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...

  • 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 →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the morale of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.