NEW YORK, Sept.19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC voiced profound disappointment regarding the Metropolitan Opera commitment to proceed with Death of Klinghoffer. The Met premier of this controversial opera is scheduled for October 20, 2014.
The Met, apparently sensitive to mounting criticism of an opera that glorifies and romanticizes terrorism, has already canceled the simulcast broadcast of Klinghoffer. That action, however, has not alleviated serious concerns in New York City, the site of the 9/11 terror attacks, following a summer of increasingly horrific barbarism perpetrated against Americans and others across the Middle East.
Death of Klinghoffer is an "artistic rendition" of one of the most heinous acts of brutality that took place during a period of rising Middle East terrorism. In 1985, when Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Italian Achille Lauro cruise ship, 413 passengers were held hostage. Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled, wheelchair-bound 69-year-old American Jewish businessman from New York, was held separately, shot in the chest and head, and thrown overboard with his wheelchair.
"Today, with increasingly virulent anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israel terrorism, all reminiscent of the cruelty perpetrated against Leon Klinghoffer, we should not rationalize or humanize acts of terrorism or terrorists," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "In this era of ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and other jihadi organizations, we must not desecrate the memory of terrorist victims, nor offer rationales, artistic or otherwise, that could be seen to justify or contextualize the targeting of civilians."
The motives of the artists who brought the Klinghoffer opera to the Met stage are clear. The composer, John Adams, is animated by his misguided perception that "Israeli behavior on the world stage is off-limits to criticism," and "The pro-Israeli lobbies...had a huge influence on members of Congress and were heavily funded, while Palestinians, vastly underrepresented in the U.S., were forever scolded or ridiculed..."
The librettist, Alice Goodman, has asserted that "Israel is not exempt from the problem I have with romantic nationalism. If it's an evil, it's an evil all over the world."
As the daughters of Leon Klinghoffer recently wrote, "Our 69-year-old father was singled out and killed by Palestinian terrorists on his wedding anniversary cruise in 1985 solely because he was Jewish. His memory is trivialized in an opera that rationalizes terrorism and tries to find moral equivalence between the murderers and the murdered."
Harris concluded: "As New Yorkers, we are both puzzled and upset by the Met's decision. That said, we call upon all who are planning to protest the Klinghoffer opera to do so with civility, so that the focus of public criticism may remain, as it should, on the opera's totally inappropriate and insensitive messages."
SOURCE American Jewish Committee