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October 19, 2014 7:22 pm

Met Creates Special Website to Defend Klinghoffer #TerrorOpera

avatar by Danielle Avel

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The Metropolitan Opera in New York City has doubled-down on its decision to produce the anti-Semitic The Death of Klinghoffer by setting up a Klinghoffer mini-website to defend and promote the controversial show.

The website responds to the massive backlash against the opera. Its headline reads “See it. Then decide.” The page features a preview of the production, a SIRIUS-XM interview with Director Tom Morris, a link to the text of the previously hard-to-find libretto, along with the ability to listen to musical selections. Beginning October 21 (one day after the opera’s opening), the audience can share comments there about the production.

Composer John Adams, in an interview featured on the special page, alludes to finding the “humanity” in both the Palestinian terrorists and their American Jewish victim: “for all of the brutality and the moral wrong that they perpetrated in killing this man, they’re still human beings and there still has to be reasons why they did this act.” Not only is this moral equivalence repugnant but, in fact, Klinghoffer offers an extended apology for the violence via regurgitation of Palestinian propaganda themes.

None of the other 25 remaining operas of the 2014-15 season received the honor of its own webpage. In other words, the Met has not just stood by its decision to stage an opera that glorifies terrorism but compounded this decision by exalting Klinghoffer above all other productions.

Indeed, The Death of Klinghoffer deserves a special web presence, but in the far less grand form of a Twitter hashtag – I propose #TerrorOpera.

Danielle Avel is a photojournalist and investigative researcher. She can be reached through her website, on Twitter @DanielleAvel and on Facebook.

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  • E benAbuya

    And so the curtain rises on the Met’s snuff-porn lollopalooza; complete with half-naked leaping tenors(?)
    For those unfamiliar with Adams’ “The Murder of Klinghoffer”; it goes like this: The Jews ate my father’s homework which is why I can shoot a random wheelchair bound old Jewish man and dump him and his chair off the deck of a cruise ship.
    Thank God for SuperTitles. According to one NYTimes reviewer; the libretto is so unmusically set that without the SuperTitles it would be incomprehensible. The set looks like it’s ready to tour; and the use of projections is so ultra mega high tech.

  • Simon

    Would the Met do an opera on Palestinian Sirhan killing Robert Kennedy?

    • Jerk

      Of course they would. Wonder why Met has been waiting so long to do the Presidential assassination trilogy’?

  • Lynne T

    Christopher Hitchens summed it up pretty neatly why terrorists resort to acts of terror — essentially not out of true desperation, but because they seek an end that is so unreasonable that they can’t get what they want through political negotiations.

  • barbarafromnyc

    This Roman Catholic is against the anti Semitic trash you call an opera. The Met would not be doing this if they weren’t paid to do it. That they accepted the money says more than they want to have said about the management’s decision to do this.

    To think this was one of Pavarotti’s favorite places to perform.

    One can only hope no one buys tickets!

    Shame on you Gelb!

  • Yale

    Klinghoffer’s daughters should bring suit against the Met and the individuals responsible for presenting this travesty on grounds of intentional infliction of emotional distress and seeking damages of a billion dollars or more, plus punitive damages.

    I doubt the Met could risk losing such a case, and that should force them to close it down.

  • Stuart Hersh

    After having studied their website and their video, I am convinced that they deliberately avoided the underlying issue: Klinghoffer was not Israeli, nor were any of the passengers. He was murdered for being Jewish. He could have been held as a hostage. The hijacking and the murder constituted blatant violations of international law, including crimes committed on the high seas, and crimes against humanity.
    Yes, the terrorists could be considered as human as Adolf Hitler and his ilk, justification for an intended crime is necessary to garner support for its perpetration. From a psychological viewpoint, the murder of Klinghoffer, and throwing his body overboard in front of his wife, is the act of a psychopath.

