(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Hundreds gathered outside the New York Metropolitan Opera House to protest the opening night of an outrageous, insensitive musical that humanizes terrorists.

Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in New York on Monday as the Metropolitan Opera House held an opening night for Death of Klinghoffer, a terrorist-sympathizing performance that presents justification for the vicious murder of American Jew Leon Klinghoffer.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and former governor David Paterson were among those who addressed the protesters outside the opera house, slamming the prestigious cultural institution for allowing such a production. Current mayor Bill de Blasio defended the Met, citing freedom of speech.

In an opinion piece in the Daily Beast last Tuesday, Guiliani slammed the Met for contributing to the rise in terrorism by offering a venue to justify it “as if it is expression of a legitimate political philosophy.”

Approximately 100 protesters lined up in wheelchairs wearing signs around their neck reading, “I am Leon Klinghoffer.” The crowd cheered loudly at the news that the production had not sold out, Reuters reports.

‘Exploitation of the Murder of our Father’

Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer, the murder victim’s daughters, wrote in an op-ed for JTA that the opera, composed by John Adams, did an injustice to their father’s memory, “For us, the impact and message of the opera is much more deeply felt and tragically personal,” they stated.

“Neither Mr. Adams nor librettist Alice Goodman reached out to us when creating the opera, so we didn’t know what to expect when we attended the American debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1991,” the sisters, who live in New York, wrote. “We were devastated by what we saw: the exploitation of the murder of our father as a vehicle for political commentary…. It presents false moral equivalencies without context and offers no real insight into the historical reality and the senseless murder of an American Jew. The opera rationalizes, romanticizes and legitimizes the terrorist murder of our father.”

‘Operatic Kristallnacht’

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) – a coordinator of the protest, which was joined by approximately 50 groups, including One Israel Fund, One Family Fund, Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Catholic League – named four Jewish foundations that are major contributors to the Met – Michael Bloomberg, L.P., The Annenberg Foundation, The Neubauer Family Foundation, and Toll Brothers Foundation – and which have thus far failed to withdraw multi-million dollar support or speak up publicly against the production.

“If these major multi-million dollar contributors to the Met had taken a stand and stopped their funding, it is very possible that this offensive opera would not be opening at the Met today. It is heartbreaking and appalling that Jewish foundations are continuing to support the Met when the Met is performing an opera that presents a rationale for the murder of innocent Jews,” the ZOA said in a statement.

The Met has scheduled seven more live performances of “Klinghoffer” after Monday’s opening night. The ZOA has hopes that contributors will finally speak up and act “before there are any further performances of this reprehensible spectacle.”

According to ZOA, “this can be called an operatic Kristallnacht since an anti-Semitic, Israel-demonizing opera that promotes hatred of Jews while humanizing killers of Jews is met with silence and inaction by most major donors, Jewish leaders and other public figures.”

Humanizing Inhumane Actions

PLO terrorists hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985, killing wheelchair-bound, 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer and throwing his body into the sea in an attempt to blackmail Israel into freeing 50 convicted terrorists, including Samir Kuntar. A vicious terrorist, Kuntar had murdered an innocent four-year old girl by smashing her head with his rifle butt against rocks, after slaying her father in her presence and killing two others.

“After the ISIS [Islamic State] beheaded American journalists, we should not let the Met humanize and glorify the Palestinian terrorist killers of disabled American Leon Klinghoffer,” ZOA declared.

Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel