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      Op-Ed: Gunter Grass' "Trifles for a Massacre"

      Published: Sunday, April 08, 2012 8:00 AM
      It’s a mystery why many otherwise highly regarded novelists held deep antipathy towardsJews and incorporated anti-Jewish themes into their books.


      The Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature, Günter Grass, published a poem called “Was gesagt werdenmuss”, or “What needs to be said”, in which he bashes the “nuclear power Israel” for “endangering world peace”.

      According to Grass, a new blood libel,Israel is planning to wipe out the Iranian people (“we could be suppliers to a crime that can be foreseen”).

      The famous Nobelist expresses regret for having been silent about Germany’s support for Israel because he doesn’t want to be branded an anti-Semite. He is now “tired of Western hypocrisy”, the poem reads.

      It’s a mystery why many otherwise highly regarded novelists held deep antipathy towardsJews and incorporated anti-Jewish themes into their books.

      When 11 Israeli athletes were butchered at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the most famous French novelist Jean Paul Sartre wrote: “Terrorism is a terrible weapon, but the oppressed poor have no others”.

      Harold Pinter, the British Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, has been an outspoken demonizer of Israel, quoted as saying that Israel is “the central factor in world unrest”.

      Jòse Saramago, the Portuguese Nobel Prize Winner in Literature, compared Israeli actions in the territories to what happened in Auschwitz.

      The inference is clear: if the Arabs are captives in a concentration camp, they have the right to destroy it.

      Men of letters’ hatred for the Jews is nothing new.

      Fyodor Dostoevsky, one of the greatest treasures of mankind, developed anti-Ssemitic views. Mikhail Bulgakov’s masterpiece “The Master and Margarita” plays on a number of fantasies of Jewish conspiracy.

      Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” indulges in rhapsodic Jew-hatred. Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” gave credence to 16th-century anti-Semitism.

      Christopher Marlowe’s depiction of Barabas in the “Jew of Malta” is loaded withanti-Semitic confectionery.

      Charles Dickens’ Judeophobia is everywhere in the portrait of Fagin’s “Oliver Twist”.

      HG Wells described Zionism in “The Anatomy of Frustration” as “an expression of Jewish refusal to assimilate. If Jews have suffered it is because they have regarded themselves as a chosen people”.

      MarkTwain wrote of Jews as “simple, superstitious, disease-tortured creatures”.

      PaulClaudel, one of the most important French writers, in one of his books says:“For us Jews, there’s no little scrap of earth so large as a gold coin”.

      T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, the most important poets of the XX century, penned violent pages against the Jews.

      Knut Hamsun, the Norwegian Nobel Prize, was an enthusiastic supporter of the Nazis.

      Do you remember “Trifles for a Massacre” by Louis-Ferdinand Céline? The genius of French literature, in 1939, published this call for Jews to disappear from France: “We will finish off the Jews, or we will die because of the Jews”.

      A couple of years later, the gas chambers began to liquidate Judaism. Céline was later condemned for “collaborationism,” and his pamphlet is still banned throughout Europe.

      Very few people remember that Grass, who served in the notorious Waffen-SS during World War II, had already called for the end of the State of Israel. In a 2001 Der Spiegel interview, Grass addressed the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, saying: “Israel doesn’t just need to clear out of the occupied areas. The appropriation of Palestinian territory and its Israeli settlements are also a criminal activity. That not only needs to be stopped - it also needs to be reversed. Otherwise there will be no peace”.

      According to the winner of every imaginable literary award, Israel must leave not only Hevron, it must disengage also from Haifa, Jaffa, Tel Aviv and Nazareth.

      Shakespeare’s Shylock and his pound of flesh have caused shudders to many generations of Jews. By appeasing Iran, spreading anti-Zionism and laundering Islamist hatred, the Western writers are now asking of Israel another pound of flesh. It will be the last one.

      Then, they hope, the “Jewish question” will be finally over. Maybe, one day, we will turn back and read Grass’ “Was gesagt werdenmuss” as the new edition of "Trifles for a Massacre."..