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.

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