Den tyske forfatteren Günter Grass har havnet i trøbbel etter at Süddeutsche Zeitung publiserte hans dikt om Israel og Iran.

Diktet heter «Det som må sies», og Grass føler han burde sagt fra lenge før.

«Why did I wait until now at this advanced age and with the last bit of ink to say: The nuclear power Israel is endangering a world peace that is already fragile?» Grass writes in the poem. The 84-year-old also criticizes the planned delivery of submarines «from my country» to Israel, a reference to Germany’s plan to deliver Dolphin-class submarines to Israel that are capable of carrying nuclear-armed missiles. At the same time, Grass also expresses his solidarity with Israel.

Grass føler han burde sagt fra for lengst. Andre ser en gammel mann som begynner å miste både dømmekraft og hemninger.

Det er vanskelig å forstå hvorfor en gammel forfatter skal kommentere strategisk storpolitikk i Midtøsten. Hvilke forutsetninger har Grass for å vurdere kampen mellom Iran og Israel?

Grass also calls for an «unhindered and permanent monitoring of Israel’s nuclear potential and Iran’s nuclear facility through an international entity that the government of both countries would approve.»

Grass synes helt å ha glemt både sin egen og Tysklands fortid.

I 2006 skrev han i sin memoarbok at han som 17-åring meldte seg inn i Waffen SS, frivillig. Dette kom som et sjokk på tysk offentlighet. Grass hadde i årtier oppført seg som nasjonens samvittighet. Så var skapet fullt av skjeletter. Dette var for mye dobbeltmoral å svelge for mange.

En annen ting er dømmekraft. En tysk intellektuelle bør vokte seg for å kritisere at Tyskland leverer våpen til Israel, og spesielt i en situasjon hvor en annen nasjon både benekter Holocaust og truer med å slette Israel av kartet.

Grass ser ikke ut til å forstå hvilken floke han har rotet seg inn i.

Reaksjonene lot ikke vente seg på og de er sterke:

In response to the publication, the Israeli Embassy in Berlin issued a statement offering its own version of «What must be said.» «What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder,» the statements reads. «Earlier, it was Christian children whose blood the Jews allegedly used to make their unleavened bread, but today it is the Iranian people that the Jewish state allegedly wants to annihilate. What also must be said is that Israel is the only state in the world whose right to exist is openly doubted. That was true on the day of its founding and it remains true today. We want to live in peace with our neighbors in the region. And we are not prepared to assume the role that Günter Grass is trying to assign to us as part of the German people’s efforts to come to terms with the past.»

Others have also reacted. The Central Council of Jews in Germany has called the poem an «aggressive pamphlet of agitation.» Ruprecht Polenz, the chair of the German parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, told the daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung that, while Grass is a literary great, «he has difficulties whenever he comments on politics and is often wrong.» Polenz’s CDU colleague Philipp Missfelder said «the poem is tasteless, ahistorical and demonstrates a lack of knowledge about the situation in the Middle East.»

Noen har også forsvart Grass, blant annet leder av tyske P.E.N. Både i Norge og Tyskland inntar menneskerettsorganisasjoner standpunkt som ligger nær det politisk korrekte.

Flere tyske kommentatorer tar tyren ved hornene og opererer med begepet «politisk korrekt antisemittisme», blant dem Henryk Broder.

The German newspaper Die Welt, which apparently got an advance copy of the poem, published a response on Wednesday by Henryk Broder, a journalist at the newspaper who is the country’s most prominent Jewish writer. The Berlin-based polemicist, who himself is famous for his outspoken views, attacks Grass in an editorial. «Grass always had a problem with Jews, but it has never articulated it as clearly as he has in this ‘poem’.»

He writes that «Grass has always had a tendency toward megalomania, but this time he is completely nuts.» He also criticizes Grass for claiming in a 2011 interview with Israeli journalist Tom Segev that 6 million German soldiers were «liquidated» by the Soviets after World War II. The figure is extremely controversial as it hints at a direct comparison with the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Grass, Broder writes, «is the prototype of the educated anti-Semite, who is well-meaning when it comes to Jews. Haunted by feelings of guilt and shame and also driven by the desire to settle history, he is now attempting to disarm the ’cause of the recognizable threat.'»

Nobel Laureate Grass Attacks Israel in New Poem