    • Sonia Willats

      Any society that can CREATE & JUSTIFY such an “entertainment” and use it as a means of humanising and justifying the wicked killing of innocent life IS A TOTALLY SICK SOCIETY – PERIOD!! That there are a minority of sick people in any society is par for the course. That this can be allowed to prevail by the society at large is plain sick. A society like this deserve to implode from within.

  • Julian Clovelley

    This opera will stand or fall on its musical merits alone. Whatever it’s message is read as being, it seems to be of far less intensity than the arguments over it.

    All opera ends up being slightly silly, at best. It is the music that matters. There couldn’t be a dafter libretto than Wagner’s Ring Cycle for example – what a dreadful load of codswallop.

    It is the music that counts – the question of whether it is a work of genius or mediocre. This opera is hardly a recent one – It was launched in 1991. It will probably disappear for quite a while again.

    On musical terms I think the Met is right to produce it. But I doubt if I’d bother to go to see it myself, and I don’t really think opera inspires bad behaviour

    Even Wagner – I think Hitler would have been just as evil on a diet of Monteverdi, or Purcell, or even Rogers and Hammerstein.

  • Thank you to the author of this article for discussing the Met’s website and video. Readers of this article may also be interested in the following section of a ZOA (Zionist Organization of America) press release on Sept. 19th which discussed the Met’s video, as follows:

    The opera’s pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, anti-American attitude is reflected in a short video interview of “Klinghoffer” composer John Adams, which is now posted on the Met Opera’s website. In the Met’s video, the composer again blames the innocent victims of terrorism.

    In his Met website video interview, Adams attempts to justify terrorism as follows: “Opera is the art form that goes to the max; it is the art form that is the most emotional; the one that goes the furthest. In a sense terrorism is the same thing, terrorism is the act that goes to the max, it [terrorism] is the act of desperation.”

    “Klinghoffer” composer Adams also blames the victims and attempts to justify terror and justify “humanizing” terrorists again, later in his website interview. Adams states that the terrorists “are still human beings and there have to be reasons why they did this act.”

    ZOA President Morton Klein stated:

    “Terrorism is not “an act of desperation.” There are no justifiable “reasons” why Palestinian Arabs murdered an innocent disabled American Jew and murdered and wounded thousands of innocent Israeli civilians, or why Islamists murdered thousands of innocent New Yorkers on 9-11, or why an Islamist murdered 13 American soldiers at Ford Hood. An opera that attempts to justify terror should not be staged by one of New York’s premier cultural institutions.

    It is the height of irresponsibility that the Met is showing an opera that justifies terrorism and humanizes terrorists in this time of the terrorist group ISIS (the Islamic State) and other terrorist groups publicly threaten attacks against America. New York is the city that suffered the largest terrorist attack in history. There are constant terrorist attacks planned against New York’s citizens.”

    The Met’s website video also states: “We’ve used projected text to make sure that the basic narrative and what’s going on for the characters is really clear for an audience.” This likely means that, just in case the audience does not “understand” the terrorists’ alleged “justifications” for murdering Leon Klinghoffer, the opera staging will hit the audience over the head to make sure that its “blame the Jews” propaganda is reinforced. The opera libretto itself also engages in such techniques. For instance, anti-Israel lines, such as the false claim that “Israel laid all to waste” are repeated four times. Previous ZOA press releases have detailed numerous other pro-terror, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel falsehoods in “Klinghoffer.”

    The Met’s website video also twists a phrase to avoid stating that Leon Klinghoffer was executed in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Instead, the website merely states: “One of the passengers, Leon Klinghoffer, died; He was killed within the hijacking.” as if Leon Klinghoffer’s death was mere happenstance.

    Read more:

  • We (the STOP Terrorist Opera Coalition) have a website too. It’s called Our website includes: Protest Information; A “Letters to the Met” section which includes copies of letters from people all over the world who have been writing to the Met asking the Met to cancel this anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist, anti-American, anti-Israel production; information as to how to write to the Met and lists of the Met’s donors on our “Tell the Met” page; articles about this atrocity and more. Please contact me at if you have a letter to the Met or anything else that you’d like to post on our website.

