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.