The protest lasted for hours and more than two dozen speakers shared their personal and organizational objections to the “Death” opera. As Knesset member Nissim Zeev pointed out when it was his turn to speak, “Met,” as in the Metropolitan Opera, means “died” in Hebrew. Was that a prediction or a description of the Met?
Helen Freedman, longtime Zionist advocate and executive director of Americans for a Safe Israel, also spoke to the huge crowd of protesters. She asked, “who is funding this opera?” There is an anonymous funder of the Klinghoffer opera.
The administration of West Chester Hebrew High School, Rambam and Yeshiva Hebrew High School were immediately supportive of having students come to join in the protest. Three speakers from WCHHS and YHHS spoke out eloquently against staging the opera at the Metropolitan Opera.
Dr. Paul Brody of the Coalition to Stop the Terrorist Opera, read a message blasting the opera from Judea Pearl, father of slain Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl HY’D.
More than 400 Rambam and Shalhevet students joined over a thousand demonstrators across from the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, and on the plaza, on September 22nd, to vigorously protest the production of the pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer.”
Beth Gilinsky, executive director of the National Conference for Jewish Affairs, spoke clearly and forcefully. Her speech crystalized much of what many of the other speakers and sponsors felt. An excerpt from Gilinsky’s talk follows:
I’d like to tell you a true story. Some years ago, I was invited to a party in Manhattan. I was one of only a couple of Americans there, and the rest of the guests were Arab ambassadors and consular officials.
After dinner, a guest decided to tell a joke: “What does P.L.O. stand for?”
The room went quiet. Someone said, “I don’t know, what does P.L.O. stand for?”
The jokester stood up and said, “P.L.O.! Push Leon OVER!”
Loud, cruel laughter filled the room. At first I didn’t understand, and the man next to me, between fits of laughter, explained, “Leon! Leon Klinghoffer, of course! As the laughter continued, I got up and left.
Ladies and Gentlemen: this kind of callous disregard for human suffering and contempt for innocent victims of terrorist violence has sadly mushroomed to the point where, here we are, standing here at Lincoln Center, a place that once represented everything fine and beautiful and uplifting, and now is sullied by having sold its soul in celebration of terrorism.
I ask the following of the Metropolitan Opera Board and management, and of those who are considering attending this artistic abomination called “The Death of Klinghoffer.”
Have you no shame?
Have you no feeling for the Klinghoffer family?
Have you no feeling for the victims of terror in Israel? And the victims of terror across the globe? How about those right here in New York?
Have you no feeling for the Christians now being massacred in small villages in the Middle East?
No feeling for the women and young girls who are being raped and mutilated and beaten, burned, disfigured and sold as slaves? No feeling for the children witnessing public beheadings?
What would it take to make you give up this ill-conceived opera and understand that what you are doing is not art, it is DANGEROUS! What would it take for you to open your eyes an see — a public beheading by ISIS for Metropolitan Opera-goers to witness as they sip their champagne on the balcony?
The gunman who shot Leon Klinghoffer to death confessed that they chose a disabled, paralyzed senior citizen “so that everyone would know that we did not have any pity for anyone.”
And yet, composer John Adams has said that he wants the audience to understand the “humanity” of the terrorists.
The thousands of protesters were informed that if the Metropolitan decides to continue with its ill-advised plan to stage the “Death” Opera, there will be another protest on Oct. 20th, starting at 6:30 p.m., again in front of Lincoln Center Plaza, where the Metropolitan Opera is located. For this opera there will be protesters in 100 wheelchairs.