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Pro-Israel Activist: Opera at Met Is Anti-Semitic

By    |   Friday, 12 September 2014 07:00 PM

A pro-Israel group will take to the streets of New York City to protest a Metropolitan Opera production of "The Death of Klinghoffer," which it believes is anti-Semitic.

Helen Freedman, executive director of Americans for a Safe Israel, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV that her group will march in front of the Met on Sept. 22nd at 5 p.m. over the opera's sympathetic portrayal of PLO terrorists.

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Klinghoffer, a disabled American appliance manufacturer, was onboard the Achille Lauro cruise ship when it was taken over and held hostage by four armed Palestinian terrorists off the coast of Egypt in 1985.

They ordered the captain to sail to Syria and demanded the release of 50 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons. Refused permission by the Syrian government to dock, the gunmen singled out Klinghoffer, shot him dead and his body was thrown overboard.

Composer John Adams' opera, "The Death of Klinghoffer,'' opened in 1991 and was criticized for being too sympathetic to the killers.

And while The Anti-Defamation League successfully lobbied to have the plug pulled on a worldwide broadcast of the Met production, the live show will go ahead in October and November.

"For starters, the title is so misleading. It wasn't that Leon Klinghoffer just died. He was a handicapped man in a wheelchair. He was executed by PLO terrorists who had hijacked the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship in 1985," Freedman said.

"The librettist, Alice Goodman, has chosen to present the story in such a way that we don't sympathize with the victim. We are expected to sympathize with the terrorists They call themselves freedom fighters.

"We're supposed to understand that they are justified in selecting a man from the passengers just because he's a Jew and using him as a sacrificial lamb … The lyrics are so offensive.

They talk about America being 'one fat Jew.'"

Freedman also blasted Met General Manager Peter Gelb for allowing the opera to go ahead in the wake of protest.

"[That he] thinks it's appropriate to have an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, pro-terrorist and anti-America opera for New York audiences is really incomprehensible and unacceptable," she said.

In a statement issued in June, Gelb said: "I'm convinced that the opera is not anti-Semitic."

Earlier this year, Ken Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told Steve Malzberg that the opera, while not expressly anti-Semitic, leaves the impression that the terrorists had reason to kill.

"It is troubling. It doesn't defend the terrorists, but contextualizes their actions in a way and relates it to the suffering they claim is imposed on Palestinians by Israel,'' Jacobson said.

"And subliminally [it] leaves the impression that the terrorists had reason to do what they did … Of course, to do that in the face of horrible terrorism is not only personally offensive to the family … it's so counterproductive in a world where terrorism is such a great threat.''

He said one particularly disturbing aspect is that the opera begins with words about how the Israelis allegedly drove the Palestinians from the Holy Land.

"And so that sets the stage for everything to come,'' Jacobson said.

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A pro-Israel group will take to the streets of New York City to protest a Metropolitan Opera production of "The Death of Klinghoffer," which it believes is anti-Semitic.
opera, new york, plo, anti-semitism
Friday, 12 September 2014 07:00 PM
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