Guenter Grass - AP - April 2012
German writer and Nobel price laureate for literature Guenter Grass. Photo by AP
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday harshly condemned the poem published by German Nobel laureate Guenter Grass in which he said that Israel's nuclear program, not Iran's, is a threat to world peace.

"His declarations are ignorant and shameful and every honest person in this world must condemn them," Netanyahu said.

In his poem, which was published in several European newspapers on Wednesday, the 85-year-old author claims that Israel’s nuclear reactor – and not Iran’s – presents a threat to world peace. Grass’ poem calls for Germany to cease supplying Israel with submarines, and warns against an Israeli strike on Iran.

Netanyahu said he is sure that Grass' motives are anti-Semitic. "For six decades he hid his past as a member in the Waffen SS," Netanyahu said. "So it is no surprise that he defines the only Jewish state as the greatest threat to world peace and opposes it equipping itself with means of self defense."

Netanyahu said that Grass' comparison between Iran and Israel was shameful.

"In Iran there is a regime that denies the Holocaust and calls for the destruction of Israel," Netanyahu said. "This comparison says very little about Israel and a great deal about Mr. Grass. It is Iran, not Israel, which poses a threat to world peace. It is Iran, not Israel, which threatens to destroy other countries. It is Iran, not Israel, which supports terror organizations that fire missiles on innocent civilians. It is Iran, not Israel, which supports the massacre that the Syrian regime is carrying out on its civilians. It is Iran, not Israel, which stones women, hangs gay people, and ruthlessly suppresses the tens of millions of citizens in its country."

In the poem, which is entitled “What must be said," Grass writes that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a “big mouth,” and that the intentions of the Iranian nuclear program are not proven.

The poem drew sharp criticism in Germany, Israel and among Jewish organizations. The Israeli embassy in Germany said that the poem was in line with the 'tradition of blood libel ahead of Passover."

Grass also claims that “Israel’s nuclear potential has been stealthily growing for years,” without being under any kind of international supervision. Grass believes that Israel is planning to arm submarines recently purchased from Germany with nuclear warheads.

“Germany could be responsible for a crime that can be foreseen," Grass said.
Grass achieved fame with his first novel “The Tin Drum.” Many of his stories have been translated into Hebrew and English. In 2006, Grass admitted for the first time to serving in Hitler's Waffen SS during the Second World War. Today, Grass is an active member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.