In recent weeks we have witnessed a surge in anti-Semitism around the world in response to Israel’s efforts to defend itself against an aggressor who is sworn to its destruction. This anti-Semitism, hiding behind a facade of anti-Zionism, is unparalleled since Nazi Germany.
Most of the more egregious incidents have occurred abroad, but there is one particularly blatant example of anti-Semitism here in the U.S. that should not be ignored.
The Metropolitan Opera, despite vigorous opposition from many parts of the Jewish Community, is forging ahead with its plans to present the opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” during its Fall 2014 season. After a campaign of letter writing, demonstrations, and articles in the Jewish press, the Met has refused to remove the opera from its schedule, offering only to “compromise” by cancelling its worldwide HD simulcast programs, but not the production at the Metropolitan Opera House itself.
This opera presents the takeover of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 by Palestinian terrorists, and their murder of 69 year old, wheel-chair bound Leon Klinghoffer, as justified, not only by Palestinian grievances against Israel, but also by the alleged evil and exploitative actions of Jews against others around the world. The terrorists are humanized and presented as freedom fighters, who have been forced by Jewish and Zionist oppression to take extreme actions.
In the opera’s libretto, there are passages that defame the Jews as a people. For example, the principal terrorist says, “Wherever poor men are gathered, they can find Jews getting fat. You know how to cheat the simple, exploit the virgin, pollute where you have exploited, defame those you cheated, and break your own law with idolatry.”
At one stage, the terrorist leader says to Klinghoffer, “America is one big Jew.”
The opening scene honors terrorists. It is set against a backdrop of graffiti on a wall proclaiming “Warsaw 1943, Bethlehem 2005,” implying a moral equivalence between the acts of the Nazis and current day Jews.
The Palestinians sing, “We are soldiers fighting a war. We are not criminals and we are not vandals but men of ideals.”