Sunday, 29 April 2012
Wednesday, 11 April 2012
The Dutch coffee shop owner told me that as he has never heard of Gunter it couldn’t be high quality. Whatever the quality, Günter Grass’ anti-Israel stanza has caused much excitement, especially in Germany and in Israel.
Grass may be a fading old writer hankering after publicity. Maybe anti-Semitism has also played a role. Stupidly or maliciously he suggested that in a pre-emptive strike, Israel would annihilate the Iranian population. This is an outrageous accusation. He could have posed a morally tougher question:
The purpose of Israel’s nuclear weapons is for its enemies to believe that under certain circumstances they would be used. If Israel’s existence would be at risk, it would make use of these doomsday weapons.
For that to be an effective deterrent, it must be understood that an attack on Israel could lead to mutual destruction.
I expect that Grass, like many other non-Israelis if asked whether Israel should use its nuclear weapons AFTER it was attacked – would say NO. They would condemn the country that destroyed Israel, they would offer condolences to the bereaved, but they would not accept a counterattack.
Grass’s moral issue should have been the possible use by Israel of U-boats supplied by Germany to accomplish such an eye-for-an-eye.
Thursday, 5 April 2012
In a poem published yesterday, Günter Grass has informed the world that he is worried about Israel’s possible use of German supplied U-boats to fire nuclear missiles at Iran. I hope that the Iranians share his worry, although, I also would not want Israel to initiate an attack on Iran.
At a time, when Iran is being pressurised to give up its nuclear ambition, an important question is whether it is morally right for Israel to possess nuclear weapons. Not one of the (other) eight countries that currently have nuclear weapons has enemies threatening them with extinction. Yet, Israel, from the first day of its existence, has been under the threat of destruction. The world stood by when Arab countries threatened to wipe out the “Zionist entity”, as they used to call Israel, and it stands by with Iran promising that the Jewish state would disappear.
Israel has never conceded to having a bomb and therefore has never threatened anyone with its nuclear power. But, would it not be legitimate for Israel to make it clear that before its existence would be in jeopardy, it would use its nuclear weapons?
Grass speaks of Israel the nuclear power that endangers world peace; of Israel that could in a pre-emptive strike wipe out the Iranian people. He does not define Iran as a country that endangers world peace. Iran, whose existence is not in danger nor has it been threatened, is working towards becoming a nuclear power. Why?
Grass makes much of what he says was his own difficulty in speaking out against Israel. In his own version of “some of my best friends are Jews” Grass assures us that he is committed to the Land of Israel (mind you, he speaks of the land not the state). I have no idea and that is not the issue, but there have been suggestions that anti-Semitism is rearing its head out of the Grass.
He would have been on safer ground had he attacked Israel on its occupation of the West Bank and the settlement of Israelis in the occupied territories. Unlike the Iranian question, this is an issue that has nothing to do with survival or security. It is just morally wrong. But in his poem, Grass dealt with his own angsts rather than with issues of morality.