A new poem by the German Nobel laureate Günter Grass depicting Israel’s undeclared nuclear might as a threat to world peace drew wide condemnation from Jewish groups and commentators in Germany on Wednesday, showing the strength of enduring taboos in German public discourse about Israel more than six decades after the Holocaust.
In the poem, titled “What Must Be Said,” Mr. Grass, 84, asks why he has remained silent about Israel’s nuclear might — which Israel has never publicly confirmed — and concludes that he had been constrained by a broader fear of being judged an anti-Semite.
But with Israel threatening to take military action against Iran’s nuclear program, the German author writes: “Why do I say only now, aged and with my last drop of ink, 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.”
He also complained that by supplying submarines to Israel, Germany risked becoming “a subcontractor to a foreseeable crime.” Israel has threatened to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, arguing that they are being used to acquire the capability of building nuclear weapons. But Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. “I will no longer remain silent because I am tired of Western hypocrisy,” he said, according to an unofficial translation.