Guenter Grass "persona non-grata" in Israel, Minister announces
German author Guenter Grass, who wrote a poem describing Israel as "a cause of recognizable danger," has been declared persona non grata in the Jewish state, Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced Sunday, dpa reported.
Grass' poem, "What must be said," which claimed Israel was preparing a first strike to "wipe out the Iranian people" as it attempts to derail Iran's nuclear weapons programme, caused outrage in Israel.
"Grass poem is an attempt fan flames of hatred toward the State of Israel and the people of Israel," Yishai said in a statement.
Referring to Grass' World War 2 service in the Waffen-SS, which he hid for 60 years, Yishai said the Nobel Literature Laureate was "trying to advance the ideas to which he was public partner when he wore the SS uniform."
"If Guenter Grass wants to continue to spread his distorted and false works I suggest he do it in Iran, where a receptive audience awaits him," Yishai said.
Israel regards Iran as its prime existential threat, because of Tehran's nuclear programme, coupled with repeated statements by President Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders to wipe the Jewish state off the map.
Speculation has been growing in recent months that Israel intends to launch a military strike at Iran's nuclear facilities, to end, or at least retard significantly, Iran's drive toward atomic weapons.