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Israel: Günter Grass, author of 'What Must Be Said,' dismisses ban as the mark of an authoritarian state

The polemicist and artist says only governments like the former GDR and Burma had denied him entry before.

Guntergrass rights 4102012Enlarge
German Nobel literature laureate Gunter Grass poses with his poem for a photo at his house in the northern German town of Behlendorf on April 5, 2012. Grass hit back at what he called a 'campaign' by critics of his poem accusing Israel of plotting Iran's annihilation and threatening world peace. The 84-year-old sparked outrage at home and abroad last Wednesday when he published 'What must be said' in a newspaper in which he said he feared a nuclear-armed Israel 'could wipe out the Iranian people' with a 'first strike'. (MARCUS BRANDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Famed German artist, writer and polemicist Günter Grass has waved off a travel ban that was imposed Sunday by Israel after he described the country as a threat to world peace, according to The Associated Press.

The AP said that Grass had written in an opinion piece published today by the Munich newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung that the only other governments to deny him entry previously were East Germany and Burma’s military junta.

More from GlobalPost: Israel bans German writer Gunter Grass from entering country

Grass wrote that the tone of Israel’s reactions was redolent of the thinking of former East German spy minister Erich Mielke, according to the AP.

The AP reported Sunday that Grass’s poem reads in part:

“Why do I say only now,/Aged and with my last ink,/The nuclear power Israel endangers/The already fragile world peace?/Because it must be said/What even tomorrow may be too late to say;/Also because we-—as Germans burdened enough—Could become suppliers to a crime.”

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Grass waited until after he had won a Nobel Prize to reveal that he had once served in Hitler’s Waffen SS.

According to The Economist, Iran’s Press TV has welcomed the poem, saying of Grass: “Metaphorically speaking, the poet has launched a deadly lyrical strike against Israel.”