  • miriam esris

    I think it’s an absolute horror that the Met is doing this. There are so many more appropriate operas that they could produce. Why hurt one segment of the population with such an anti-Semitic theme. It’s a disgrace that the famous Met has so lowered itself. I hope that all Jews will withdraw from any backing of further productions.

    • howiej

      Miriam- It is not just one segment of the population that is being hurt. It is all people who can understand that the murder of an innocent to emphasize the “righteousness” of one’s ideology is immoral. It is “nice” that Adams can find the humanity in the terrorists. Will the composer now find the “humanity” in the terrorists who bombed the Seder in Netanya? Looking forward to his next work, “Death at the Seder.”

    • Elana

      It is NOT just one segment of the population…it is all around us and this one segment is just their beginning. Wise up and understand that terrorists are on all our shores. They are working first on Jews…who’s next? Well, if we LET them get anywhere, ANYONE AND EVERYONE WILL BE NEXT. Clue in. The MET ought to be ASHAMED. If all their Jewish supporters backed away, they’d probably go bankrupt…except for stupidly taking money from terrorists b/c now the.terrorists can use the Met as a mouthpiece. John Adams…gross and a sad excuse for snuff – this is NOT artwork. It is DISGRACEFUL TRASH. And an EMBARRASSMENT AT BEST.

  • Dita Gould

    If they have no audience they will soon close.
    Make sure they don’t succeed

  • David

    The opera is not balanced. There are fourteen arias sung by the murderers as opposed to four by the Klinghoffers. I will merely add that one of America’s leading authorities on the First Amendment, Floyd Abrams, Esq. wrote this in an op-ed in this past Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. With his permission to distribute the statement at the protest, I am taking the liberty of copying it here:

    Klinghoffer and the ‘Two Sides’ of Terrorism
    Would the Metropolitan Opera offer a work called ‘The Death of Martin Luther King Jr.’ with racist views in support of the assassination?
    Floyd Abrams
    Oct. 15, 2014 7:05 p.m. ET
    The Metropolitan Opera in New York on Monday will present John Adams ‘s opera “The Death of Klinghoffer. “ The organization’s decision to mount the production has already spurred protests, with more to come.
    A too-brief summary: In 1985 Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old disabled man, and his wife, Marilyn, were passengers on an Italian cruise ship, the Achille Lauro. The ship was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists, who shot Klinghoffer in the head and threw him overboard in his wheelchair.
    John Adams is a serious artist, recognized as a leading creator of modern operas. “The Death of Klinghoffer,” first produced in 1991, contains a running debate between the killers—who voice a number of undisguisedly anti-Semitic slurs in the course of justifying their conduct—and their victim. Protesters are demanding that the opera be canceled; defenders couch their position, as has the New York Times , in terms of artistic freedom or—as one letter-writer to the Times put it—of helping us “understand the anger, frustration and grievances of other people.”

    So, in Joan Rivers ‘s much repeated phrase, can we talk? Some things are easy. Mr. Adams’s opera is protected by the First Amendment and so is the Metropolitan Opera in its decision to offer it. It would be a gross and obvious constitutional violation if government sought to bar the opera from being publicly produced or imposed any punishment for doing so.
    Beyond that, canceling any public artistic performance because it expresses unpopular or even outrageous views is dangerous. I represented the Brooklyn Museum when then-New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1999 sought to shut it down because he viewed some of its art—I use his language now—as “sick,” “disgusting” and sacrilegious. I argued then, successfully, that the mayor’s conduct violated the First Amendment.
    But the controversy over the Adams opera cannot be dealt with by simple reference to the First Amendment or artistic freedom. Those who direct the Metropolitan Opera made a choice when they decided to offer Mr. Adams’s opera, and it is altogether fitting that they be publicly judged by that choice.
    Suppose the opera had been about a different murder and the Met offered an intense, two-sided operatic discussion of the desirability of the murder of, say, President Kennedy in a work called “The Death of JFK. “ Or a production about the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in which singers on the “side” of that assassination offer racist views in support of the murder. Or how about one on the death of one of the thousands of victims of the 9/11 attack that contained an extended operatic debate between her killers and herself about whether her death was justified.
    Surely we recoil at all of these. They all would be protected by the First Amendment. The First Amendment is basically—and gloriously—content-neutral. It protects not only enduring works of art but also the dregs of human imagination, ranging from films of animals being tortured and killed to the publication of “Mein Kampf.” But it is inconceivable that the Metropolitan Opera would have chosen to offer the public any of the operas I have just hypothesized.
    Why then offer one that equates—sympathetically, no less—the murderers of Leon Klinghoffer with their victim? “Grievances” there may be on both sides in the Middle East conflict, but there was no moral justification for the murder of Klinghoffer. John Adams has defended his focus on the motivation of the killers by saying that it helps to explain “what in the mythology that they grew up with, forced them or dared them to take this action.”
    But the killers were not “forced” to murder Klinghoffer. Nor were they dared to do so. They chose to commit their crime. So did Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray and Osama bin Laden. We can expect no arias to be sung in their defense at the Metropolitan Opera, and there is no justification for any to be sung for the Klinghoffer killers.
    Suppose the Oxford Union proposed a debate on the topic of Mr. Adams’s opera and it was phrased this way—”Resolved that the killing of Leon Klinghoffer was justified.” Suppose you were asked to take the negative side of that debate and to argue that he should not have been murdered. Would you do so? I hope not. I hope you would say that the subject is not one on which any rational, let alone morally justifiable, debate is possible. One can argue passionately about the Middle East, Israel or Palestinians, but nothing makes the Klinghoffer murder morally tolerable.
    The great scholar Alexander Bickel recalled in “The Morality of Consent” (1975) that he had heard that in the tumultuous late 1960s a crowd had gathered outside an ROTC building at a great university, where members of the faculty joined students discussing “the question whether or not to set fire to the building.” The faculty members, Bickel surmised, took the negative, the matter was ultimately voted on, and the affirmative side narrowly won. Bickel’s conclusion: The “negative taken by the faculty was only one side of a debate which the faculty rendered legitimate by engaging in it. Where nothing is unspeakable, nothing is undoable.”
    That’s where I come out on the Met’s decision to offer this opera. What Prof. Bickel wrote applies here: Where nothing is unspeakable, nothing is undoable.Leon Klinghoffer’s murder was an unspeakable act. Period. His demise is not a proper subject of debate, only of mourning. And of how best to prevent future murderous attacks.

    Mr. Abrams is a senior partner in the law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP. This op-ed is adapted from a lecture to be given on Thursday night at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

    • Sonia Willats

      An excellent response.

  • If the opera was about Muslims there might be violence in the streets. No fear here, it’s about Jew’s. The protest certainly will not be violent although donations to the Met might decline. It seems to me this is one performance that should not be produced. There is enough anti-Semitic rhetoric without adding more via a “performance.”

    (if printed please only use my first name)

  • Zofja Fajnsztejn

    Left out date. 10/20/2014

  • Zofja Fajnsztejn

    There will be a boycott of this opera at the Met at 4PM. All who feel strongly about this issue are encouraged to attend

  • NY mom

    How out of touch with reality do the producers at the Met have to be before they realize what a travesty of terrorist brutality they have honored.
    How incredibly naively arrogantly low do these PC idiots have to stoop before they realize what hypocrites they are.
    Finally, how long do all of you think it will be before the terrorist mentality descends on the Met, shuts them down, beheads their family and friends for being artists, homosexuals, Infidels, atheists, and or Jews?
    Art is supposed to be about celebrating life, the human experience, open communication…everything that the glorified terrorists of this show are murderously against.
    Shame on you, NY Metropolitan Opera, shame on you.

  • Lois Freeman

    Well, given the price of tickets, I imagine that they are hoping more people will come to the opera as a result of the controversy. I will not be going.

