When Defamatory Politics Masquerade as Art

The Death of Klinghoffer, an opera that aims to create sympathy for the terrorist hijackers of the Achille Lauro, returns to the New York Metropolitan Opera tonight. Edward Rothstein, reviewing the piece when it first opened in 1991, had some nice words for the conductor and the singers. But he also found the music “either atmospheric or emotionally elementary” and the message, delivered through a contrastingly “empathetic evocation of the [Palestinian] intifada” and mockery of the terrorists’ Jewish victims, politically rigged and morally repugnant. In Rothstein’s summary:

The work itself turned out to be more about its intended reception than about its subject, more a matter of pitch than substance. Without historical insight, without profound revelation of character, without the advertised symmetry [between Jews and Palestinians], without even a coherent libretto and convincing score, The Death of Klinghoffer becomes simply another monument to an avant-garde that is repeating old political and aesthetic gestures while acting as if it is daringly breaking new ground.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Death of Klinghoffer, Music, Opera, Politics and the arts, Terrorism


The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship