Gunter Grass, Red Flags and Anti-Semitism

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A few days after September 11, I saw a quote from Gunter Grass on a Manhattan lamppost. In those dark days, the lampposts and walls that weren’t covered in missing persons posters were decorated with the hysterical pamphleteering of the left urging us to blame ourselves for the attacks. The quote has long since been lost to memory, buried under smoke and ash, a green parrot perched on an empty staircase and crowds thronging on foot across the bridge.

The quote itself, like the latest Grassian screed, does not matter. Grass, like Gandhi and King, was one of the favorite go-to guys for the left’s sticky sheets of paper. When you want to write a suicide note, then you reach for a line from Sylvia Plath or Emily Dickinson, but when you want to write a national or civilizational suicide note, there’s always Gunter Grass.

As a writer, Gunter Grass is a blacksmith, hammering together graceless and shapeless lumps that aren’t good for much except hitting people over the head. Take his latest masterpiece which has for a brief shining moment gotten people outside Germany and Sweden to mention his name in conversation. You don’t have to know German to recognize that, “Es ist das behauptete Recht auf den Erstschlag der das von einem Maulhelden unterjochte” is not exactly Die Lorelei. In a fitting irony the author of the Tin Drum has a tin ear.

Like Die Lorelei’s protagonist, Gunter Grass writes about being filled with unnamable emotions, but instead of seeing water nymphs combing their hair while ship captains ram their boats into the rocks, Grass is attempting to impress audiences with his bold struggle against Jewish accusations of bigotry to forewarn us about the threat of the Jewish state.

Grass, like so much of the German left, sees Nazis everywhere but in the mirror. The only lesson that he and his comrades have drawn is that they were wrong to march right, when they should have marched left. It does not occur to them that they should not have been marching at all and that the marching under red banners was the whole problem to begin with.

On the thirty-first anniversary of Kristallnacht, the progressives of the German terrorist left plotted to bomb a Berlin synagogue where a Kristallnacht commemoration was taking place. They didn’t succeed, but their colleagues on Air France Flight 139 did, staging their own Aktzion, separating the Israelis from the non-Israelis and deciding who would go left or right.

Bose, the leader of the German Entebbe hijackers, who had told the hostages that he was not a Nazi, just an idealist, had proposed assassinating Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. That plot, like bombing a synagogue’s Kristallnacht commemoration, seemed more like it might be up a Nazi’s alley. Another symptom of how the German left could not help goosestepping right.

The answer to the unspoken thing that Gunter Grass dares not speak of may lie in a letter from the leader of another German leftist terrorist cell, Dieter Kunzelmann, who while sipping coffee with Muslim terrorists in Jordan, wrote home that, “The German left must overcome its Judenknacks” or hangups about Jews. By this little Dieter did not mean that the German left should stop hating Jews, he meant that it should learn to feel good about hating Jews.

Bombing the synagogue on Kristallnacht would help Germany get rid of its “Vorherrschaft des Judenkomplexes“, he wrote, which means something like the Supremacy of the Jewish Neurosis, Bombing a synagogue would help Germans break through their feelings of guilt and emancipate the German left from feeling any hesitation about killing Jews. The provocateurs of the left who had dedicated themselves to the war against bourgeois hangups about orgies and communal property would help break one more wrongheaded bourgeois taboo. Much like an icon of the German left confessing to having served in the SS and writing a poem that features him working out his own “Judenknacks” right on the page.

Gunter Grass is more of a moderate than Dieter Kunzelmann. Rather than tackling the Judenknacks head on by bombing a synagogue on Kristallnacht or shooting Simon Wiesenthal in the head, he takes the hack’s route by treading the well worn ground of spinning the wheel of history until the Jews become the new Nazis. They have uniforms don’t they, and an army and bombs. Such an observation wouldn’t have been all that novel in the seventies, for Grass to pretend that his whispered take on it is something daring and shocking brands him as a true hack.

