The June 8 issue of the Jewish Light included, as part of its “Can We Talk?” series, two perspectives on “The Death of Klinghoffer,” an opera to be presented by Opera Theatre St. Louis. The opera derives its title from the murder, by Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists, of Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound American tourist, during an attempted hijacking, in 1985, aboard the cruise ship, the Achille Lauro.
As been noted in the pages of the Jewish Light, and in a panel discussion held on June 6 as part of the “Can We Talk” Series, there have been very differing responses to the announcement by the Opera Theatre of St. Louis of the scheduling of “Klinghoffer.” Some have called the opera anti-Semitic, or accuse it of rationalizing or legitimizing an act of terrorism. Others view it as a magnificent work of art that courageously addresses the human condition and “eloquently condemns hatred and extremism.”
The Michael and Barbara Newmark Institute for Human Relations at the Jewish Community Relation Council of St. Louis is committed to the concept of a pluralistic society where diverse religious, racial and ethnic groups live and work together and their differences enhance the community. We seek to advance pluralism, interfaith relations and civility among all people. As noted in my letter to the editor in the June 8 edition, the Newmark Institute is a supporter of the interfaith programs associated with the performance of “Klinghoffer.”