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Vile Ideas

Vile Ideas

In “‘Klinghoffer’ As Gateway to Dialogue” (Oct. 24), Maharat Rori Picker Neiss argues that, although offensive, “The Death of Klinghoffer” opera creates the opportunity for those with opposing
viewpoints to engage in a “difficult and painful” dialogue. The process,
she believes, creates the potential for enemies to “open their minds and
hearts to one another” that we Jews should not reject.

While free dialogue in the marketplace of ideas is the cornerstone of the
First Amendment, it does not mean that we have to admit vile ideas into
prominent halls of American culture. Professor Alan Dershowitz, who participated
in the protest but abstained from speaking publicly, showed how we can reject
the Met’s odious choice of this opera and dismiss its purported
intellectual value without suppressing it.

I wish Maharat Neiss had paused to note the hypocrisy of singling out Jews
for a dialogue on the classical anti-Semitic script that any random Jew is
liable to pay for with his or her life … . Never mind that five Arab armies invaded Israel
in 1948 to crush the Jews along with the UN Partition Plan. Never mind that
Mr. Klinghoffer was an American citizen. Same old story, just like all Jews
used to be God-killers even if they could not spell Jesus or Nazareth or
lived in another hemisphere. Is this what the Met should endorse? Will
Harvard put on a conference exploring the emotions of a Christian who decides
to kill Arabs in Detroit for the crimes of ISIS? I doubt it and this is why this
work is beyond the pale of civilized men and women.

Rutgers Law School Camden, N.J.

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