Letters to the Met
This page contains some letters and excerpts from letters that people wrote to the Met including Met Opera manager Peter Gelb – firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to write a letter to the Met, please see our “Tell the Met” page for more address information of Met management, and names of Met board members and donors. The following letters were sent to the Met Opera’s Manager, Peter Gelb [NOTE: the first letter was written prior to cancellation of the broadcast. The live performances are still scheduled, and need to be canceled].[Note: Please send email@example.com copies of your correspondence with the Met, and let Liz know if we can publish your letter and any response here!]
Dear Mr. Gelb,
Please cancel the Metropolitan Opera’s planned fall 2014 performances [and worldwide broadcast] of “Death of Klinghoffer.” Death of Klinghoffer is anti-Semitic and espouses vicious falsehoods about Israel which incite anti-Semitism and attacks on Jews. The opera espouses outrageous false descriptions of Jews such as rich, fat, defilers of virgins, etc. The opera also completely revises history to malign Israel. The opera portrays Jews as chasing Arabs from their homes in 1948, when in fact Israeli Jews begged the Arabs living among them to stay and live together in peace. The Arab High Committee and invading Arab armies exhorted the Arabs to leave, in order to make it easier for the seven Arab nations who attacked the fledgling state of Israel to slaughter all of Israel’s Jewish inhabitants. It is well documented and was well known and acknowledged by all concerned at the time that the Arab High Committee and invading Arab armies who sought to murder all of Israel’s Jews were the sole cause of the “Arab refugee problem.” The opera also falsely claims that refuge figures were ten times more than they were. Simply put, the opera purveys revisionist propaganda used to justify murdering innocent Jews such as Leon Klinghoffer.
Anti-Semitism is a dangerous phenomenon that is growing rapidly. Jews are being subject to physical attack on a daily basis in Europe and elsewhere. Physical attacks on Jews tripled in Brooklyn last year, and Jewish and Israeli students on American college campuses are frequently harassed. This is no time to be performing and broadcasting to millions of people throughout the world an opera full of Arab revisionist propaganda that will incite more attacks against Jewish people and Israel .
The surviving Klinghoffer daughters were outraged that the murder of their father has been turned into an anti-Semitic opera. We are sure that the Metropolitan Opera would never consider performing and broadcasting an opera which maligns blacks, Hispanics or any other group the way that “Death of Klinghoffer” maligns the Jewish people. The Jewish people are entitled to the same consideration as other groups.
Please immediately cancel the performances and broadcast of “Death of Klinghoffer.”
Thank you. Sincerely, [Name & address withheld]
Dear Mr. Gelb [firstname.lastname@example.org],
As an occasional attendee at the Met I am appalled by your selection of The Death (Murder) of Klinghoffer to be performed in the Fall of this year. The Israeli-Palestinian issues are an incredibly difficult and painful subject to many Jews. In the name of artistic freedom, a biased performance will only inflame the embers of hatred that are already burning. Your judgment about this is suspect.
From what I read, the Klinghoffer family was appalled and saddened by this opera’s use of their father/husband’s name. That alone show the kind of disrespect this opera is exhibiting. They were also upset by the opera’s blatant anti-Semitism in their characterization of Jews.
No matter what your beliefs are about Israel, an opera that can incite more hatred is not one that should represent what the Met stands for…..even in the name of artistic freedom.
The Metropolitan Opera
New York, NY 10023
Dear Mr. Gelb:
You have crossed the line between provocative and profane. You need to get a grip and cancel this atrocity.
Very truly yours,
Bert L. Slonim,
Dear Mr. Gelb:
I am surprised and disappointed that you have chosen to put “The Death of Klinghoffer” on your Fall schedule. It cannot have escaped your awareness that this is an anti-Semitic production which paints terrorists the heroes rather than the villains they are. This opera is taken from a real incident, the tragedy of a disabled man, confined to a wheelchair, vacationing aboard a cruise ship, the Achille Lauro, in 1985 when it is hijacked by PLO terrorists seeking revenge for a failed attack elsewhere. They deliberately shot an elderly American Jew, Leon Klinghoffer, and while still alive threw him overboard to drown. The opera revises reality and gives the terrorists an aura of respectability as they justify the attack on long-dead-and-disproven anti-Semitic falsehoods.
To take this touching story and turn it with words and music into a salute to these villains is totally irresponsible and unworthy of the Met. It’s reckless, too, for our civilized world is now facing horrific threats from a multitude of terrorist groups not unlike these which the Met graces with praise. Groups such as Boko Haram, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, and Isis, all exist to impose their extreme beliefs on others. It’s accept those beliefs or face death. Their techniques to “convince” are composed of all forms of terror including murder, beheading, burying alive, rape, torture and death. That the Met takes this incident and, in the name of “artistic license” idealizes and glorifies these barbaric terrorists will, unfortunately, do much to feed the flames of anti-Semitism and instability in the world. With that awareness, please reconsider your intention to include this opera in the coming season.
If you do go ahead with the production, I, like others who care about social responsibility, will not be patronizing the Met this Fall when traveling in New York.
With much regret,
I am surprised and further distressed that I did not receive the courtesy of a reply from you to my below e-mail of over 3 months ago, raising issues of utmost importance that deserved a substantive response. Under the circumstances I do not see how I can continue an affiliation with the Metropolitan Opera in the future. While it pains me to have to give up my entertainment pleasure by foregoing attending the opera and supporting our singers, that absolutely pales in comparison to human decency and morality. You and the leadership of the Met have abdicated your responsibility as ethical human beings, and further in your case, Mr. Gelb, as a Jew. You have a lot of soul searching to do on Rosh Hashanah.
Lazarus & Harris LLP
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2014 1:10 PM
Subject: The Death of Klinghoffer
Dear Mr. Gelb:
I have been a subscriber to the Metropolitan Opera for many years (I.D. #[omitted]). I am a Jew and an opera lover. I was shocked and dismayed to learn that the Met has chosen to perform The Death of Klinghoffer and to simulcast it around the world, exposing the opera and its anti-Semitic agenda to hundreds of thousands of people. The opera is an apologia for terrorism, in that it romanticizes and seeks to engender sympathy for the dastardly Palestinian terrorists who hijacked a cruise ship and heinously murdered a defenseless, disabled Jewish man, and for Palestinian terrorists in general. Indeed, just the title of the opera alone, characterizing a brutal and cold-blooded murder as a “death” instead of a murder, speaks volumes about its editorial bias. The opera is replete with anti-Israeli propaganda and misinformation about the history of the Middle East, and contains anti-Semitic statements, which are never challenged by the author. It is simply craven and cowardly to hide behind a general excuse of artistic freedom (and euphemistically characterize the opera as does your website as a “meditative opus”) and provide a stage where such hatred and prejudice is spewed. The Met becomes complicit in promulgating anti-Semitic propaganda and endangering the lives, not only of Jews, but of Americans and all others of good will who oppose and combat terrorism and prejudice throughout the world.
What a shame indeed that the Metropolitan Opera puts its once venerable name and support behind appalling and offensive material. You certainly cannot pretend that you were unaware of the malicious content. I assume you read libretti of new operas before booking them. Moreover, when the opera was first performed in the early 1990’s it was picketed and performances were cancelled by opera houses and festivals which obviously had more of a conscience than does the Met. This was well publicized. Indeed, Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters expressed outrage at the opera and its exploitation of their father’s murder, adding insult to the sheer horror of their terrible loss.
I must call upon you in no uncertain terms to cancel this opera and the broadcast. Depending on your response I must seriously consider whether I can continue to be a subscriber to your organization. That is certainly another shame since as of course you well know attendance has been down, and the Met can ill afford to lose subscribers.
Sorely disillusioned with you and the Metropolitan Opera,
Robert C. Harris
Lazarus & Harris LLP
Dear Mr Gelb,
It is hard to believe that the cruel murder of an elderly man by Inhumane murderers can be called art. It is harder still to believe that anyone could consider the perpetrators anything but barbaric animals. It is even harder to believe that a play exonerating their behaviour and justifying it by rewriting the history of Israel should be staged by people who of all people should know better.
