Shalom Life | September 25, 2014

New Yorkers Protest Against 'anti-Semitic' Opera

“It is propaganda masquerading as art,” said Dr. Eve Epstein on the New York Met opera, The Death of Klinghoffer

By: Daniel Koren

Published: September 24th, 2014 in News » World

Photo Caption: Protesters outside the Lincoln Center in New York

Photo Credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880


Earlier this year, Myron Kaplan, a senior research analyst and member of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) penned an open letter to Peter Gelb, general manager at New York's Metropolitan Opera urging him to reconsider his decision to broadcast live The Death of Klinghoffer to hundreds of thousands of viewers, an opera he refers to as both anti-Jewish and anti-Israel:

Live transmission of The Death of Klinghoffer, a slanderous anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli concoction, is much more grave than the contretemps over Opera News. Mr. Gelb, we urge you, for the sake of the Met’s reputation and the constant struggle against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, to at least provide an HD transmission substitution.

While we may not be able to fully accredit it to Kaplan's article, Gelb did eventually heed his words, cancelling the live broadcast because of complaints that it "glorifies anti-Semitism," though it would still continue with its scheduled run of eight performances in October and November 2014.

On Monday evening, a month before the October 20th start date for the opera, over 100 New Yorkers gathered across the street from the Lincoln Center to protest the Met's decision to keep The Death of Klinghoffer in their fall lineup.

Composed by John Adams, the opera looks at the 1985 hijacking of an Italian cruise ship by the Palestinian Liberation Front, and the murder of a helpless 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled Jewish passenger on board.

Klinghoffer was shot in the head while vacationing with his wife, and his body was later dumped overboard.

Protesters Monday night argued that the play condones terrorism, and is also anti-Semitic due to its exploitation of Klinghoffer's death. “It is propaganda masquerading as art,” explained Dr. Eve Epstein, a communications specialist, reports Tablet.

Amid the protesters were students from local yeshivas, who carried signs that read "Shame on Peter Gelb" and others that referred to the Met as the "Metropolitan Nazi Opera."

Some demonstrators even wore yellow signs with the phrase "Never Again," referring to the atrocities of the Holocaust. Others made the connection that if the Met allows such glorification of anti-Semitism, then what's to stop them from airing "9/11: The Musical" or a musical about ISIS?

While patrons of the Met were either confused or sympathetic to their cause, one man stated that they should be protesting on opening night, that is, unless the Met cancels it first.

If they don't, however, expect a large crowd to gather around the venue come October 20th, when The Death of Klinghoffer is scheduled to begin performances.

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