“The Death of George Floyd” Opera and The Humanity of Derek Chauvin

New York’s Metropolitan Opera was forced to cancel its entire 2020 season due to the pandemic. The company’s general manager Peter Gelb hopes to open again on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2020.

During this time, many wonder whether the company will commission a work tackling the recent murder of a Black man, George Floyd, by a White Minnesota police officer, Derek Chauvin. The Met has been known to perform controversial and contemporary works in the past. Regarding a work on Palestinian terrorists killing a Jewish man, Gelb said in 2014:

“’The Death of Klinghoffer’ is arguably the greatest operatic writing from America’s leading composer of contemporary opera. Like other operas of Adams, it deals with contemporary history, in this case the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship and murder of an innocent Jew by Palestinian terrorists. Although it has been accused of being anti-Semitic and a glorification of terrorism (it’s neither), I believe the libretto is guiltless in its attempt to understand the motives of the criminals who perpetrated the Klinghoffer crime.

Controversial or not, at least grand opera is back in the cultural conversation.”

The New York Times strongly backed the showing of the opera and wrote on June 19, 2014 that it was an important piece and that “the opera gives voice to all sides.” It quoted Gelb saying the composer “John Adams said that in composing ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ he tried to understand the hijackers and their motivations, and to look for humanity in the terrorists.”

The current situation surrounding the killing of Floyd and related protests is seemingly a great opportunity for the Met to get “back in the cultural conversation” to “understand the motives” of police officers who sometimes choke and shoot unarmed Black men. It would be an opportunity to “give a voice to all sides” of “contemporary history” and explore the “humanity” of police officers accused of killing minorities, especially after fourteen fellow Minneapolis police officers wrote that “Chauvin failed as a human.

George Floyd

However, people may strongly object to such comparison. How does one compare the killing of a 6’4” 225-pound man in a physical tussle to the point blank shooting of a wheelchair-bound elderly man and subsequent tossing him off a boat while on an anniversary cruise?

Leon Kilnghoffer

In 2014, the liberal media actively and deliberately normalized antisemitism and the slaughter of Jews in the arts and in articles about riots in the streets of Europe during the 2014 Gaza War. It served as a natural segue to supporting Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism which called for the destruction of Israel, to obtain a legal pathway towards nuclear weapons.

So when Jewish blood ran in the streets of Jersey City in 2019, the humanity of the Black residents worried about the influx of Jews became the main concern. Hating Jews had already become rationalized and not worthy of reporting, much like the Times casually stating that 93 percent of Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza being antisemitic was “not surprising.” There are two sides to a killing and the grand opera houses are seemingly the right forum to better understand the motives of killers.

The liberal performing arts are on hiatus, so the time is ripe to develop an opera showcasing the important other side of the tragedy in Minneapolis and show the world the humanity of Derek Chauvin.


Related First One Through articles:

Eyal Gilad Naftali Klinghoffer. The new Blood Libel.

“An anti-Semitic Tinge”

The New Salman Abedi High School for Boys in England and the Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel Soccer Tournament in France

For The NY Times, Antisemitism Exists Because the Alt-Right is Racist and Israel is Racist

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Blessing Islamophobia

The New York Times gave a warm and strong endorsement for Islamophobia this weekend. It’s opinion pages wrote strongly about the importance of free speech and the logic of exploring the hatred that many people feel towards all Muslims around the world, whether due to the 9/11 terror attacks or the beheadings of innocents today.

The New York Times editorial said it was “entirely correct” for people to express why they want to kill Muslims. It added that people “should not yield to critics” who want to use political correctness to suppress their anger.

The Times is on record – again – defending those who want to broadcast their rationale for killing any follower of Islam. Free speech “gives voice to all sides” including racists.

The paper remains standing “properly firm in defending… the principle of artistic freedom in a world rife with political pressures.” A surprising wake-up from a paper that people often view as erring more towards political correctness than towards the right of free speech.

In case you don’t believe the quotes and sentiments of the current NY Times editorial board, the links to the two editorials are below. The one (small) item worth noting, is that the paper actually wrote about killing Jews, not Muslims. But in balancing free speech and political correctness, I have made an assumption that the Times isn’t going to limit free speech just to anti-Semites. Was that a bad assumption?

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Sources:

NY Times editorial September 20 “The Met Opera Stands Firm”: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/20/opinion/the-death-of-klinghoffer-must-go-on.html

NY Times editorial June 19: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/20/opinion/the-metropolitan-operas-backward-move.html

FirstOneThrough on Klinghoffer Opera: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/eyal-gilad-naftali-klinghoffer-the-new-blood-libel/

Eyal Gilad Naftali Klinghoffer. The new Blood Libel.