Perhaps you are being broad minded and perhaps you consider the Jewish population a little paranoiac but believe me I am a gentile and the presenting of such blatant antisemetic nonsense is not just an offence to Israel but an offence to all respectable, peace-loving people and a statement that you have traded principle for profit and art for ethics.
I implore you to take another look at the spirit behind this opera and realise that it is conceived by minds bent on blackening Israel and conversely turning murderers into the helpless victims but remember that by virtue of the fact that Jewish blood runs through your veins, you will not be exempt should the people you choose to portray as good show their true colours and swoop down on America and her Jews.
This is not the time to play devil’s advocate it is time to stand up and be counted. You have a powerful platform use it wisely. You can make a difference by standing for the right.
OPEN LETTER FROM JUDAH PEARL TO THE DIRECTORS OF THE METROPOLITAN OPERA
Letter from Judah Pearl, whose journalist son Daniel Pearl was beheaded by Islamists in Pakistan in 2001. This letter was read publically at the protest against the Klinghoffer Opera at Lincoln Center on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, which was attended by over 3,000 protesters:
“I echo the silenced voice of my son… and the silenced voices of other victims of terror, including James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and including thousands of men, women and children who were murdered, maimed or left heartbroken by the new menace of our generation, a menace that the Met has decided to accept and orchestrate as just another activity of normative civilized society, just another phenomenon worthy of artistic expression.
“Civilization has learned to protect itself by codifying right from wrong, separating the holy from the profane, and distinguishing that which deserves the sound of orchestras from that which deserves our unconditional revulsion. The Met has smeared this distinction and thus betrayed their contract with society.
“I submit to you that choreographing an operatic drama around criminal pathology is not an artistic prerogative, but a blatant betrayal of public trust. We do not stage operas for rapists and child molesters, and we do not compose symphonies for penetrating the minds of ISIS executioners.
“What we are seeing here in New York today is not an artistic expression that challenges the limits of morality, but a moral deformity that challenges the limits of art.
“This opera is not about the mentality of deranged terrorists, but about the judgement of our arts directors. The New York Met has squandered humanity’s greatest treasure – our moral compass, our sense of right and wrong, and most sadly, our reverence for music as a noble expression of the human spirit.
“We might be able some day to forgive the Met for decriminalizing brutal minds, but we will never forgive them for poisoning our music – for turning our best violins and our iconic concert halls into megaphones for excusing evil.”
To: The Metropolitan Opera – email@example.com and Met Opera Manager Peter Gelb firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your response. [NOTE: The Met’s response to Rabbi Algaze’s first letter included the Met’s statement that the Met “is not endorsing any political views expressed in the libretto.”]
The issue of whether you endorse the libretto or not is irrelevant; the fact that you choose to present it is already a disservice to truth and an incitement to further violence against Jews. You will be responsible for any acts of violence committed against Jews as a result of people hearing false lines like “They stole my house” and the like. Would you present an opera that disparages African Americans or Muslims? Moreover, if the incident [the terrorists’ killing of Mr. Klinghoffer in his wheelchair] is horrific, why present arguments [to] justify it? . . . The connection between the murder and any political issue is simply obscene and your presenting the opera is a disgrace.
It is a pity that the Met, with all its financial issues, will suffer more from the outcome of this unnecessary controversy. We who care about opera and love the Met ask you to cancel this opera for the sake of art. Your actions will not support art; it undermines respect for it I love . . . I am an opera lover and the Met has fallen in my regard and the regard of many opera lovers. Sincerely,
Rabbi David Algaze
Open Letter – Metropolitan Opera of NY should not give a forum to Antisemistism
Peter Gelb, General Manager
The Metropolitan Opera
New York, NY 10023
I was nurtured on opera. It probably would not be an exaggeration to say that opera flowed through my veins like mother’s milk. My Aunt Ethel sang in the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera. I remember going to see her first in the “Old Met.” The Metropolitan Opera then moved to Lincoln Center, where we witnessed Ethel in the chorus many times. It was a great thrill in the family to have someone actually sing with the world’s greatest operatic company. Oftentimes my parents would drive Ethel home on Saturday night.
