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Brent Bozell
L. Brent Bozell
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The Terrorist-Sympathizing Opera


The Metropolitan Opera in New York City is hardly a site for hundreds of angry protesters. But they have erupted over their current selection, an opera called "The Death of Klinghoffer." Leon Klinghoffer was the 69-year-old paralyzed New Yorker who in 1985 was aboard the hijacked cruise ship Achille Lauro, then executed by Islamic terrorists because he was a Jew. The terrorists forced the ship's barber and a waiter to throw his body and his wheelchair overboard off the coast of Egypt.

Klinghoffer's daughters, Lisa and Ilsa, have objected to this opera for decades. In the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, they recently proclaimed, "Terrorism is irrational. It should never be explained away or justified. Nor should the death of innocent civilians be misunderstood as an acceptable means for drawing attention to perceived political grievances. Unfortunately, 'The Death of Klinghoffer' does all of this and sullies the memory of our father in the process."

The Anti-Defamation League tried a moderate approach, applauding the Met's decision to cancel plans for a global simulcast. While agreeing the opera itself wasn't anti-Semitic, it could "foment anti-Semitism globally or legitimize terrorism." That should be enough to cancel the operation, shouldn't it?

So why would the most prestigious opera company in America promote this terrorist-sympathizing production? As always is the case in instances such as this, the left pleads artistic license. In The New York Times, drama critic Anthony Tommasini proclaimed: "Of all the arts, opera can use the subliminal power of music to explore motivations, including seething hatreds. This opera tries to explore what drove these Palestinians to take that ship and murder its most vulnerable passenger."

Tommasini declared further, "To try to understand why someone does something or to appreciate the fact that evildoers do not see themselves as evildoers is not the same as glorification or promotion of that evil." He called it "a searching, spiritual and humane work."

After this artistic monstrosity, could a searching, spiritual, and humane exploration of the "seething hatreds" of Adolf Hitler be not too far behind?

No, because when it comes to the performing arts in America's cultural capital, there's a remarkable bias and selectivity among the tastemakers.

Surely there were people who despised Kennedy with every fiber in their beings in 1962 but no one's going to finance an opera sympathetically exploring the motivations of Lee Harvey Oswald. Let's face it: There were those who wanted Martin Luther King dead. Would anyone ever countenance a performance at the Met — or anywhere else — that might be described as a "searching, spiritual and humane work" studying the motives of James Earl Ray? So why do we need a tasteless work of "art" that allows a Palestinian terrorist project the murder of an innocent American Jew as anything other than what it is — evil?

Don't get us wrong. It's not that the drama community feels any sort of affinity with religions or the religious. While the Met sympathizes with Islamic terrorists, Broadway is making a mint mocking Mormon missionaries in "The Book of Mormon." The newspapers have lauded stage productions like Colm Toibin's "The Testament of Mary," which derided the apostles of Jesus Christ as a group of mouth-breathing buffoons, or worse. That production lasted all of two weeks on stage last year, but was nominated for three Tony Awards. Mary Gordon in The New York Times applauded how these evangelists "are portrayed as menacing intruders, with the lurking shadowy presence of Stalin's secret police."

Why provide sympathy to Islamists? It is not because these "artists" are sympathetic to the message of Islamofascism. It is because they're cowards. It's quite obvious that the theatre artists of New York have never dared to paint Muhammad and his contemporaries into a "secret police" corner of Mecca.

In a video from the Metropolitan Opera, the composer John Adams promoted his work by saying "Opera is the art form that goes to the max. It's the art form that is the most emotional, the one that goes the furthest, and in a sense terrorism is the same thing." Apparently, extremism and murder can be casually compared to opera, and extremism in the defense of opera is no vice.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog To find out more about Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



1 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;...I would like to agree with Haaretz. But they are wrong. Terrorism is entirely rational. It is not on grounds of rationality that terrorism is found reprehensible, but upon moral grounds they cannot throw enough dirt on it. Terrorism is effective, as effective as any other war. It reduces the number having issue with you physically and spiritually, and it reaps vengeance so essential to honor, and so is most moral.
Only in the human sense, considering humanity as ones nationality does any sort of terrorism become obnoxious. To date there is no human community and in the framework of their identities, their nations, and what people do to others outside -in the name of justice, vengeance, and peace, is moral. The witness of two peoples where one says: Be human; and the other says: You be human first, is amazing; and yet, I understand it rationally, in the context of sociology, anthropology, and history.
People do not make peace to have peace, but to avoid war. Inside the truce of peace, people constantly make war. If they were taking before; they will take after. Invariably, the one weaker will resort to violence against every sort of target; and the stronger will object to this as terrorism, and respond with more terrible terrorism yet. Total War was not the cause of The American Civil War; but was one of the results. War is Terror sayeth the Lord; Chew on each other, and eat as much as you can afford.
Don't you have to be dead inside to kill? People are walking around dead inside, and some time cultures too, though not so quickly; and they are casting about for some one to put them in their graves. The object of war is not to kill, but to die. Battle fields are where soldiers go to die. I know Klinghoffer's taunt by heart: If I have to live in this wheel chair, kill me, and see if I care.
If you are here for vengeance, join the crowd, yours can kill mine, and mine can kill yours till the end of time. This is a contract written in blood. People can buy peace with justice, and what fool would? Even Justice is too extreme. The very word: Justice, -almost alone defines terror.
Wouldn't you rather have life? If under the current terms; NO. Give me death as the price of liberty. Give me death as the price of my honor. Give me death as the price of my culture and my kind and our lives and livelihood. Why do the Klinghoffers of this world still breathe while babies lie dying in their mother's arms. For this vision will I die, to see death in haunted eyes. It is not to hold the guilty culpable, but it is too get the vision of death from before their dying eyes.
How many loved ones must we bury before wishing self dead and buried. Do we forget the loved one when they're gone? If justice means vengeance, do we forget? If Justice means honor, and honor means life; do we forget? What is the point of a one sided peace with a monster? As long as there are human sacrifices to throw at the beast, why consider appeasement? Peace is not worth the paper it is printed on, and the ink stinks.
How will so few Jews kill so many Muslims intent upon their own deaths? These are proletarians, the offspring of hatred begging God for many sons. These are a living invocation to death. Kill me now while I am alive enough to appreciate it. Does anyone think Mr. Klinghoffer appreciated his death? An old man can snarl at death. See how oft I've outrun you old dog? Now, Let's go rot.
Everything of the horrors of war is lost on the young except the terrible mark it leaves on the old. To die is no great burden like the carrying of scars, like hate, and guilt. None of us can see what might have been. We see what was, and is, and in making something of them, we make horror.
No sir; Unreasonable-ness is a charge always of the unreasonable, and in this issue what has reason to do with it? Does anyone believe people act out of reason? Reason is a means to an irrational goal. It is irrational to believe you will live even for an instant with death all around you, and yet people reason to make that goal fact. These peoples do not fight to live, but fight to die. If either of them led one flake less of a miserable life they would want to hang on to it.
When one person is used to a life without limits, without borders, and another has forever shouldered itself through resistence for its existence; there is bound to be in conflict. Palestine is like Chinatown. They have their own rules which everyone fully understands, and there is a logic to them which most people can understand. They have their own morality. Israel has their morality; but it is not what it was when they scrubbed the Promised Land free of interlopers. The reason we can have sympathy with them is that they are so much like us; like the English, or the Germans. We play by their rules too, so we understand. The issue is not one of reason, for in their milieu everyone is reasonable. The question is one of the passion one feels for death. Is she a rag, a husk, a tired sack of skin; or is she a Gazelle-Eyed Houri?
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:34 AM
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