Nobel academy rejects Israeli demand to revoke poet’s award
The Swedish Academy in charge of selecting laureates for the Nobel Prize in Literature has rejected a call by an Israeli writers group to revoke the award of German Nobelist Gunter Grass.
“Regarding the current debate over Gunter Grass’ poem “Was gesagt wered muss” (What must be said) I wish to point out that Mr. Grass received his Nobel Prize in 1999 on literary merit and merit alone – this applies to all recipients,” said Peter Englund, the permanent secretary of the Academy, on Tuesday.
“There is and will be no discussion in the Swedish Academy on rescinding the award,” said Englund.
The Hebrew Writers’ Association had earlier on Tuesday condemned Grass for writing a poem in which he expressed concern over the consequences of both a nuclear-armed Israel and a possible Israeli attack on Iran.
“We are struck by the shameful and immoral positions taken by Gunter Grass,” Herzl Hakak, the head of the Israeli association said, adding that they “call on writers worldwide to denounce” the opinions of the German Nobelist.
The controversial poem, which was published in the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung last week, has also provoked the anger of both Israeli and German officials.
Germany’s Social Democrats, one of the country’s main political parties, announced that Grass was no longer welcomed at their campaign rallies.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, meanwhile, described the poem as “shameful”, saying it was “an expression of the cynicism of some of the West’s intellectuals”.
Despite all the condemnation, Grass has stated that he has received “piles” of supportive messages for speaking out.
In the poem, the Nobelist writes “Why do I say only now … that the nuclear power Israel endangers an already fragile world peace? Because that must be said which may already be too late to say tomorrow.”
“I will be silent no longer, because I am weary of the West’s hypocrisy,” Grass adds.
Grass won the Nobel Prize in 1999. His 1958 novel, The Tin Drum, was an indictment of the German mindset in the Nazi era.
Meanwhile, the Israeli regime remains the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and it has never allowed inspections of its nuclear facilities nor has it joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) based on its policy of nuclear ambiguity.
According to a survey conducted in 2011 by the Berlin-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation, more than 50 percent of Europeans believe that the Tel Aviv regime is the most serious threat to global security.
- Israel, threat to world peace: Nobel laureate Gunter Grass (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Art of Resistance – a comment on Günter Grass (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Gunter Grass Addresses Israel’s Nuclear Threat (middleeastatemporal.wordpress.com)