More than half of the respondents to an online survey of a respected German newspaper agreed with Günter Grass’s views on Israel.
When asked to weigh in on the Nobel laureate’s “theses about Israel,” 57 percent indicated they found them to be “correct.” Nearly 30% said they were “debatable.” Only 4% of the 21,773 voters found the poet’s views on Israel to be “anti-Semitic.” Also, four percent said Grass’s views were “dangerous,” while 7% said they were “lunatic.”
The survey was posted earlier this month on the website of the German edition of the Financial Times.
Earlier this month, Grass — who had served in the Waffen-SS toward the end of World War II — published a controversial poem in which he bashed Israel for endangering world peace by threatening to annihilate the Iranian people. His poem immediately drew harsh condemnations from German and Israeli politicians and pundits. The Israeli Interior Ministry decided to ban Grass from entering Israel, a move that was widely criticized as exaggerated.
Grass’s poem — entitled “Was gesagt werden muss,” or What needs to be said — sparked a heated debate among Israeli and German intellectuals as to what it said about anti-Semitism in Germany and the Germans’ attitudes about the Holocaust. Some argued Grass expressed thoughts many of his compatriots share but don’t dare to admit in public because of the country’s past. Others considered the affair an isolated incident, caused by a senile old man who always had a problematic relationship to Jews because he was ashamed of his own Nazi past.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.