Opera was heard in my home frequently. It was difficult ever to enter my house without some opera being played on the old stereo by my father. Saturday afternoons meant listening to the Texaco Opera Broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera with Martin Bookspan. Many years later, I met Bookspan’s son, a lawyer in Philadelphia, and I could not help but praise his father to the young lawyer.
My father was proud to be able to sing directly from the Librettos and to have met on many occasions Richard Tucker. Tucker lived in Great Neck, my hometown, and was a proud member of Temple Israel of Great Neck.
Imagine the disappointment and shock when I saw that the Metropolitan Opera was going to perform the Death of Klinghoffer.
Who was Klinghoffer?
Leon Klinghoffer was an elderly American in a wheelchair, thrown overboard and killed by Palestinian terrorists when he was on a cruise on the Italian ship The Achille Lauro in 1985. This murder by terrorists was the subject of John Adams’ second opera.
The opera has been controversial since its inception. It is, without question, an attempt to justify the murder of the elderly Jew by fictionalized propaganda which has now become part and parcel of the Arab motif. Somehow our world has been turned upside down. Liberal academics and artists are now touting what is essentially a fascist point of view. Jews are portrayed as a majority oppressing minority Muslims. Nothing could be further from the truth. A history lesson is not necessary to fully appreciate that Jews have had a presence in Israel for 3,400 years. The West Bank on the Jordan River, which seems to be the epicenter of controversy, was given to the Jews as a national homeland but subsequently redistributed by the British to their friends, the Hashimites in Jordan. Jordan seized the land and held it until after the 1967 war in which the Arab Middle East attempted to destroy Israel. Fortunately, Israel survived and has been the subject of criticism ever since.
The Metropolitan Opera of New York should be above nonsensical depictions of history rewritten by those whose money and power put them in the position of portraying traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Jews did not chase Arabs out of Palestine, but rather Jews have been excluded from Palestine for centuries. The Palestinian refugee crisis was created by Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and others. Palestinians who were invited to live side by side with Jews have been made into pawns, and those pawns eventually became terrorists murdering innocent men, women and children. People like Klinghoffer have become victims in the Arab propaganda machine, the only purpose of which is to seek the destruction of the only Democratic state that the Middle East has ever known, the nation of Israel.
The Metropolitan Opera should be above such twisted politics. Is there not enough opera that is of value, of interest, and that is worthy of performance? Apparently the answer is “no.” Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the Metropolitan Opera any longer, and I will urge my friends, compatriots, and those with whom I discuss erudite musical performances to refrain from supporting the Metropolitan Opera.
Very truly yours,
Clifford A. Rieders, Esquire
Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Harris, Waters, Waffenschmidt & Dohrmann
Mr. Gelb – respectfully – you are no doubt aware that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem conferred with Hitler on the use of poison gas to exterminate European Jewry.
The descendants of the Grand Mufti murdered Klinghoffer, and flew aircraft into the World Trade Centers , formerly within sight of Lincoln Center.
The United States devoted the full measure of our national resources to defeating Fascism in WWII and specifically, destroying the Nazi murder regime.
Hamas (and generally radical Islam) has the stated objective of executing genocide against Jews in the State of Israel , is engaged in a campaign to massacre Christians throughout the Middle East, and in undermining Western democracy throughout Western Europe. But you know that already, we don’t have to remind you. Or do we?
I suggest that every fiber of your being as an American, as a member of Western Civilization, and as a Jew whose extended family was thrown alive into ovens only seventy years ago, should reject this hateful opera.
The Jewish New Year is upon us Mr. Gelb. Make the right call. It is not too late for you, your family, and for all New York and for the United States which has nurtured and supported our people , and stand up for the very principles upon which our Founding Fathers sacrificed and defined for us in this New World experiment called America. Please reread Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville published in 1835 to regain some perspective.
My family name is among the founders of Lincoln Center. Look and you will find their names inscribed. Do you think this hate is what they had in mind? How do you wish for your family name to be inscribed?
Make the right call. For yourself and for your family. Purge this poison.”
family has stridently objected to the opera and its use of the murdered Mr. Klinghoffer in this terrible manner. Are you planning an opera called “The Death of Janusz Korczak” with a plaintive aria by the head of the Gestapo in
Warsaw singing, “My Fuhrer loves me, and the Jews made Matza out of my cousin?” Maybe the Oberammergau Passion Play would be next on your hallowed stage?
Promoting anti-Israel and anti-semitism under the guise of ART is not a position for the Met to support ,by giving it voice and an audience, despite your lofty sounding statements.Cancel this production!! Don’t bow to hatred and terrorism even when it is couched in culture.
Mr. Fabio Luisi
The Metropolitan Opera
New York, NY 10023
Mr. Gelb and Mr. Luisi,
If you wanted to mount a production that would spark debate, you sure found one.
However, you did so by ignoring basic principles of right and wrong, not to mention artistic taste.
Please recognize that the “freedom fighters” that Death of Klinghoffer’s libretto lionizes fight for a culture that would not tolerate you personally, nor your art form, nor your right to self-expression.
You are not providing an artistically useful social critique. You are undermining the principles of the society that nurtures you.
Please don’t waste any more effort standing up for your “artistic freedom.” Recognize that this is a hurtful mistake that damages your institution and your reputations, and pull the plug.
The outraged public calling you to task is not a collection of fringe pressure groups with pitchforks and torches.
We are American citizens living in a dangerous and morally obtuse world who feel that your production does much harm and little good, politically and artistically.
Sept. 16, 2014
Director of Customer Care Susan Hayes
The Metropolitan Opera
New York, NY 10023
Re: The Death of Klinghoffer
Dear Ms. Hayes:
Thank you for your letter received September 3, 2014, after the passage of several months and two letters from me requesting a response.
Whether John Adams is “one of America’s greatest living composers” is a matter of some debate but not relevant to our exchange of views. I am well versed in the history of the Metropolitan Opera and its mandate, as I have explained in previous correspondence. I grew up with opera, and my parents had a Saturday night subscription for the entirety of their lives. My aunt sang in the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, and my father enjoyed challenging Richard Tucker, a neighbor in Great Neck, with specific wording from selected librettos.
The Death of Klinghoffer is not a “terrible incident,” nor does it represent a generic “pattern of violence.” The Death of Klinghoffer was a murder by Muslim Arab terrorists, who wanted to kill Jews. That is the direct, blunt truth that brooks no argument.
It is irrelevant whether The Met does or does not endorse the political views expressed in the libretto. The real issue is whether there is a line in the sand when so-called words in art become unacceptable.
Please allow some examples. The Israeli Philharmonic debated greatly whether it should play works by Richard Wagner. As you doubtless know, Wager was a grotesque anti-Semite, who in his writings first proposed eliminationist dogma against the Jewish people. Yet, his music was performed by the Israeli Opera because Wagner’s political expressions were able to be separated from the musical content. My mother would never go to a Wagnerian opera, and I had to go with my father and sit through the ring trilogy when I was 8 years old!
It is comforting that the Metropolitan Opera included a message from Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer that it canceled the live HD transmission. This is proof enough that the libretto represents anti-Semitism and has no place at a great institution like The Metropolitan Opera.
There is art, which may be distasteful and even reprehensible, and there is racism. We who espouse social consciousness and respect for others do not endorse racism or anti-Semitism because it falls under the guise of “art.” This is not a question of political expression or sensitivities, but rather whether The Metropolitan Opera desires to be part of a cultural milieu that for 2,000 years has resulted in the near extermination of the Jewish people.
This is a serious matter that is not of trifling significance.
My daughter serves in the Israeli defense forces. We were in Israel during recent missile attacks and were exposed to such attacks ourselves. Israel and Judaism continues to fight for its existence, an oasis of tranquility, in an ocean of destructive influences. There is not a more artistically dynamic place in the world than the democratic, diverse, open society which exists in the State of Israel. We do a disservice to Israel, the Jewish people, and all peace-loving humanity by giving air to hate-filled and false propaganda.
I realize that you are merely the “Director of Customer Care” and have little to say about the decision-making process. Hopefully you will forward my views and thoughts to those to whom I had originally written.
All the best to you.
Very truly yours,
Clifford A. Rieders, Esquire
To the Met Opera Administration:
It would be hard to argue that the Met has been one of our nation’s most cherished cultural organizations and has provided us with decades of joy from the music and art you have provided the world.
To Peter Gelb:
I am a french citizen, visiting my children living in Brooklyn, and can’t believe what I read in the newspaper : you, as an american Jew, are allowing a pro-terrorist, anti-jew opera in Lincoln Center ??
You seem not to realize that, if you would have been on the Achille Lauro, you could have been thrown in the water, and somebody could have written “The death of Gelb “, saying that it is “Art”.
You seem not to understand that this opera would be an insult to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, of the terrorism, and antisemitism.
You seem to have forgotten 9/11
In France, we have Dieudonné, you certainly know about, but he was impeached to go on making his nasty shows.
As we are a few days before Roch Hachanah, I hope you’ll think about what you are doing to the democratic world, and to yourself.
August 18, 2014
Richard J. Miller, President
New York, NY 10023
Dear Mr. Miller:
The Metropalistan Opera
Canceling the simulcast of ‘The Death of Klinghoffer” does not exculpate any of the personnel affiliated with the opera if the show will be presented on stage as scheduled. Because Peter Gelb acknowledged the “genuine concern in the international Jewish community,” he is not oblivious to the impropriety, yet he continues unimpeded. He may well be an active partner to Hama and the insult, an accomplice to Alice Goodman’s rejection of their mutual heritage, or he lacks the capacity to see that this production should also be of enormous concern to the greater American community. This opera may well rank with the Bavarian Oberammergau that continues to inspire antisemitism – but not only antisemitism. This perverted story is an act of jihad.
For the still uninformed, Jihad is “holy war,” or it would be a holy war if Islam were a bona fide religion. However, Islam is political ideology, a movement of conquest that is presented as a religion (a religion of peace, no less!), a duty for all Muslims to wage war against the non-Islamic world on behalf of their prophet, Mohammed. In the 7th century, after 13 years of futile attempts at converting Meccan and Medinan Jews, Christians and idol worshippers to his new religion, Mohammed began torturing, looting and destroying those who would not accept his “religion” or him as prophet. He beheaded (Jewish) men, enslaved women and children, and killed until both cities were inhabited by Muslims only. Thus he acquired land and converts to Islam. To this day, his followers must obey the same Qur’anic decrees. Eighty percent of the Qur’an is devoted to dealing with the unbeliever. Mohammed converted about 10,000 to Islam every year, committing violence until the end of his life. Islam is a detailed political system, a demonic doctrine of jihad and the implementation of Islamic laws, Sharia, everywhere.
9:29 Make war on those who have received the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) but do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day. They do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden. The Christians and Jews do not follow the religion of truth until they submit and pay the poll tax (jizya) and they are humiliated.
Over these 1400 years, Jihad has been responsible for the death of 270 million people worldwide. Known as “The Tears of Jihad,” they include 60 million Christians, 80 million Hindus, 10 million Buddhists, 120 million Africans, the number increases with each attack throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Russia, India and China. To assume that we Americans are not included in their vision is, at the least, foolish. To paint the jihadists as though they might be justified or in need of compassion is reckless. We cannot turn a blind eye and portray the terrorists with humanity, or we will not be able to defend ourselves as they change our culture and mindset in this slow, methodical onslaught. These cold-blooded killers who are meticulously trained since childhood to revel and celebrate death have been robbed of all humanity.
