(/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/09/klinghoffer_2151670b.jpg)Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer say that the play The Death of Klinghoffer, which premiers Monday evening at Lincoln Center, is unacceptable, stating, “We are outraged at the exploitation of our parents and the coldblooded murder of our father as the centerpiece of a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic.” Countless media outlets, including The New York Daily News, noted that The Death of Klinghoffer has been “reviled as anti-Semitic and horribly sympathetic to the killers.”
Daniel Pearl’s father, in a letter that will be read at the protests Monday outside of Lincoln Center, notes that the Met is wrong to air this play. The letter reads in part as follows:
In joining you today to protest the New York Metropolitan Opera production of this opera, I echo the silenced voice of my son, Daniel Pearl, and the silenced voices of other victims of terror, including James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and including thousands of men, women and children who were murdered, maimed or left heartbroken by the new menace of our generation, a menace that the Met has decided to accept and orchestrate as just another activity of normative civilized society, just another phenomenon worthy of artistic expression. They tell us that the composer tried to “understand the hijackers, their motivations, and their grievances.”
I submit to you that there has never been a crime in human history lacking grievance and motivation. The 9⁄11 lunatics had profound motivations, and the murderers of my son, Daniel Pearl, had very compelling “grievances.” In the past few weeks we have seen with our own eyes that Hamas and ISIS have grievances, too and, they, too, are lining up for operatic productions with the Met.
Yet civilized society, from the time of our caveman ancestors, has learned to protect itself by codifying right from wrong, separating the holy from the profane, distinguishing that which deserves the sound of orchestras from that which deserves our unconditional revulsion. The Met has smeared this distinction and thus betrayed their contract with society. I submit to you that choreographing an operatic drama around criminal pathology is not an artistic prerogative, but a blatant betrayal of public trust.
We do not stage operas for rapists and child molesters, and we do not compose symphonies for penetrating the minds of ISIS executioners. What we are seeing here in New York today is not an artistic expression that challenges the limits of morality, but a moral deformity that challenges the limits of the art. This opera is not about the mentality of deranged terrorists, but about the judgment of our arts directors. The New York Met has squandered humanity’s greatest treasure — our moral compass, our sense of right and wrong, and, most sadly, our reverence for music as a noble expression of the human spirit. We might be able some day to forgive the Met for de-criminalizing brutal minds, but we will never forgive them for poisoning our music – for turning our best violins and our iconic concert halls into mega-phones for excusing evil.”
Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which describes itself as “the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency,” has rubber-stamped the Met’s airing of this anti-Semitic opera. While The Death of Klinghoffer includes libels that Jews get fat from the poor and chea, and has countless anti-Semitic themes, the ADL has cited “artistic freedoms” in approving the Metropolitan Opera’s decision to feature the anti-Semitic opera. Shame on the ADL – they are wrong.
On the side of truth and justice: the Klinghoffer family, Daniel Pearl’s family, terror victims, countless Jewish organizations (including the Simon Wiesenthal Center), the former United States Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Former NY Governor George Pataki, numerous other religious organizations and a slew of others oppose the play and will protest outside on Monday. Rabbi Avi Weiss will lead a morning prayer vigil where participants will raise a voice of outrage against this play which celebrates terrorist murders. They will have a wheelchair to illustrate the plight of Klinghoffer, an American World War II veteran who was killed by terrorists of the Palestine Liberation Front (PFLF).
I live across the street from Lincoln Center – it’s despicable and horrible that the Lincoln Center allows the show to go on. Terrorists kill Americans – and that is not art.
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