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In Defense Of The Met

In Defense Of The Met

Regarding “Rhetoric Rising As ‘Klinghoffer’ Opera Nears” (Oct. 17), in these frightening days with blatant anti-Semitism on the rise throughout
the world, it is more important now than ever for the the
organized Jewish community to well-preserve and well-spend its moral capital.
Moral capital consists, in large measure, of fairness and credibility.
The virulent attack on John Adams’ “Death of Klinghoffer” opera squanders that credibility. The
opera gives voice to Palestinians’ having grievances but the voice given
to the terrorist “Rambo,” his portrayal before the audience as he spouts his
vitriol, is (as Stewart Ain’s article reflects) that of a transparently
murderous Jew-hating bigot.

Klinghoffer, on the other hand, is portrayed as an innocent, peaceful, clearly vulnerable yet very courageous and proud man who expresses his deep
anger at terrorists for their murder, but does not express any anti-Arab
vitriol or bigotry. He hates terrorists, not a nation, a religion or a
people. The contrast is clear. The opera does not advocate a viewpoint of
moral equivalence. Rather, it demonstrates the absence of moral equality. To give
the terrorist his voice does not endorse that voice; it exposes the
despite-grievance emptiness of his justification for murder.

The opera does not defame the Jewish people. But much of the Jewish
establishment is unfairly defaming a preeminent contemporary composer whose
name will always be tarnished by an unfair charge that he, by reason of this
approximately 20-year- old opera, is an anti-Semite. I am an active participant
and sometimes leader in Jewish communal life and am ashamed of the pain and
other damage being inflicted by my community without justification.


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