Suing the Met

There is an insidious evil message in "The Death of Klinghoffer" that is over and above the anti-Semitic slurs and the moral relativism it contains.

Mark Langfan

OpEds Mark Langfan
Mark Langfan
Mark Langfan

The real iniquity in the Metropolitan Opera's showing of “The Death of Klinghoffer" is not that it calls Jews "fat", or that it gives a twisted recounting of the “Palestinian narrative” when the reality is that of five well-armed Arab armies attacking an outnumbered newborn Jewish State, and being defeated in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence.

The evil in the Klinghoffer opera is that it conflates the legitimate recounting of the “other side's narrative" - this legitimacy, of course, unconnected to veracity - in the wake of the Arab 1948 defeat with the illegitimate Arab terrorist murder of an American Jew in 1981. 

The Met, thereby, has sanctioned the murder of all American Jews wherever they are and basically of all Jews anywhere in the world by Arab terrorists.

By the Opera’s central positing that “there are two sides to the Arab-Israeli conflict” as the very defining and understandable predicate to the evil 1981 terrorist murder, the opera, the Metropolitan Opera House and the Gordon Getty Family (who funded the opera) have provided explicit rationale in the year 2014 to the 1981 murder of an unarmed American civilian Jew on a cruise ship simply because the Arab-Israeli conflict existed in 1948, and that conflict continues to exist up to 2014. 

And because of the Met’s active re-publishing of this“rationale,” American Jews should file a class-action civil-rights lawsuit against it for legitimizing the terrorist murder of American Jews in the year 2014.

Let us separate the legally-actionable wheat from the merely anti-Semitic chaff. 

Can today's Jews attack the Elizabethan Era’s 1598 publication of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" because the play includes gross and false stereotypical libels about Jewish people?  No. Can Jews legitimately urge Amazon to stop selling the Victorian Era’s 1838 publication of Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” because Charles Dickens cast the Jew, Fagin, in an evil stereotyped and false light?  Again, no.

Can the Jews attack a 1991-2014 premier of Adams’ “The Death of Klinghoffer” because the opera makes false stereotypical attacks on Jews? Possibly.  This is a period of political correctness where people are sanctioned if they spread ugly stereotypical libels about minority ethnic groups.  Would a modern opera written in this era of political correctness include ugly stereotypes about gays? Blacks?  Muslims?  No. 

The Adams anti-Semitic act of calling Jews “fat” is wholly discrete from his sanctioning of the murder of American Jews anywhere in the world.  Calling Jews ugly names and demeaning adjectives is despicable, but it is not actionable.  It only informs one that Adams, the Met, and the Gordon Getty family have virulent anti-Semitic tendencies.

Let us get to the heart of the legally actionable aspect of the Klinghoffer opera.

Is recognizing in an “artistic” opera the combined Arab five army loss in the 1948 War, and then blaming Israel alone for today’s extant Palestinian “refugee” problem inherently anti-Semitic, or anti-Zionist?  Yes, it is, but all you can do in reaction is withhold your donations. 

Is it  legally actionable?  No.  

There clearly were Arabs who left what is now Israel under the cloud of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War where the five well-armed Arab armies hell-bent on committing another Holocaust were roundly defeated by the Israeli Jews. Their feelings about that may be misplaced and genocidal, but they are not actionable.

The Opera rationalizes the illegitimate Arab murder of any American Jew anywhere in the world simply because an Arab-Israeli conflict exists.
The really insidious message of the Klinghoffer Opera resides in using the ‘legitimate’ artistic narrative of the 1948 War’s Arab refugees to serve as the very elemental and intellectual “motive” of the illegitimate terrorist “Murder of Klinghoffer,” an American Jewish civilian.  And, by the opera’s combining the otherwise legitimate recounting of the "Palestinian narrative" with the wholly illegitimate terrorist murder of an American Jew outside of Israel, the opera intentionally connects two separate and distinct aspects of the issue. 

The really insidious message put to song in "The Death of Klinghoffer" is that the Opera rationalizes and basically justifies, the illegitimate Arab murder of any American Jew anywhere in the world simply because an Arab-Israeli conflict exists.

For, as the Met feels the need to sing to us, “there still is an Arab-Israeli conflict,” and there “are two-sides to every conflict.” Using the same two sides theory, would the Met have sponsored an opera which romanticized a Jew who murdered a Palestinian-American citizen in a wheel-chair on an anniversary cruise in the Bahamas because of the 1929 Hevron Massacre of the Jews, the Nazi Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, and the fact that there still is an Arab-Israeli conflict?  Never. 

Would the Met or the Gordon Getty Family ever glorify and need to explain the "motives" of a Jew who is “aggrieved” because there exists an Arab-Israeli conflict?  Of course not.  An opera rationalizing murder of an unarmed civilian on a cruise ship is inherently evil.  It doesn't matter who the murderers are.

There could be a whole industry of operas over other extant refugee conflicts.  How about the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan?  In the Kashmir Conflict where there were millions of real refugees, and there is still is an active terror war against India for its alleged occupation of Kashmir.  Would the Met sponsor an Opera, “The Murder of Sigh Gandhi” where the opera rationalized a Kashmiri terrorist murdering an Indian-American on a cruise in Norway’s fjords because there still exists conflict in Kashmir?  And, if after the Met showcased such an opera that glorified the Kashmiri terrorist murdering an American Indian, and more Indian-Americans were murdered outside of India, couldn’t one claim the Met had some role to play in the murders?  Of course one would.

Or, how about an opera where a Muslim terrorist murders a Chinese-American citizen on a Bahamas cruise “because there are two-sides” to the Uighur-China conflict.  If Uighur Muslim terrorists started murdering Chinese-Americans outside of China after such an opera, of course one could link the opera’s showing with the murder of Chinese Americans.

If those Met operas explaining the “motives” of the Islamic terrorist murder of Indian-Americans or Chinese-Americans could be shown to in any way have stimulated other Islamic murders of other Indian-Americans and/or Chinese-Americans, those harmed religious and ethnic groups could sue the Met for violating their civil-rights, and collect millions.

So, the real question is “Do American Jews have a federal civilian rights lawsuit against the Metropolitan Opera and the family of Ann & Gordon Getty for sponsoring an opera that directly claims to legitimize, and explain the terrorist murder of an unarmed civilian American Jew on a cruise ship only because there exists an Arab-Israeli conflict?”  I say yes!  I believe the Klinghoffer Opera has clearly, in a very high-profile way, added to the Kill-the-American-Jew climate that may be linked to the murder of American Jews.  Hence, all American Jews would have a class-action lawsuit against those publishing such an inflammatory work that incited terrorists to murder Americans. 

Imagine the Met airing an opera that “explains” and “romanticizes” the "motives" of the Klu Klux Klan for lynching an unarmed black American because white southern Americans were aggrieved because the south lost the Civil War and they feel “occupied” by the North.  American blacks would sue and win billions of dollars from the Met.

Several individuals have already approached me saying they would love to be the named-plaintiff in such a civil-rights lawsuit against the Met Opera and the Gordon Getty Family.  I believe Jewish-American lawyers should actively research, and file such a civil rights lawsuit against the Metropolitan Opera, the Gordon Getty Family, and the other “anonymous donor,” and sue them all for billions.