There are people who thrive upon the noxious fumes of their infamy. In 2006, Gunter Grass published his memoir, Peeling the Onion, and informed the world he served in the Waffen SS of Hitler’s army in the late months of the Second World War.
This confession came seven years after Grass was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature.
How does a Nobel laureate, celebrated as one of post-war Germany’s greatest writers and its conscience, release fumes more noxious than his 2006 memoir, which embarrassed a whole lot of people celebrating him?
He does by writing an op-ed in the form of free verse — an English rendition by Heather Horn is available in the Atlantic magazine’s online edition — in which he mulls over the world’s hypocrisy, like some ancient Teutonic knight in a horrid imitation of a poor Wagnerian opera, to announce, “That the nuclear power of Israel endangers/The already fragile world peace.”
It takes chutzpah — only the Yiddish word has the precision here to describe Grass’s conduct, and the English words “gall” or “impudence” are mere approximations — for a former Waffen SS soldier to scold Israel.
The op-ed masquerading as poem is obscene. But the greater obscenity is Grass himself — given Germany’s past as the Third Reich and his own role — posing as a moralist to draw equivalence between Israel and Iran.
Grass fools none except those in Europe, and the West, who mask their anti-Semitism in the name of Third World solidarity and support for Palestinian rights, while blaming Israel solely for the problems and troubles of the Middle East.
The Ayatollah Khomeini’s thuggish regime in Iran, led by Khamenei and Ahmedinejad, might be a pathetic and poor copy of Hitler’s Third Reich, but it is a copy nevertheless. It is driven by similar urgings of anti-Semitism, discriminations against minorities and those ideologically viewed as misfits, and a pathological resentment against free people and democracy.
As a Muslim, I know intimately through experience the homicidal instinct of Islamists, and their perversity in assigning blames to others for their actions. It is the same perversity that allows Islamists to blame rape on victims and to punish them for adultery.
The Iranian leadership has not hidden its ideologically driven and religiously sanctioned enmity against Israel. And Israel cannot afford behaving as an ostrich to threats from Tehran.
For Israel, the threat from a potentially nuclear armed Iran is existential. Any pre-emptive measure Israel takes, however, would not be against Iranian people and their country. It would be instead to decapitate a thuggish regime’s effort to threaten Jews with a second Holocaust.
Grass is upset Israel has taken full measure of the Iranian threat to Jewish existence, and is prepared to take counter-measures to thwart that intention before it matures.
In scolding Israel, Grass remains fixated with his Jewish obsession, while learning from Islamists how to blame the victims, Jews, who for the longest time were made scapegoats by Christians in European history.
Grass has found his soulmates in Iran, and only in such twisted minds as that of Grass and his Islamist allies for Israel to be proactive in its own defence means endangering world peace.