Giuliani at the protest.
Giuliani at the protest.Maxine Dovere

Former New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani has penned an article in The Daily Beast in which he explains why he joined a demonstration outside the Metropolitan Opera on Monday night before the first performance of the opera “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

As a story attempting to recount the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, “the opera is factually inaccurate and extraordinarily damaging to an appropriate description of the problems in Israel and Palestine, and of terrorism in general,” he wrote.

“As one who had occasion as a U.S. attorney to investigate Yasser Arafat, I can say with some certainty that this murder was a pure act of terrorism for which there was no justifiable reason but was part of an overall campaign of numerous terrorist acts intended to make Arafat and his organization bigger players on the world stage. This was not done for the purpose of helping the Palestinian people but rather for the purpose of furthering the goals of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“I speak here to warn people that the facts presented in the opera are incomplete and distorted. This murder was ordered, organized, and planned. It was not the act of people feeling oppressed. This was the act of an organized group seeking international recognition, moral equivalency, and money. And it worked! The terrorist killers were set free.”

Giuliani agreed that the opera is protected by the First Amendment, but added that “we also have a First Amendment right and obligation to point out the historical inaccuracy and the historical damage this opera contributed to: hundreds of millions of dollars going to Arafat, some of which is with Mrs. Arafat in the South of France and most of which never got to the people it was intended to help—the Palestinians.

“The opera also contributed to years of pursuing a plan for peace that was never realistic and never worked because it was based on a false premise of moral equivalency and a romanticizing of terrorism that has led to a world where terrorism has only become greater and greater, and too often justified as if it is the expression of a legitimate political philosophy."

The ex-mayor sums up: “I have been a patron of the Met for many years and appreciate its contribution to New York City and to the United States, and weigh that very much in the balance in deciding that I will continue to be a patron—but with sincere regret over the decision to stage The Death of Klinghoffer, which I consider to be a grave mistake.”

Photo by Maxine Dovere