Friday, September 22, 2006

A number of Arab 'intellectuals' published a letter of support for the German author and Nobel Prize winner Guenter Grass. Grass 'confessed' recently that as a teenager he had joined the Waffen SS in the latter days of the Third Reich. In the letter the intellectuals say that Grass' confession deserves respect, and that the public criticism of him is only meant to divert attention from Israel's crimes in Palestine and Lebanon. As Mona Nagger writes, it shows that these Arabs have no idea about the debate that has been going on in Germany following Guenter Grass' revelation ( which immediately turned his latest book, in which he writes about that period in his life, into a bestseller ). Also, she writes, the letter says " much about the perceptions of many Arab intellectuals. They live in a world of conspiracy theories, far from reality, confuse populist slogans and rhetorics with intellectual discourse, and see no need to deal seriously with the Holocaust and with the crimes of National-Socialism". Finally, as a member of the European Parliament points out, these intellectuals also have no clue about Grass' work, and they also don't seem to realize that Guenter Grass has explicitly recognized Israel's right to exist.

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