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  • Markus

    Thank you for this brilliant reflection about the underlying motives. The antijew ressentiment, Grass et al. speak out, meets a lot of resonance not only in the "left" part of the german society. And I fear, it will become worse, when the "liberal" antijew ressentiment meets the antijew ressentiment of the evergrowing muslim population in europe.

    Greetings from Germany (sorry for speaking disaster english ;-) )


    • Choi

      Your English is just fine Markus.
      The German People MUST KNOW that the Jihadis INTEND TO CONQUER GERMANY.
      The Muslims ARE guilty of EVERYTHING the Nazis FALSELY ACCUSED "Der Juden" of.

      • Markus

        Thanx for your very politely appraisal of my written English… I don´t believe you, but it gives me a good feeling ;-)

        apropos beliefs…

        Personal, but also social beliefs are primary not the product of a rational reflection of reality, but mostly the product of unconscious distortion of reality to satisfy deeper emotional needs und distresses…the suicidal behavior of parts of the western people is a symptom….the muslim movement is a wellcome tool for this western autodestruction…it´s not the primary cause…

    • esperantominoria

      The more you know Islamic history the more it becomes a telenovela,a soap opera a l'Amerique latine.

      Like in this case:

      "Dara Shikoh,Moghul Prince of India and Sufi,was Executed in 1659 by his brother Emperor Aurangzeb,as an Apostate of Islam"

      AND ALSO

      "Sultan Mehmet II invites Gentile Bellini,Venetian Painter,to Istanbul,and why Bellini left his Court"

  • Hank Rearden

    Gunter seems to be a slow learner. This socialist thing didn't work out very well for Germany under National Socialism through 1945 or under International Socialsm (Communism) in East Germany after the war. It almost broke the German economy to rescue the East after reunification and bring it up to modern living standards. One wonders where Grass wants to go from here. But at least he has found the integrity to throw off the taboo of criticizing the Jews. It must be good to get that out in the open!! Finally, he can talk openly about the source of society's ills – da Joos! Maybe he has a sequel in him…The Tin Pot.

  • Anthony

    Gunther Grass is a hot topic at Front Page lately. I read his writing and found it a stretch to consider it an actual poem. It seemed to be a type of short essay revealing his frustration with the reality of the Middle East.

    To Grass, the Jewish people are the reason for the instability in the region. For many Europeans of all EU member states, the Jewish people are a problem, not the great multitudes of Moslems who are championed by a brainwashed mass educated in lies consisting largely of stupid Gentiles who themselves, are next on Islam’s Greatest Hits list.

    Now, we all know that Israel is not the aggressor but the victim of twisted, evil people who, in Europe, took control of the societies and reeducated the younger generations who are adult today, sgainst the Jews, against Israel. Yet his model does not fully account for anti-Semitism which has been part of Europe’s history. Despite that, many non-Jews risked their lived to help save Jews in WWII. Even Nazi party member, Oskar Shindler did God’s work by saving the lives of thousands of Jews at great personal risk. He is buried today in Israel.

    But Grass, unlike Shindler, refuses to open his eyes and realize the great crime of once again scapegoating the good people of Israel.

    For Shindler, the better angels of his nature prevailed, for Grass, one Holocaust apparently wasn’t enough.

  • Bashy Quraishy

    Daniel Greenfield and Frontpage are specialist in dividing the humanity in to Left and Right. Anyone who talks of justice, equality and human rights is a leftist and per definition an evil person while those who condemn and demonize these so-called leftists are champions of freedom and defender of democracy.
    What a childish way to look at such a complex world.
    The article; Gunter Grass, Red Flags and Anti-Semitism thus portrays Grass as an evil Nazi and then goes on to connect the whole thesis with German left terrorism, Muslim terrorists and ends up calling all of them anti-Semitic.
    Can there be anything more sinister than plotting such a fantasy about a man, the whole world respects. What is his sin after all. He has written a poem – “Was Gesagt Werden Muss”- or What must be said, in which he talks about justice for an oppressed minority in the State of Israel. He does not belittle the great Jewish people, their religion, traditions or even the State of Israel itself. He is taking an issue with the policies, this state has been carrying out. What happened to his freedom of speech and his and also mine right to raise an opinion? Is it not what Frontpage always does? I find this blog outright anti-Islam but still I do not question its right to say.
    As a friend of Israel and a person who has traveled there many times and admire the inter-cultural nature of the state, I sincerely believe that all those people who cannot tolerate legitimate criticism of Israel without jumping up and calling others anti-Semitic are doing a great injustice and actually damage to the interests of Jewish people. Because of such so-called supporters and friends, Israel has lost many dear friends and also sympathy around the globe.
    Besides, I personally know many lovely Jewish friends inside and outside Israel who are very critical of the policies of Israel towards Palestinians. Are they also anti-Semitic? My question to Frontpage and its readers is; Is there no difference between criticizing the policies of the state of Israel and being anti-Semitic?

    • Anthony

      Hello Mr. Quraishy,

      You sound almost likable here, almost reasonable.

      To your question about legitimate criticism of Israel vs. Carte Blanche defense of Israel, I think one must weigh the foundation upon which all criticism of Israel rests versus what you, and our enemies, the left, would agree is a “just” remedy.

      Since virtually all criticism of Israel is based on its legitimacy as a state, it’s right to its borders, it’s reason to exist, many with power agree that the remedy to this “injustice” is forfeiture of its own existence.

      Given what I think is a fair assessment of the reality of Israel, and the perceptions of so many to the contrary of Israel’s true identity and existence as a moral state, a state under seige, a people who love life and are mostly trying to just live in peace, much of what you would consider legitimate criticism of Israel is in reality mostly sinister, relentless attempt to wear her down unto her own destruction.

      If the criticism were not universally directed at refusing to accept Israel’s right to exist, then Israel’s criticism would be like anyone’s criticism of any given country.

      That’s the difference.

      • Sage on the Stage

        Another way to say this might be that there are a number of Christian countries, a number of Muslim countries, a number of Buddhist countries….so why can't there be Israel, the one Jewish country?

    • Ghostwriter

      I'm surprised that you even CARE about Israelis,since THEY'RE the one under constant attacks by your beloved Palestinians. You're about as much as friend to Israel as Adolf Eichmann was. You have never been sympathetic to Israel or to the Americans who have been killed by your beloved Palestinians. Why don't you and Mr. Grass meet up sometime? You can discuss how evil the Jews are because that's your favorite topic,you Jihadist shill.

  • Schlomotion

    I think there are a few more people left who did not write their scathing rebuttal of Gunter Grass. Where is the Robert Spencer rebuttal? Where is the Nonie Darwish rebuttal? Where is the Jamie Glazov rebuttal? Where is the Martin Solomon rebuttal? Where is the Daniel Pipes rebuttal? Where is the Hudson Institute rebuttal? Where is the Canadian Zionist Cultural Association of Toronto's rebuttal?

    I am still waiting for the Jayjg and RolandR sanitized Wikipedia description of the poem to come out.

    • Anthony

      Well Schlomotion, from a purely esthetic perspective, it is a bad poem. From a POV of analysis, we disagree with Herr Grass’ opinion.

      You Schlomie, have the right to view Jews as GG does, the greatest menace to mankind ever, but good God man, come to your senses…come to the light! The topsy turvey world you envision exists only in your imagination.

    • Anthony

      P. S. Schlomie, are you a follower of Islam?

      • Schlomotion

        No. I am not a follower of Islam. I am versed in all world religions, but I don't follow any of them. I don't subscribe to the belligerence of evangelical atheism either.

        • Anthony

          What is ” Evangical atheism? Did you invent it?