A troublesome series of reports in major “liberal” media outfits like the New York Times and BBC have shown a pattern of “blame the victim” uniquely when it comes to Jews and Israel.

Consider the BBC’s Nicky Campbell’s coverage of the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frankel, in Judea & Samaria arguing that “Palestinians would say perhaps these people were in the West Bank illegally.” He then continued to discuss Arabs in Israeli jails to “give [the kidnapping] some perspective” as if the comments provided any justifications for the kidnapping of teenagers trying to get home from school. (I suppose Nicky would support Iraqis kidnapping his daughters because of the UK involvement in the Iraqi war.)

The New York Times followed on June 16 when it posed several questions regarding “the cavalier practice of hitchhiking” in the West Bank. Was the NYT suggesting that these boys were responsible for their own kidnapping?

The hitchhiking abduction coverage was not unique. The New York Times ran an editorial on 6/19/14 bemoaning that the New York Metropolitan Opera, “bowing to the wishes of Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters and other Jewish critics,” decided to not globally telecast an opera about the murder of a 69-year old American Jew by Palestinian terrorists. The Times thought that “the opera gives voice to all sides” as if the rationale of the murder of an elderly American confined to a wheelchair was worthy of serious consideration. The general manager of the Met, Peter Gelb, said that the composer “John Adams said that in composing ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ he tried to understand the hijackers and their motivations, and to look for humanity in the terrorists.” Gelb and the Times have called the opera “a masterpiece”. I am considering the right term for the Met and the Times.

Somehow, these outlets believe that Jews bare at least partial responsibility for the crimes committed against them: Jews are not victims; they are vehicles to voice displeasure of the state of the Palestinian Arabs.

To illustrate and contrast the vileness of this targeting of Jews and Israel by these media outlets, consider the coverage of other crimes during this same time period.

The New York Times covered the sexual assaults of women in Egypt during the celebrations for new President Abdul Fattah al Sisi with appropriate disgust. It ran articles, editorials and op-eds that condemned the attacks. The Times did not run articles questioning why the women were out late among so many men. The paper did not suggest that the women were dressed inappropriately. It did not post articles by Egyptian clerics who describe the value of modesty for women and the inappropriateness of their being out among men. Because if the paper had done so, it would have served to validate the disgraceful attack and place blame on the victim.

Similarly when a young man, Elliot Rodger, went on a shooting rampage in California because he felt rejected by girls in his school, the papers did not post opinions that girls should be nicer to young men and consider their feelings. As is clearly obvious, doing so would be an insult to all of the innocent victims of the rampage.

The daughters of Leon Klinghoffer, Lisa and Ilsa, put it best in their letter to the editor of the New York Times on June 21: “Our 69 year-old father was singled out and killed by Palestinian terrorists on his wedding anniversary cruise in 1985 solely because he was Jewish. His memory is trivialized in an opera that rationalizes terrorism and tries to find moral equivalence between murderers and the murdered. Imagine if Mr. Adams had written an opera about the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks, and sought to balance their worldview with that of those who perished in the twin towers. The outcry would be immediate and overwhelming. But ‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’ and an opportunity to ‘debate’ the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is an outrage.”

The media’s blind spot for Jewish victims in its visual field have left Jews in the dark ages of history once again. The “progressives” are developing a new Blood Libel, in which every Jew has a hand soaked in the misfortune of Arabs. They have turned the State of Israel into a new blood matzah, conceived and living in sin.  During the Dark Ages, Jews were accused of taking missing Christian children.  At present, the progressive press blames Jews for their own missing and felled Jews – sacrifices that must be made to uphold the evil Jewish State.

Can anything right the “left”? If the Royal Ballet were to perform “The Untimely Fall of Lee Rigby” with beautiful arias about the sorrowful tale of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the two people who were sentenced to life in prison for Rigby’s murder, would the press react? Would the British press cheer the “work of art” and celebrate the “humanity in the terrorists” who hacked a soldier to death on the streets of England to avenge the killing of Muslims by British forces? The Klinghoffer daughters believe the “outcry would be immediate and overwhelming,” from the press and public. While I agree, I fear that it would not cause progressives to rethink their attitude towards Jews. The new Blood Libel has caught hold.


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The Death of Civilians; the Three Shades of Sorrow

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