Is the Guardian concerned that Jewish criticism of Gunter Grass’ poem may have made him ill?

A guest post by AKUS

The controversy over Gunter Grass’ “poem”, “What Must Be Said”, available in English translation at – of course – The Guardian, has taken a new twist. Gunter Grass has been admitted to a hospital suffering from heart problems.

 After searching the New York Times and Washington Post in vain for any reference to the reason for Grass’ hospitalization of course the Guardian was only too happy to provide the information – in fact, it was the only English language mainstream paper I could find on April 17th to provide a detailed report.

Although the Guardian article, Günter Grass admitted to hospital for ‘scheduled investigation, reports a spokeswoman as saying his hospitalization was for a “scheduled investigation” and asking “who doesn’t have any health problems at [age 84]?”, the Guardian mentions that there is speculation that the controversy over Grass’ poem has “taken a toll on his health”.

In other words, it appears that some speculate that three events are connected – the poem is published, the author is condemned by those he accuses, the author goes to hospital shortly afterwards with heart problems.

But have not cause and effect been reversed?

Rather than assuming that it might be bad for the health of an 84-year-old man to publish a poem which hysterically accuses Israel of planning to “direct nuclear warheads toward an area in which not a single atom bomb has yet been proved to exist” (when it is Iran that has threatened Israel with nuclear annihilation) apparently some believe that the fact that Israel fiercely objected to being libeled in this way is really the proximate cause of Grass’ heart problems!

In a strange way this reminds me of the way women are blamed for being sexually assaulted. “If she hadn’t dressed provocatively, I would never have done it. If women dressed modestly, men would not be tempted to assault them”, is the way the theory goes.

In the same way, we are asked to assume that if Israel had not objected to Grass’ poem accusing it of contemplating genocide, he would be in better health.

Better still, if Germany did not provide Israel with nuclear-capable submarines to counterbalance what Grass believes are imaginary threats it faces from an Iranian “loud-mouth” who “subjugates” his own people (and if he subjugates them, what has he planned for the Jews?) there would be no need to write a poem, the 84 year-old Grass would not have to worry about the future of the world, he would be feeling fine, and everyone would be better off.

Wouldn’t they?

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