Friday, June 6, 2014

Why is MET broadcasting antisemitism?

 Why is MET broadcasting antisemitism?
The Jewish News Service published an open letter to Peter Gelb, general manager of The Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in New York, concerning the HD transmission of a live performance of the opera, "The Death of Klinghoffer."
The letter, written by Myron Kaplan, an analyst from the organization CAMERA, which monitors anti-Israel and antisemitic media for accuracy in reporting, calls upon the venerable Metropolitan Opera to reject the opera for its "tendentious story line and an inflammatory libretto that falsely maligns Israel and the Jewish people."
The opera is based on the 1985 murder of a 69-year-old American Jewish man, Leon Klinghoffer, confined to a wheelchair, who was 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, and his body dumped into the water. As Kaplan points out, the opera would more appropriately be titled, "The Murder of Klinghoffer."
Kaplan cites several examples of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel lyrics from the opera. It has been reported that Klinghoffer’s two daughters, Lisa and Ilsa, attended a New York production of the opera in 1991, which they described as "appalling" and "antisemitic."
In response to the open letter, the Met responded, in part, "'The Death of Klinghoffer' is an opera about a terrible incident that has become part of a pattern of violence that in the ensuing decades continues to repeat itself. Mr. [John] Adams (composer) has said that in writing the opera he tried to understand the hijackers and their motivations, and to look for humanity in the terrorists, as well as in their victims. Tom Morris, the director of the Met's new production, believes that the opera’s most important contribution is in providing an opportunity for the audience to wrestle with the almost unanswerable questions that arise from this seemingly endless conflict.
"Since this opera dramatizes a horrific act of violence, the Met acknowledges that some members of its audience may disagree with the decision to present this work. However, the Met believes that in staging it, audiences are being given the opportunity to hear one of the best operas of the late 20th century."

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