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Press Release

German Nobel Laureate's Poem Draws Shocking Moral Equivalence Between Israel and Iran

New York, NY, April 4, 2012 … A poem written by a well-known German novelist and Nobel laureate draws "an outrageous moral equivalence" between Israel and Iran, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said today. The poem, "What Must Be Said" by Günter Grass, criticized the state of Israel, claiming it – and not Iran -- is the country endangering world peace.

The poem was published Wednesday in one of Germany's largest daily newspapers, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and several other European newspapers. In the poem, Grass expresses his long suppressed disdain for Israel and suggests Israel will attack Iran with an atomic weapon.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

The scorn unleashed by Gunter Grass against Israel in his poem is shocking. By turning the Iranian nuclear threat on its head and drawing an outrageous moral equivalence between Iran and Israel, Grass reveals his deep-seated disdain for Israel.

The cumulative effect of these distorted views, together with his long-hidden record of belonging to the Waffen-SS during World War II, confirms Grass' anti-Israel bias and indeed suggests he harbors some anti-Semitic beliefs.

This poem shows Grass to be someone who is ignorant about or willfully disregarding the true nature of the Iranian nuclear threat, willing to cast Israel as an irresponsible aggressor against Iran and blaming accusations of anti-Semitism as the reason there has been a lack of criticism of Israel. Grass appears convinced that Israel is the wrongdoer at a time when most responsible countries and people are calling on Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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