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Those who protested the performance of The Murder of Klinghoffer spoke at a press conference and at a rally outside the Metropolitan Opera House. One of their demands was that the opera not be shown.
Clearly, that demand was not met.
I, and many others, never called for a boycott although some people did. They are good people, they did not "rant" as one reporter described it. Mainly, they were people of a certain age whohave lived through the Holocaust (or their parents did); people who have also seen the effects of terrorism close-up in Israel, and in America, on 9/11.
There was such a large police presence and so many police barricades that anyone passing by would think that terrorists were at large.
There were no terrorists on Broadway—although terrorists would soon be mounting the stage of the Metropolitan Opera. The police were protecting the right of the Opera House to present the Palestine Liberation Organization and their cause as mythically majestic and eternally just.
Here's what was also extraordinary: "The Suits"—men and women in positions of power, both politically, legally, and financially, felt compelled to take to the streets to be heard. Governors, Congressional Representatives, Mayors, Borough Presidents, financial advisors, were not presiding over a press conference in their grand offices. They were on the streets. I suspect this may have been the first time they have ever done so.
The Israeli premiere of Gloria Greenfield's new film, Body and Soul - the State of the Jewish Nation, is on October 20th in Jerusalem. Exclusive interview with the director, Gloria Greenfield.
Although filmmaker Gloria Greenfield has interviewed me for her two previous films, this was the first time I sat down with her and asked her some questions. (For a review of the new film, Body and Soul - the State of the Jewish Nation, click here.)
Q: Did you always want to be a film director? What were your earliest ambitions?
A: In elementary school I wanted to be a resistance fighter the next time the Nazis came. In middle school I thought I would be a psychologist. I never imagined that I would be afilm director, although I always loved film.
Q: What drives you?
I love opera. For almost three years, I regularly contributed to NPR's "At the Opera." I attend the Metropolitan Opera House as often as I can. But the decision to stage "The Death of Klinghoffer" represents an abdication of moral responsibility, political sensitivity and gravitas.
Met Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has a constitutional and artistic right to produce whatever he wants. Yet showcasing this opera is equivalent to a college president's inviting a member of ISIS, Hamas, or the Taliban to speak on campus because "all sides must be heard" and "all points of view are equally valid."
As a feminist, I wouldn't boycott an opera because the female heroes are betrayed, go mad or are murdered. As in life, our great operas are tragedies in which the heroes die.
But, where there are heroes there are also villains.
The villain in Puccini's "Tosca" is unmistakable: He is Scarpia, the police chief of Rome who tortures political prisoners and attempts to rape the great singer, Floria Tosca. We don't get a backstory about Scarpia's dysfunctional childhood, nor do we sympathize or identify with him.study-- has documented 467 "newly identified cases" of girls and women who had been genitally mutilated. Half live in London.
Previously, 1, 279 such girls and women were known to be receiving post-mutilation treatment. However, estimates suggest that up to "170,000 women and girls living in the UK may have undergone FGM."
This is simply not acceptable.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is not at all like male circumcision. Not only is the capacity for sexual pleasure destroyed, complications are routine and include bleeding, painful urination, cysts, dangerous and recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, the growth of scar tissue that make marital intercourse a nightmare and that turns childbirth into an experience of danger and torture. It increases the likelihood of newborn deaths. In addition, some girls and women develop fistulas and become incontinent. They are doomed to defecate and urinate without control. Absent effective surgery, this is a life-long condition which leads to the woman being shunned by her family.
Two Upper West side artists think New York women should try wearing face masks, also known as "niqab." Their names are Saks Afridi and Quinza Najm. They are calling upon women to don black face masks and take a "selfie."
The political art project began as a private experiment when Najm began wearing niqab (erroneously referred to as "hijab," which is just a headscarf) in her neighborhood; she encountered some hostile responses. "Go home!"
At that point, Najm decided that concealing her facial identity was an act of assertive liberation and a challenge to a presumably "tolerant" America. She launched a hashtag #DamniLookGood and asked other women, both Muslim and non-Muslim—men too—to don niqab as "an exercise in tolerance."
Some women who tried on the black niqab and close black head covering found it "sexy" to be concealed. Najm also points out that you can wear "crappy clothes" underneath and be very "comfortable." (Here she must be talking about a full body covering as well).
Gloria Z. Greenfield's third film, Body and Soul: The State of the Jewish Nation, is a cinematic and educational triumph. In only 65 minutes, the viewer comes to understand who the Jews are to the land of Israel and what the land of Israel is to the Jews, to Judaism, and to history.
This film is not propaganda. There is no doctored footage. This is the truth made visible, visual. It is also, potentially, truth's weapon against falsehood and against a lethal Arab (and now universal) narrative that is, at its core, genocidal.
Please understand: While the film is pedagogic, it is also easy to understand and entertaining. It is both profound and bracing.
The music enhances the words, it is subtle, it neither detracts nor intrudes. The most wonderful maps, illustrated manuscripts, archeological artifacts, ancient coins, drawings, paintings, photographs, legal documents, highlighted newspaper articles, and videos accompany a rapid succession of thirty six soulful and scholarly experts. Greenfield has carefully assembled ambassadors, archeologists, authors, experts in anti-Semitism, historians, journalists, legal scholars, parliamentarians, rabbis, Christian theologians—and one prominent Yiddishist.
