Gunter Grass
Gunter Grass Reuters

Günter Grass, a Nobel prize winning German poet who was a member of the Waffen SS in World War 2, told Israeli journalists in Leipzig's International Book Festival Saturday that he hopes for a political turnabout in Israel's upcoming elections.

He also said that it is time "to take action, and not just speak in Washington," in a reference to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's recent speech in Congress.

In April of 2012, the poet slammed what he called a “campaign” against him by critics, after publishing a poem in several European newspapers called “What Must Be Said.”

In the poem, Grass alleged that Israel is a “danger for world peace.” He maintained an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities could “wipe out” and “annihilate” its people, adding that Iran's nuclear ambitions were “unproven.”

Jewish publicist Herryk Broder called him “the prototype of an educated anti-Semite” in response.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented at the time, “For six decades Grass has concealed his past as a member of the Waffen SS. It therefore comes as no surprise that he describes the only Jewish State as the biggest threat to world peace, and opposes it equipping itself with the means for self-defense.”