In 1985, New Yorker Leon Klinghoffer, 69, and his wife Marilyn took a cruise to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary. Leon never came back: Four members of the Palestine Liberation Front hijacked the Achille Lauro, shot him in the head and threw him overboard in his wheelchair. The composer claims that he wanted to “show the humanity of the terrorists.”
The opera is based on the 1985 murder of a helpless 69-year-old American Jewish man, Leon Klinghoffer, confined to a wheelchair—shot in the head while vacationing with his wife on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea. He was murdered by Arab Muslim hijackers belonging to the Palestine Liberation Front, a component of Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization, and his body dumped into the water.
The opera opens with these words sung by the Chorus of Exiled Palestinians: “My father’s house was razed—In nineteen forty-eight—When the Israelis passed—Over our street.”
So we already know where this is going.
NY Post Starting in October, The Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center plans to show a mockery of this brutal murder — the long-dormant “The Death of Klinghoffer.” The title gives away the show’s agenda: Klinghoffer didn’t “die”: This World War II vet was murdered by terrorists. The show has widely been denounced as anti-Semitic and sympathetic to the hijackers. Performances planned in Boston and elsewhere were cancelled shortly after 9/11. If it wasn’t then, what makes it acceptable now for Lincoln Center to glorify the murderers of a disabled New Yorker?
Do the so-called “humanists” at The Metropolitan Opera care that the permance will hurt Klinghoffer’s surviving children? After an initial screening of the show in 1991, his two daughters said, “We are outraged at the exploitation of our parents and the cold-blooded murder of our father as the centerpiece of a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic.
“Moreover, the juxtaposition of the fight of the Palestinian people with the murder of an innocent, disabled American Jew is both historically naive and appalling.” In this work of “art,” the hijacker Molqi sings: “We are / soldiers fighting a war / We are not criminals / and we are not vandals / but men of ideals.”
These lyrics fit with a recent letter from Peter Gelb, the Metropolitan Opera’s general manager. Gelb said, “John Adams has said that in composing ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ he tried to understand the hijackers and their motivations, and to look for humanity in the terrorists . . .” What humanity can — or should — be found in the murderers of innocents? When do we get an opera painting the 9/11 bombers as “men of ideals?”
On stage, hijacker Rambo says “Wherever poor men / are gathered they can / find Jews getting fat / You know how to cheat / the simple, exploit / the virgin, pollute / Where you have exploited / Defame those you cheated / and break your own law / with idolatry.” This is plain and simple anti-Semitic language.
New Yorkers of all religions, races and ethnicities should not be silent as terrorists are celebrated. Expect to see elected officials, religious leaders and others condemn The Metropolitan Opera for hosting an event which celebrates terrorists.
The Death of Klinghoffer is a production that only a Goebbels could love. And what’s striking is how much it stands out in the Met’s season. The tawdry piece of bigotry disguised as art is sandwiched between the work of Verdi, Mozart, Offenbach, Bizet, Rossini, Puccini and Wagner. It’s completely out of place and out of time.
The Metropolitan Opera has been having serious financial problems. Its programs regularly mention support from public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. The Met receives local, state and federal funding. Will New York taxpayer funds support anti-Semitism? What is the artistic value in celebrating the murder of innocents?
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Leftists are in an uproar over news that the worldwide televised simulcast of the Klinghoffer opera has been cancelled, but the show will go on in NYC. Met was wrong to scrap the Klinghoffer simulcast
Listen to Londoners gushing about how wonderful it is: