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September 16, 2014 2:06 pm

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey Joins Protest Against Metropolitan Opera Over Klinghoffer Play

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Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey presents the New York Observer's Ken Kurson with The Algemeiner's 'Journalist of the Year' Award. Photo: Sarah Rogers.

Former United States Attorney General Michael Mukasey added his name to a long list of speakers and activist groups who will protest the Metropolitan Opera’s decision to stage The Death of Klinghoffer from Oct. 20 to Nov. 15, The Algemeiner has learned.

The protest, which is expected to draw thousands, will take place on Sept. 22  at 4 p.m. at the Met’s annual gala opening in Lincoln Square.

Participants include a broad array of major and minor Jewish groups including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Americans For a Safe Israel, JCC Watch, Mothers Against Terrorism, Russian American Jewish Experience, One Israel Fund, Stand With Us, Strength to Strength, Westchester High School and the Zionist Organization of America, among other schools and organizations.

Among elected officials, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) is also slated to attend, according to organizers.

The Death of Klinghoffer is about the murder of disabled Jewish-American appliance manufacturer Leon Klinghoffer, who was shot and thrown overboard by Palestinian terrorists who hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. The show has offended many in the Jewish community who say it is anti-Semitic and justifies terrorism.

Klinghoffer’s daughters, Lisa and Ilsa, have written regarding the opera for The New York Times, “We are outraged at the exploitation of our parents and the cold-blooded murder of our father as the centerpiece of a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic.”

Myron Kaplan, senior research analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), wrote in a letter to Met General Manager Peter Gelb that composer John Adams “has said that in composing The Death of Klinghoffer he tried to understand the hijackers and their motivations, and to look for humanity in the terrorists, as well as in their victims.”

In a subsequent letter, published by JNS.org, Kalpan wrote, “The opera’s search for the ‘humanity’ of the murderers echoes the French saying that ‘to understand is to excuse,’ but one reason terrorism is a crime under international law is because terrorists deny the humanity of their victims.”

“This anti-Semitic opera viciously falsifies history to malign and incite hatred against Israel and the Jewish people. The opera is a disgrace and should be canceled immediately,” said Helen Friedman, Director of Americans For a Safe Israel.

In June, following a meeting with Anti-Defamation League chief Abraham Foxman, Gelb announced that a scheduled live HD global transmission of the show would be cancelled.

“I’m convinced that the opera is not anti-Semitic,” Gelb said in a statement. “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.”

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