Should New York Taxpayers Fund Pro-Terrorism and Anti-Semitism at the The Metropolitan Opera?

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


leon klinghoffer

There is some understandable outrage about the Metropolitan Opera’s decision to stage The Death of Klinghoffer.

Some rightly fear that between this and the American Studies Association resolution, European style anti-Semitism thinly disguised as anti-Zionism is being pipelined into the United States.

As alluded to above, 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 Palestinian Arab 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.

Hijacker Rambo invokes anti-Semitic canards: “Wherever poor men—Are gathered they can—Find Jews getting fat”

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters were outraged and disgusted by the production.

We are outraged at the exploitation of our parents and the coldblooded murder of our father as the centrepiece of a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic…

Even the New York Times ran an essay after September 11 indicting the theatrical production for its bigotry.

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 pomo bigotry 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.

Its 2012 report mentions $500,000 in support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The year before that it was $100.000.

The Arts website shows six figure funding going to the Metropolitan Opera every year under General Opera Support. There are also other grants. That means that when a terrorist screams about the Jews on stage, he’ll be doing it with funding from New York taxpayers.

Maybe it’s time to put a stop to that.

If the Met wants to promote the murder of 9 percent of the population of New York City, New Yorkers shouldn’t have to pay for it.

That means eliminating all city and state funding for the Metropolitan Opera. The most obvious place to start is by killing the annual six-figure New York State Council on the Arts giveaway.

It’s something that a New York State Senator or Assemblyman can do.

At the Federal level, the Met receives funding from a variety of agencies, including $1 million from the State Department and from the usual suspects such as the Department of Education.

leon-klinghoffer

  • UCSPanther

    We all know the answer to the question, but unfortunately, we also know what will very likely happen…

    • DogmaelJones1

      Nothing.

  • liz

    Wouldn’t be surprised if there are Muslims lurking in the background on the funding end of this piece of garbage.

    • SusieBartlettedo

      like
      Jacqueline implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
      on the computer . see post F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

      • Wolfthatknowsall

        Off-topic …

  • Hard Little Machine

    Che de Blasio approves.

  • Wolfthatknowsall

    As a fan of the opera, the art-form originally started as the people’s house, where they could see the people who ruled them doing all sorts of nasty things, and getting a dagger in recompense.

    Modern opera has devolved an instrument for political disinformation and propaganda.

    I won’t listen to an opera composed post-Puccini.

    Having actually sang in the chorus of an opera company (the Lyric Opera of Chicago), at a very young age, I’ve always been of the opinion that opera companies can pay their own way, in this world, and don’t require state sponsorship.

    When the Lyric (or the Met) opens their doors, they are packed with people paying incredible fees for their seats. Lower the payments the stars receive for their performances. NO ONE deserves a half-million dollars for a three-performance production. Also, have more performances of the production, and less operas, per season. The people will still come.

    • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

      I suggest below that government regulation is probably to blame for much of the excessive costs, but I admit I haven’t looked into it. I just know how expensive it is to do anything in NYC.

      • Wolfthatknowsall

        The problem with American opera is that its mouth is firmly attached to the government teat, just like public radio and television, and it doesn’t want to be weaned.

        I sang in my first opera, under contract, at the age of 16. The minimum wage, at the time, was about $1.35 an hour. Practice time was about $4.50 an hour (read that about $45 an hour, today, in purchasing power), and I would make about roughly $40k per year. That was more than most of the fathers in my neighborhood.

        Today, in the same opera company, chorus-members make about $50,000 per year, but the stars make incredible sums of money, and the executives are well into the 6-figure mark. Since 1966, yearly pay for the chorus has only gone up by about $10k. You catch my drift, I’m sure.

        The people who run these institutions are not responsible for actually having to raise much money, and pay themselves and the principal singers lavish sums of money. Much of this money comes directly from the taxpayers, the vast majority of whom will never attend an opera … they can’t afford it.

        • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

          Interesting story. You must have been quite good. I didn’t make it that far, but was once offered the opportunity to augment the local symphony chorus as an unpaid auxiliary for one particular performance (I passed).

          Time to wean opera off the government teat.

  • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

    The decision to stage The Death of Klinghoffer seems inexplicable at a time when the Met is in financial trouble – why risk angering their patrons? But in any case, the Met should lose all “government” i.e. taxpayer, funding. Funding the arts is not a proper function of government, whether that art is good, bad (very likely when government has control), or indifferent.

    As to the Met’s troubles, I haven’t examined them closely, but I’d be willing to bet government regulations, probably including forced unionism, have raised costs to the point it may be impossible for them to turn a profit.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      They may have a patron who wants it. Think of a command performance.

      • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

        Maybe that’s it. I can think of a few Democrats that rich and important.

  • Ami Stefan Pemper

    I can’t believe it happens in the USA in New York??? Jews hight time for you to leave.make aliyah to Israel before it is too late. In Germany too the Jews felt secured , they were Germans of Mosaic faith and then Hitler came to power , the rest is history in extermination camps the Germans built to murder the Jews on polish soil. , Remember history repeats. Spain in 1492 , Holocaust in the 1940ies , history repeats in places where there in major concentration of Jews.

    • Chavi Beck

      Well it isn’t as if this kind of stuff doesn’t happen in Israel. It happens all the time. Arabs beat up a Jew, they go free, Jew gets arrested for punching back. I’m all for aliyah, but let’s keep the facts straight.

  • honeybee

    Yawl Jews voted for DeBlasio didn’t yawl

  • Robert Fink

    Um, the opera’s been performed multiple times in Long Beach, St. Louis, London and other European capitals. This “controversy” is over 20 years old, and the one-sided reading of the opera put forth above is not a responsible one. And — I say this as a Jew — the Holocaust reference above is deeply offensive. Comparing the authors of an American opera, even if you dislike its politics, to propagandists for the world’s most notorious mass murdering regime simply delegitimates your opinion. Hope your book is not this sloppily researched and argued.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The controversy will continue so long as the opera does. The murder of a man in a wheelchair is a one-sided act. So is the reading of an opera that attempts to shift the nature of the crime.

      The murder of Jews, in the Holocaust or outside it, is offensive. And any attempt to whitewash that is offensive.

    • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

      Fink, you’re a – no, that’s too easy. Listen bud, when the New York Times sees anti-Semitic bigotry, you can bet it’s at least that and probably a lot worse. And the fact that the opera has been performed in Europe is not a point in its favor, given the known Jew-hatred on the Continent.

    • Chavi Beck

      And — I say this as a Jew — you don’t speak for the Jewish People, sorry Robert Fink.

  • Chavi Beck

    Nuance, nuance. How beautifully nuanced.

  • Tiger

    Mr. Greenfield, have you ever seen The Death of Klinghoffer? If not, on what do you base your intense campaign against this work?

  • george

    New York is so sick today I am surprised the 92nd Street Y isnt running this opera…