The opera’s purpose is to prime us to be insensitive to the death of a wheelchair-bound American, a veteran of World War II, an inventor and appliance manufacturer, a husband and father, with the smokescreen that he is Jewish and, therefore, responsible for every misfortune known to the Muslim world. It is also preparing us to slowly lose our moral compass, take on their Qur’anic mission of hate and death, and tolerate their violence, evil, and bloodlust as “acceptable under the circumstances.” It is enhanced with the accusation of “Islamophobia,” to prevent us from naming and discussing the enemy.
Raymond Ibrahim, Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum and author, has exposed Islam’s war on Christians. There are news reports daily of Muslim killings according to Muhammad’s commands – oppressing their women, honor killings, hunting down apostates, kidnapping children into sexual slavery, and converting or killing Christians in Afghanistan, Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Iran, Krygyz, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tanzania, and into Europe. You need only turn on the few TV channels that are still dedicated to reporting the truth. YouTube has an array of tortures, beheadings, hanging children on fenceposts as shields against Israel’s retaliations.
The opera is an insult to the memory of Leon Klinghoffer and his family and an assault on us and our humanity. We are being manipulated to take on the Islamic war against Israel, and to accept the terrorist attack on Western civilization. This is another jihad war strategy with the purpose of destroying us – nihilism – to establish an Islamic caliphate in the Western world. There is no greater threat to mankind today than Islam and this opera must not be staged.☼
Please cancel the Klinghoffer opera production!
Beachwood, Ohio 44122
Please remove me from all future mailings of the Metropolitan Opera. It pains me a great deal that you are going ahead with “The Death of Klinghoffer”. I have read the libretto. It is clearly sympathetic, rationalizes and romanticizes the terrorists, which I find offensive. Furthermore, In your staging, the words “Warsaw 1943” and “Bethlehem 2005” are seen side by side. The Nazi Holocaust was an act of genocide that killed 6 million Jews including most of my family. In scale and purpose the 2 cases are so different that to compare them is truly preposterous, offensive and truly anti-Semitic.
Here is an important theoretical question for the board and the administration of the Met to consider.A “towering work of composing genius” (to quote Ann Ziff) with a spectacular libretto has been created by Mr. Adams with the title “The Death of Mychal Judge”, dealing with the murder of Father Mychal Judge, the Franciscan Friar who was the NYFD chaplain and first certified death on 9/11. In that work the hijackers of the planes are presented sympathetically and present their litany of complaints against the United States, justifying the attack on the Twin Towers and the murder of innocent Americans. Would the Met ever consider presenting it? Mr. Adams says of the terrorists “for all the brutality and moral wrong that they perpetrated in killing this man, they are still human beings and there still have to be reasons why they did this act”. Would Mr. Adams says the same of the 9/11 hijackers and be able to get away with it? Would Mr. Gleb rush to justify the presentation of such a travesty? No.
I am sure there are a minority of Jews who are fine with your decision. However, this is clearly is a community whose feelings are not important to you. It’s a shame, as I suspect that Jews are a significant percentage of your audience. I suspect that this in part accounts for the poor sales and the need for you to discount tickets.
This has nothing to do with artistic freedom, simply a poor decision on the part of the Metropolitan Opera and Mr. Gelb which has alienated many of your supporters.
Leslie Green, M.D.
Dear Mr. Gelb,
JUDEA PEARL’S LETTER TO THE MET, WHICH WAS READ AT THE SEPTEMBER 22 PROTEST:
Judea Pearl is the father of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter murdered by al Qaeda in 2002. Below are the remarks he prepared for a protest at Monday night’s opening of the Metropolitan Opera, whose season is to include “The Death of Klinghoffer,” an opera widely criticized as justifying terrorism. — The Editors
Friends and fellow protesters:
In joining you today to protest the New York Metropolitan Opera production of this opera, I echo the silenced voice of my son, Daniel Pearl, and the silenced voices of other victims of terror, including James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and including thousands of men, women and children who were murdered, maimed or left heartbroken by the new menace of our generation, a menace of savagery that the Met has decided to elevate to a normative, two-sided status, worthy of artistic expression.
They tell us that the composer tried to “understand the hijackers, their motivations and their grievances.”
I submit to you that there has never been a crime in human history lacking grievance and motivation.
The 9/11 lunatics had profound motivations, and the murderers of my son, Daniel Pearl, had very compelling “grievances.”
In the past few weeks, we have seen with our own eyes that Hamas and ISIS have grievances, too — and they, too, are lining up for operatic productions with the Met.
There is nothing more enticing to a would-be terrorist than the prospect of broadcasting his “grievances” in Lincoln Center, the icon of American culture.
Yet civilized society, from the time of our caveman ancestors, has learned to protect itself by codifying right from wrong, separating the holy from the profane, distinguishing that which deserves the sound of orchestras from that which deserves our unconditional revulsion.
The Met has smeared this distinction and thus betrayed its contract with society.
I submit to you that choreographing an operatic drama around criminal pathology is not an artistic prerogative, but a blatant betrayal of public trust.
We do not stage operas for rapists and child molesters, and we do not compose symphonies for penetrating the minds of ISIS executioners.
No! Composer John Adams, some stories do not have two sides, and what was done to Leon Klinghoffer has one side only.
What we are seeing here in New York today is not an artistic expression that challenges the limits of morality, but a moral deformity that challenges the limits of the art.
This opera is not about the mentality of deranged terrorists, but about the judgment of our arts directors.
The New York Met has squandered humanity’s greatest treasure — our moral compass, our sense of right and wrong and, most sadly, our reverence for music as a noble expression of the human spirit.
We might be able someday to forgive the Met for de-criminalizing brutal minds, but we will never forgive them for poisoning our music — for turning our best violins and our iconic concert halls into megaphones for excusing evil.
[Met General Manager] Peter Gelb, let me repeat what I wrote to you on Thursday:
“May God give you the courage to admit that this was a hasty, short-sighted decision that can be reversed.”
May Danny’s last words strengthen your heart to say: “I erred.”
Klinghoffer Opera Still Anti-Semitic
It is troubling that Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman asserts that because one of many anti-Semitic passages was removed, the “Death of Klinghoffer” opera to be performed at the Met is no longer anti-Semitic (“High Drama Over ‘Klinghoffer’ Opera,” June 27).
The opera still contains outrageous libels stating that Jews cheat, exploit, pollute virgins, defame, break laws, are idolaters, and get fat from the poor. By contrast, terrorists who murdered a disabled elderly American Jew sing, “We are soldiers fighting a war, we are not criminals, we are not vandals, we are men of ideals.” A passenger even sings that the terrorist “Omar” was “extremely nice.”
The opera’s falsification of history to malign Israel’s Jews (to “justify” murdering an American Jew) is also anti-Semitism. The opera DVD begins with a little Arab girl watching Jews shoot at, beat and chase Arab women and children from their homes. Israeli Jews are falsely accused of “razing” and “laying waste” to Arab homes in 1948. In fact, contemporaneous British police reports and numerous other independent sources documented that Israeli Jews begged the Arabs to stay in their homes and live together in peace. The Arab High Committee and seven Arab nations invading the fledgling State of Israel in 1948 told the Arabs to leave, to make the job of killing Israel’s Jews easier.
The opera also leaves the false impression that Jews massacred Muslims in Sabra and Shatilla as another “justification” for murdering Klinghoffer (when it was Christians who massacred Muslims), and portrays what the Nazis did to the Jews as similar to what Jews do to the Arabs.
The Met’s own form letter openly states that “Death of Klinghoffer” tries to show the “humanity of the terrorists.” Would the Met perform an opera showing the “humanity” of the murderers of three Israeli boys earlier this month, or the killers of gays, Muslims, blacks or Hispanics?
Especially in this time of increasing anti-Semitism, the Met should cancel its still-planned eight live performances of the opera this fall.
Morton Klein President, The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)
Elizabeth Berney, Esq. Long-Island/Queens Region Executive Director, ZOA