      • reader

        You're asking a lying Jew hating troll a personal question and expecting a genuine answer?

        • Schlomotion

          I can only assume you are defending your own article.

          • reader

            You can only troll, really.

        • Anthony

          The fact schlOmotion answered shows he is willing to talk. He may be redeemable.

          • reader

            No, it's not. It's a quintessential troll.

          • Roger

            Al taqiyya at best.

            Uninformed naivity at worst.

            In any event not to be taken too seriously.

  • Anthony

    Well, I think he is a Moslem. That he is pathologically disorderd against Jews goes without question.

  • Atlas_Collins

    More jewish whining on Frontpage. It gets kind of old.

    What's the deal, hasiheebs? Are you all feeling let behind in the victim race what with the whole Trayvon thing going on?

    • reader

      If it really did get old, the trolls as yourself wouldn't be flocking around. Can't even troll straight, eh?

      • stern

        Zap! Way to nail it, reader, nice one.

    • Anthony

      Dismissing genuine concerns as “whining” outs you as a person void of any real understand of the bigger picture.

      Go enjoy a beer, and leave serious concerns with those who are trying to understand and defend against people such as yourself.

    • Zionista

      hasiheebs??? I guess your post would be deleted if you called us what a Jew hating troll like you really wanted to. You sound envious and evil – like most Jew haters.

    • Andy Lewis

      Phuque off ya phuqin' KKKlown.

  • Marty

    Anti-semites bore people. They are always spewing out the same nonsense that has been availble for centuries. Do they have anything else to do with their time? Perhaps there is an anti-semitic gene that first originated in the middle east with islam and spread to europe during the islamic conquest of much of the continent. Similar to the black death, anti-semitism has its carriers. grass is obviously one of them. He's certainly infected and this is not a curable disease. Anti-semitism's symptoms include irrational thought and utterances that have no basis in fact. muslims are anti-semitic and in their case, similar to many europeans, it is a genetic condition (perhaps the result of generations of marriage to first and second cousins).

  • jewdog

    Whenever I hear the word "Grass" I reach for my lawn mower.

  • Touchstone

    This article is truly impressive. Greenfield has got to be one of the most insightful observers alive. I'd love to see him take on Grass in a debate. Gunter's ass would be Grass. (Sorry… hard to resist all the puns.)

  • Uwe Kemal

    Die verfluchten Drecknazis haben wieder einmal nichts gelernt! Die dekadenten Amis und die dekadenten Europaer machen mich krank; gottlose Judenhasser! Ich hoffe so sehr, dass Gott bald das ganze Theater zu seinem erwuenschten wunderbaren Ende bringen wird! Lang lebe der Gott der Juden und Israel!

  • findalis

    I've always believed that it was a shame that the US didn't get to nuke Germany. It would have done wonders for that land of barbarians.

  • wctaqiyya

    I could not make it past the first few paragraphs Daniel. You are a writer. A darned good writer. OK, I went back and read it all. Nope, I still have no words. I'm just, I mean, wow. Your words just kill me. Great piece of work Mr. Greenfield. Perfect.

  • Looking4Sanity

    To this day, I can not get past the fact that so many people think of the Nazi Party as a "right wing" organization. Sure…they were "to the right" of Communism, but what is to the LEFT of Communism? These two political parties are almost identical except in their idea of control of means of production. In that regard, the Commies are much more honest.

    All this talk of "marching to the left or right" is nonsense. ALL tyrants march to the Left. Right wing tyranny is a myth created by the Leftists for the purpose of muddying the water and assuaging their own nagging consciences. After all, it's not so bad if the "other side" does it too, right?

  • babyanng

    Age ain't nothing but a number for these loved-up A-Listers. My BF and I both think so! He is almost 10 years older than I. We met via ~~Agelessmeet .COM~~ a nice place for younger women and older men, or older women and younger men, to interact with each other! Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends :)