Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Is There Life in "The Death of Klinghoffer"

 “Here was a wanton murder of a helpless human being. Trying to portray both sides and show they’re not monsters, but human beings who did foul, awful things to advance their cause, shows that it was a horrific event. If by producing this those questions are raised again, is that a bad thing? Discussions need to be had.”

The above quote by Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor,  as cited in the recent issue of the Jewish Daily Forward, was his comment on whether the opera "The Death of Klinghoffer" is, in fact, anti-Semitic.  I guess he doesn't believe it is.  The opera has come under major criticism for its supposed anti-Semitic theme and this criticism has resulted in the cancellation of the Metropolitan Opera's world-wide HD transmissions of the live presentation of the work, scheduled for this November.

I have not seen it, nor do I plan to see it (I am not an opera-person) and have no idea whether the theme is anti-Semitic or not.  If the opera portrays all Jews, by virtue of their Jewishness, as a group that should be despised and perhaps even murdered, this is anti-Semitism.  If the opera justifies and praises the killing of Klinghoffer because he was Jewish - that is a clear form of anti-Semitism.   On the other hand, if it portrays the horrors of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the monstrous results that it may incur, is this really a form of anti-Semitism?

Anti-Semitic, or not, the right to stage it should not be in question.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Is It a Disease or Is It a "Condition"

An article by Dr. Aaron E. Carroll in today's NY Times (The Trouble With Labeling a Health Problem a Disease, June 2) contains important information regarding the over-treatment of "conditions" that are often just variations of a normal physiology, but that have often been termed "diseases," and how the mere labeling of an individual with a "disease" often causes unnecessary life-style consequences.  What follows is the final conclusion, which I believe bears repeating:

"Allowing the medicalization of normal variations in physiology to be transformed into 'treatable conditions' is leading to unintended consequences.  We're spending billions of dollars on treatments that might not, or don't work.  We're making people worry when they don't have to.  And we may be causing actual health problems in the process.  Our job as doctors is to make sick patients healthy not to make healthy patients sick."