Breaking a German Taboo

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:44 AM

Salama A. Salama, the wise man of Egypt, comments on the Günter Grass controversy in a short article in Al-Ahram. The German Nobel Laureate dared to criticize the current state of affairs in Israel.

But Salama has made a factual error. These German U-boats, gifted to Israel by Germany, are not nuclear-powered. If they are, this is the first I have heard about it, and I have been writing about these U-boats since 2005. My understanding is that the warships have been modified by Berlin so that Tel Aviv can launch nuclear-armed cruise missiles.

The target is Iran, which has no atomic weapons. Tel Aviv has plenty. All forms of insanity are now on the table thanks to the Tel Aviv-Washington alliance and its triumphal policy of endless war. Berlin is along for the ride.


Breaking a German taboo

By Salama A Salama 

[Al-Ahram Weekly, Cairo]

Because of a poem condemning Israel's stockpiling of nuclear weapons, Israel has banned Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass from visiting it, declaring him persona non grata. The row brought to the fore the moral controversy of whether Germans, who failed to stop the Nazi Holocaust, have the right to criticize Israeli policies.

Demonstrators, some supporting Grass and others supporting Israel, marched in Berlin's streets after the travel ban. A moral watershed has been reached, one in which the prominent writer had to take sides. With his recent poem, Gunter Grass broke the implicit taboo -- so carefully internalised by German thinkers and decision- makers--on criticising Israel. It is a taboo that has silenced German writers and politicians for years.

Israel, which occupies Palestinian lands, stockpiles nuclear weapons, and is now threatening to bombard Iran for allegedly seeking to manufacture nuclear warheads, is not in the habit of having its policies slammed in Germany. This is why the poem, "What Must be Said," by Grass came as a shock.

The German writer pointed the finger at Israel's belligerent policies, while accusing Germany of being an accomplice. Germany, as you may know, has given Israel nuclear-powered submarines capable of delivering nuclear warheads. This, and other forms of support, makes Germany an accomplice in Israel's belligerent policies.

Israel's atomic power endangers an already fragile world peace, Grass said in his poem, adding that the West will have to get both Iran and Israel to accept inspections.

"Granted: I've broken my silence

because I'm sick of the West's hypocrisy

and I hope too that many may be freed

from their silence, may demand

that those responsible for the open danger we face renounce the use of force

that the governments of both Iran and Israel allow

free and open inspection of the nuclear potential and capability of both."