Larry DomnitchLarry Domnitch is an educator and the author of "The Cantonists: The Jewish Children´s Army of the Tsar", released by Devora Publishing. He resides in Efrat.
American Jews have a watershed chance to stand up against anti-Israel invective in which Palestinian terror is equated with the sufferings of its victims. The upcoming re-showing of the Opera ‘The Death of Leon Klinghoffer’ about a disabled American Jew, murdered and thrown off the S.S. Achille Lauro in 1986, by Palestinian terrorists, is an extreme example of such confused im-moral equivalence in which Israel bashing runs amok.
It is the narrative of Arab terrorists as victims rather than the reality of their being the violent aggressors who fight by any means against the existence of a Zionist state on any borders.
The Death of Klinghoffer contains anti-Semitic vitriol, promoting stereotypes. In one such line, “You Jews are always complaining of your own suffering, but you get fat off the poor, cheat the simple, exploit the virgin, pollute where you’ve been exploited - America is one big Jew.”
As the opera opens soon expecting to fill the Met with throngs of 'culture' lovers, now is the time to stand up and decry such folly.
Almost ten years ago, on January 16, 2004, one individual took a stand. Israeli Ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, attended a Stockholm art show as part of an international conference on preventing genocide. At the event, there was a large exhibit venerating a Palestinian terrorist who had murdered 21 Israelis at Haifa’s Maxim restaurant three months earlier. It was called, “Snow White and the Madness of Truth,” displaying a tiny sailboat floating on a rectangular basin of red water. On the boat was a photo of the female bomber Hanadi Jaradat, with a smile on her face.
Mazel reacted most undiplomatically. As an act of protest, he pulled the plugs out from three spotlights and knocked over one light fixture, which he had turned off. He was then asked to leave.
The ambassador explained that “The exhibit was the culmination of dozens of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish events in Sweden. When you don’t protest, it gets worse and worse. It had to be stopped somehow, even by deviating from the behavior of the buttoned-down diplomat.”
The Israeli government backed Mazel. A statement read, “A formal protest would merely have been ‘duly registered,’ filtered and lost in the back channels of European diplomacy. So he chose to scream. But screaming was the only option Europe now gives Israel.”
Operas! exhibits! It’s all art, some argue.
But it is hateful and biased.
Should art arouse hatred?
Klinghoffer’s daughters Elsa and Lisa, told the New York Times after viewing opera’s premier, “We are outraged at the exploitation of our parents and the cold blooded murder of our father as a centerpiece of a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic”
They added, “While we understand creative license, when it so clearly favors one point of view it is biased. Moreover, the juxtaposition of the plight of the Palestinian people with the coldblooded murder of an innocent disabled American Jew is both historically naïve and appalling.”
This type of production should disgust decent people.