  • Paul Cerar

    Would these “moral equivalence” terrorist-sympathizers feel the same way about terrorists if their own relative were murdered?

    Paul Cerar
    Toronto, Canada

  • Barry Newman

    I just emailed this to the MET. I still am in disbelief that this is going on. Produced by Jews, no less.:

    “It has been a long time since I have resided in New York. However perhaps I should be glad I have left as it seems that you folks still there have lost your moral compass. Between YOU and the NY Times, the disgusting approach you have taken to the lives of Jews is an abhorrence. If you wished to look at the human motivation behind the Israeli Palestinian conflict (really the world vs Israel and the Jews conflict) one should have chosen an episode that did not include not only a terrorist act, but the murder of an totally innocent man, not to mention one that had already paid a price for his Jewishness. Despite what your stupid website contends, this is absolutely unacceptable. Why not just bring back “Hitler in Springtime”? Disgusting. You should be ashamed. ASHAMED. Don’t even bother to respond to this, there is nothing that you can say, nothing.”

  • steven L

    The Zionist world failed in his vigilance and see what happens! The antisemites do not miss ONE opportunity.

  • Bravo Dov! Boycott! Boycott! Boycott! The only way to hurt the Met is through empty sets and withdrawal of financial support. This moral relevance is what is immoral. Does Adams not understand that this is not about reason, as he claims, but about understanding evil, something he obviously does not.

  • Rudy Guiliani turned down $10 million dollars from a wealthy Arab rather than say that Israel was responsible for 9/11. How much is the Met getting for this whitewash?

    Peter Gelb and the entire Met Board are a total disgrace for allowing this obscene piece of trash to be staged.

    Their is no “humanity” in the killers of an unarmed disabled wheelchair bound man. There is only pure hatred and evil. That evil is now shared by everyone associated with this disgraceful garbage.

  • sam harris

    Whats next from the Met?”Mein Kamph” the opera?

  • drbob1

    If MET shows this propagandized, ahistorical show on HD, I will gladly organize picketing in Alberta. This is a recent tragic murder of a helpless person, there is no debate nor conflicting evidence. The ideological goal may seem attractive, but the means for reaching it is what we call “lying” when our kids do it. I hope hundreds picket at scores of theatres across the world. This is a scurrilous use of art to lie about hacts, to change history.

  • nelson marans

    I was pleased to note that many of the seats for this travesty were left unsold. However the only way to convince the hierarchy of the Met that they have made a mistake in putting on this opera is a wholesale withdrawal of financial support by current donors with funding already insufficient for a balanced budget.

  • The Death of Klinghoffer = The Death of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City

    I think it would make an interesting opera to explore how the Met takes artistic license and turns into license to glorify terrorism and by doing so destroys itself as the self-perceived under-privileged actors, singers and musicians adapt the “beauty” of terror and destroy their host i.e. the Met.

  • Yankel Gorokhofskij

    A disgrace. Because I am a Jew, I will NEVER go to the Met. The house will probably be packed with liberals, who don’t know right from wrong. Any Jew who gives this show or place or lip service is nuts!

  • The Nazis had leni Riefenstahl…the Muslims who revere the sociopath Muhammad who personally decapitated 900 unarmed Jews have John Adams…

  • Dov

    If the Met will continue to function in Brooklyn, all I can say is shame on us as Jews to allowing them to continue. The Met should be closed down by withdrawing all donations till they admit their mistake.

    • steven L

      Muslim Arabs and antisemitic Jews will keep the Met afloat.

    • Fran Goldman

      I agree that all contributions to the Met, or any other institution that glorifies antisemitism should not be supported by the Jews or any other people who support Israel and abhor anti semitism.


      The Metropolitan opera is an tax-exempt organization.

      Therefore, their defense of their” killing of Klinghoffer” is being paid for by our taxes.

      Demand to know exactly who are the anonymous donors are that are funding this atrocity.

      Could it be George Soros ? Could it be Qatar?