Met won’t broadcast opera amid anti-Semitic fears – New York Post


The Metropolitan Opera has pulled the plug on its live global broadcast of an opera based on the terrorist murder of Leon Klinghoffer out of fear it could fan a wave of
anti-Semitism across the world. The move to cancel the simulcast of “The Death of Klinghoffer” comes in response to pressure from the family of the victim, a Jewish New Yorker murdered by Palestinians during the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship.

Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, said he talked to the Met on behalf of Klinghoffer’s daughters, Lisa and Ilsa, who see the opera as “sympathetic” to their dad’s killers, according to a statement from the group.

“ ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ perverts the terrorist murder of our father and attempts to romanticize, rationalize, legitimize and explain it,” the women said in a statement on the ADL Web site.

They also decried “the opera’s disingenuous and dangerous juxtaposition of the plight of the Palestinian people with the cold-blooded, terrorist murder of an innocent disabled American Jew.”

The ADL said it believed the opera by American composer John Adams was not anti-Semitic, but is “flawed” and “could be used … as a means to stir up anti-Israel sentiments.”

Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said he thought the concerns about the play were justified, and that he didn’t want to broadcast “anything that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as pro-terrorist.”

“I’m convinced that the opera is not anti-Semitic,” he said. “But I’ve also become convinced that there is genuine concern in the international Jewish community that the live transmission of ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ would be inappropriate at this time of rising anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe.”

The opera — which gained critical acclaim when it was first staged in 1991 — will still have eight live performances at the Met between Oct. 20 and Nov. 15.

But a simulcast that had been planned to be seen in some 2,000 theaters in 67 countries will be nixed.

Klinghoffer was among 400 people taken hostage by the Palestine Liberation Front on the Italian ship in the Mediterranean. The wheelchair-bound, 69-year-old appliance manufacturer was shot and tossed into the water.

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