Ahasver, Mammon, and Moloch to Holocaust distortion, anti-Zionism and Islamic Jihad”.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.