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“Death of Klinghoffer” Promotes an Offensive and Indefensible Political Position

 B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:

B’nai B’rith International is dismayed that the Metropolitan Opera in New York will run as scheduled “The Death of Klinghoffer.” This 1991 American opera glorifies the Palestine Liberation Front terrorists who hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985 and murdered American tourist Leon Klinghoffer.

This piece seeks moral equivalence between terrorists and their victims. “The Death of Klinghoffer,” which is really about the murder of Mr. Klinghoffer, crosses all lines of artistic expression and promotes an offensive and indefensible position.

When the Met’s schedule was announced earlier this year, B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin expressed the organization’s concern to Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb, articulating our shock at the utter lack of sensitivity in choosing to stage this opera. Click here to read the letter.

The Metropolitan Opera’s large audience gives this piece marked by anti-Semitism, which promotes a tolerance of those who carry out acts of terror, an unprecedented public platform.

Responding to a letter from CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb wrote of the composer: “… he tried to understand the hijackers and their motivations, and to look for humanity in the terrorists, as well as in their victims.”

Humanity in the terrorists? These men shot and killed a wheelchair-bound 69-year old man and dumped his body overboard. What’s to understand?

At a time when the world is hyper-vigilant about the ever-growing threat of terrorism from so many global pockets, “The Death of Klinghoffer’s” glorification of terrorism stands out more than ever as an example of cultural folly.