Grass’s Poem

Jeffrey Goldberg

“What Must Be Said” is interesting for what it says about the mind of Guenter Grass, but it is more interesting for what it says about the manner in which some intellectuals think about Israel and Iran. By extracting the self-pity, self-aggrandizement and guilt-expiation from “What Must Be Said” and leaving only the politics, Grass’s thinking is clear. The short version of his message: Israel may one day soon commit nuclear genocide against the people of Iran.

“It is the alleged right to the first strike / That could annihilate the Iranian people/ Subjugated by a loud-mouth / And guided to organized jubilation / Because in their sphere of power / It is suspected, a nuclear bomb is being built.”

“With nimble lips calling it a reparation, it declares / A further U-boat should be delivered to Israel / Whose specialty consists of guiding all-destroying warheads to where the existence / Of a single atomic bomb is unproven.”

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