Nobel prize-winning author Gunter Grass remains honorary chairman
of the German branch of the PEN club despite a bid to sack him
over a controversial poem he wrote lambasting Israel, a
Grass, 84, recently provoked a heated international debate after
publishing the piece entitled "What Must Be Said" in which he
worried that a nuclear-armed Israel "could wipe out the Iranian
people" with a "first strike."
Israel has since barred him from visiting the country, declaring
him persona non grata.
The spokeswoman for the international association of writers said
a request was received for Grass to be stripped of his honorary
chairmanship, but a large majority of members rejected the call
at their annual meeting in Rudolstadt, in eastern Germany.
No figures were given regarding the votes.
One of Germany's most influential intellectuals, Grass saw his
substantial moral authority undermined by his 2006 admission, six
decades after World War II, that he had been a member of Hitler's
notorious Waffen SS as a 17-year-old.
Grass achieved world fame with his debut novel, "The Tin Drum" in
1959, and has pressed his country for decades to face up to its