For months already the Jewish world in New York City have been frantically opposing a most shocking choice for one of their contemporary performances, “The Death of Klinghoffer” at the Metropolitan Opera.
According to Wikipedia, The Death of Klinghoffer is an American opera, with music by John Adams to an English-language libretto by Alice Goodman. First produced in Brussels and New York in 1991, the opera is based on the hijacking of the passenger liner Achille Lauro by the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985, and the hijackers' murder of wheelchair-bound Jewish-American passenger Leon Klinghoffer.
The opera has drawn controversy and allegations that the opera is anti-Semitic, including by the Klinghoffer family.
In reality, despite the Met’s efforts to minimize the case, the publicity surrounding the event, makes their case indefensible.
The Metropolitan Opera in New York City (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)
The Met General Manager, Peter Gelb, has even acknowledged the problem and warned that “the broadcasts could trigger anti-Semitism overseas,” while opera “expert” Fred Plotkin tries to emphasize that the work actually depicts Klinghoffer as the moral backbone.
"Does this opera present the killers in a favorable light? No," he says. "Are the Klinghoffer's far and away the most sympathetic characters in the opera, the ones we care about most? I believe so."
Jews need no pity but assurances to make sure that such defense of terrorism as well as the legitimation of anti-Semitism is not going to be increasingly tolerated and, even less, accepted. This is a sad reminder of the situation in Germany at the beginning of the Nazi era, back in the 1930s.
In fact, the publicity prepared by the Met amplifies the words spoken by the Palestinian Arab terrorist who coldbloodedly shoots and throws overboard an ageing, wheelchair bound Jewish passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, whose only crime was that he was a Jew.
That is called hateful anti-Semitism.
As an example, in one of the arias in the opera one can hear: “You Jews are always complaining of your own suffering, but you get fat off the poor, cheat the simple, exploit the virgin, pollute where you’ve exploited -America is one big Jew!!”
Regrettably, the above hate dialogue is not uttered by an evil character, but on the contrary, the monster is disguised under the wrappings of someone well-dressed, proud and idealistic. And so, the libretto lends legitimacy to the terror mongers who whitewash their crimes by referring to themselves as “... soldiers fighting a war. We are not criminals and we are not vandals but men of ideals."
Last Monday evening, a large coalition of Jewish activists, organizations, pro-Jewish friends and colleagues, demonstrated at the doors of the Met, including spiritual directors of synagogues, such as Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie of Edmond J. Safra Synagogue, Rabbi Yaacov Kermaier, Chief Rabbi of Fifth Avenue Synagogue, and others, as well as many other influential community members.
A human touch was lent by the presence of fifty wheelchairs standing in formation across the Met, with the occupants wearing signs saying, “I AM LEON KLINGHOFFER.” In fact, the coalition requested 100 but the police drew the line at 50.
One of the cradles of American civilization, the Metropolitan Opera, has failed the country by making a move that represents an affront to human suffering.
With no need to play a role of victims, history proves how the Jewish people were persecuted and sacrificed during the Holocaust by the Nazis under Hitler, as well as by a silent world that watched idly by as six million Jewish human beings -and others- were tortured, used as cobayes for abominable experiments, slaughtered and gazed and butchered by monsters that only now are being upstaged in the pages of history.
What is really happening at the Metropolitan Opera?
In this ever changing world, the new financial power is at the hands of a new group which is also the one feeding the international globalizing organizations. We are referring here to donors coming from the Muslim world, whether it is their version of royalty, or CEOs of major companies, or ambassadors.
Thus, the Metropolitan Opera does not escape this tide and has among their supporters, Muslim organizations of various origins, contributing financially to Western opera, in their quest to mingle with civilization.
On their part, major Jewish foundations or entities have failed to suppress their multi-million dollar contributions to the Met and they have tacitly accepted the Met assault against the Jewish cause.
Four of them are keeping conspicuously quiet: Michael Bloomberg, L.P., The Annenberg Foundation, The Neubauer Family Foundation and Toll Brothers Foundation. Their silence is defeaning.
American Jews know they do not have the luxury of a redo of the past, when they ignored the appeals for help from their brothers who became the silent victims of the Nazi Holocaust.
Therefore, some Jews are taking the Klinghoffer affront to heart, especially as it is taking place in the City which, after Israel, has the largest conglomeration of Jews in the world.
While the Met chooses to excuse terrorism, they are forgetting the countless Jewish contributions to Western Civilization in science, culture, literature, philosophy, including classical music and opera, in the shape of composers and interpreters alike, century after century.
By some estimates, as of 2013, New York City currently counts 2,028,200 Jews.
During the past few centuries in America and New York, Jews have actively contributed their creativity, innovation, commitment and their charitable propensity also to the causes of the City. Indeed, they have been a force to be reckoned with.
The liberal lack of respect towards these Jewish contributions, brings to mind the fate of countries and cities that in the past have expelled Jews. Whether it has been Spain, Russia, Sweden, Algeria and so on, whenever they expelled Jews they ended up paying with their own financial demise and retrograde evolution.
De Blasio versus Giuliani? Not really...
In a surprising development, Mayor Bill de Blasio, has said: “The former mayor had a history of challenging cultural institutions when he disagreed with their content. I don’t think that’s the American way. The American way is to respect freedom of speech. Simple as that,” he declared at an unrelated press conference.
De Blasio is right, “democracy” is the visa authorizing anyone to say anything, even if it endangers third parties.
At the press conference on Monday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was the keynote speaker. He was flanked by philanthropist and businessman Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, and by other Jewish leaders.
That said, along his business career, and despite having returned the famous 10 million check to the Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal in the aftermath of September 11, Mr. Giuliani has not said “no” to the possibility of his firm, Giuliani Partners, working with Saudi Arabia.
Courtesy of Author.
“The Met, and those who decide to go see this production, have every right to do so, and it would be hypocritical and anti-American for us to interfere with that and to stop that,” Giuliani said at the rally. “They have that right. But we also have a right, just as strong and just as compelling, to point out the historical inaccuracy and the historical damage this contributed to.”
Then, Giuliani aptly stated that the Klinghoffer opera "supports terrorism" and is a "disgrace."
Nice try, Mayor Giuliani. So, it is not the fault of the Metropolitan Opera to have the opera on its annual program, but it is the opera itself that is the "disgrace"?
In essence, the bare truth is that the former mayor’s political correctness actually has not lent any critical help to the Jewish cause.
The Met Opera at the crossroads
The United States and New York should seriously weigh the situation. It is either further prosperity thanks to the Jews...
Or the adoption of sharia and its beheadings, rapes, mutilations, and worse, thanks to the Muslims.
Klinghoffer should have been used as a symbol to claim Justice, but the Metropolitan Opera of New York City has chosen it as a symbol to excuse the inexcusable: to legitimize Muslim terrorism.
Eliana Benador is a strategist consultant, adviser, opinion writer, and speaker, was founder of Benador Associates. Her website is www.elianabenador.com. Follow her at @ElianaBenador on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook.
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