Bill Donohue comments on why the Catholic League is joining the protest of “The Death of Klinghoffer,” the opera that is inspired by the tragic death of Leon Klinghoffer [click here for info]:
The Catholic League will bring a contingent to the protest of “The Death of Klinghoffer” on September 22, opening night of the Metropolitan Opera’s new season; the first performance of this opera is scheduled for October 20. We are joining the protest partly out of solidarity with our Jewish friends, many of whom are feeling the wounds of this propaganda exercise; we are also enraged that the opera falsifies history.
The facts are not in dispute. In 1985, PLO barbarians picked out an innocent elderly Jewish-American passenger on the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship, shot him in the face and then threw him and his wheelchair overboard. Benjamin Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister of Israel, was the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations at that time, and he correctly identified the guilty parties. “It [the hijacking and the murder] was carried out with the full prior knowledge and approval of the PLO chairman” [Yasser Arafat].
Predictably, Arafat lied about his role. He charged that the hijacking was aimed at “covering up the terrorist crime and open piracy of Israel, in conjunction with the United States, to destroy the PLO headquarters and assassinate PLO leaders.” Indeed, he claimed that this event was part of a “conspiracy mapped out to liquidate the PLO.”
This matters because those associated with the opera have repeatedly said that they chose to be “neutral,” giving “voice to all” by not “taking sides” in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. But not all sides have an equal claim on the truth. Moreover, when it comes to the Klinghoffer episode, the only morally legitimate side to take is the Jewish side. Consider what a terrorist in the opera, Rambo, sings to Klinghoffer: “You are always complaining of your suffering but whenever poor people are gathered they can find Jews getting fat. America is one big Jew.” This isn’t being neutral—it’s being obscene. I urge Catholics to be at the rally on Monday.