Dr. Phyllis Chesler appeared on "Huckabee" on Fox News, Saturday, October 11th to discuss Islamophobia and some insights from "An American Bride in Kabul".
Click here to watch interview.
The traffic down Fifth Avenue was massive, the suicide artists on bikes darted, amazingly, suddenly, right into the path of oncoming cars and then neatly swirled away. We kept calling ahead to the librarians to inform them of my progress--so that they could inform the waiting crowd. Indeed, it was a lovely turnout. The discussion was not only civilized, it was literate, educated, respectful.
Muslims and Jews and Christians were there, white folk and black folk--an African-American woman who teaches in China, some friends, some fans--and wonder of wonders!--the editor who had worked with me on a proposal for a very important book in 1975 (!): "Rape as a Weapon of War." She had gotten the publishing house to accept it--and then she had left, quite suddenly, and no one wanted to work with me on it. I was thrilled to see her, she was surprised that I remembered her name (how could I forget?) and she spontaneously came up to the platform to embrace me.
The QNA was the most interesting part of the evening--at least to me. I may try to reprise some of it when I can. But for now, here are some of the library- and book-related remarks I made.
I am talking about my dear friend, Ibn Warraq, the author or editor of 12 books, and the only man who has ever roundly defeated Tariq Ramadan in an Intelligence Squared debate in London.
His final riposte ("I do not care to live in a society where you are stoned for adultery, I would rather live in country where you get stoned first and then commit adultery") brought down the house.
Despite this witticism, Ibn Warraq is essentially a very shy, Old World, and exceedingly courtly man.
Translated, his pen name means "the son of a paper maker." He does not use his real name because he is an apostate, which constitutes a capital crime in Islam. He is an ex-Muslim. He is also pro-Western, anti-terrorism, pro-Israel, and pro-human rights. In many quarters, such views are also considered "killing" offenses.
I am an avid opera-goer and opera-lover and it pains me beyond measure to have to approach the Metropolitan Opera, not with tickets in hand, but to participate in a protest against the choice of a particular opera, namely, "The Death of Klinghoffer."
Why-oh-why did Peter Gelb choose to produce this opera when the libretto is sub-standard, quite below par? This is quite apart from our collective concern about the content of this libretto and the lethal narrative of the opera itself. Yes, the work presents the Israelis as colonizers and exploiters, the Jews as greedy exploiters, and the Palestinian terrorists as heroes. And yes, I understand that Gelb believes that John Adams, the composer, is the leading American composer of the 21st century. The music is very good.
I am not sure where to focus my outrage and my sorrow.
Approximately 125 people turned out for this Muslim-initiated rally against "ISIS…and for the minority communities of Christians and non-Christians who have been brutally attacked, killed, or forcefully converted into Islam under pain of death."
Speakers included Raheel Raza, President of the Council, Vice-President of Muslims Facing Tomorrow author Salim Mansur, the Honorable Federal Minister of State for Multi-Culturalism, and former Member of Parliament (MP), Tim Uppal. In addition, four other MPs spoke: MPs John Carmichael, Devinder Shory, Brad Butt, and Bernard Trottier. Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent a strong message of support.
I cannot think of a better way to wish you all Shana Tova than to share with you some of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks' words. He has been on a lecture tour in New York City.
One knows when one has been in the company of a great soul when one feels elevated, uplifted, enlightened, included—and blessed. Come, share the blessing with me.
Rabbi Sacks is a trim, elegant, white-haired, man sporting a fashionably white goatee, a teacher who exudes erudition, integrity, dignity, and compassion.
Rabbi Sacks was beautifully introduced by New Jersey's Rabbi Menachem Genack, and he participated in a dialogue between himself and Rabbi Barry Freundel of Washington D.C, who also serves as a religious advisor to politicians. Lincoln Square's Rabbi, Shaul Robinson, deftly posed questions and served as moderator. The occasion was the book launch of "Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honor of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks."
The first question R. Robinson posed was: "What would the Rav (R. Soloveitchik) say right now about the state of affairs after such an unsettling and troubling summer?
For the second time, I was privileged to speak to a large gathering in Pune, India via skype through Finland! These are anti-Jihadists and Hindu nationalists who yearn for Jammu and Kashmir and who have been battling a relentless and vicious Jihad. This time, with their permission, I chose to speak, not only about Jihad, but about honor based violence in India among both Hindus and Muslims. I described my study in Middle East Quarterly which compared Hindu and Muslim honor killings in India, Pakistan, and the West. I talked about shame and honor tribal cultures which have turned being born female into a capital crime. Here is the You Tube of my seven minute speech.
New York Jewish and anti-Jihadi activists are planning what they hope will be a massive demonstration outside of the Metropolitan Opera on September 22, 2014, at 4:30pm, when "The Death of Klinghoffer," composed by John Adams with a libretto by Alice Goodman, has its first performance. Although I am a serious opera fan and a strong believer in the First Amendment, I will be among them.
The libretto presents a false and defamatory narrative of Jews and America; depicts an entirely untrue, unbalanced, and maliciously immoral history of the founding of the state of Israel-- especially in Penny Woolcock's filmed version of the opera which won a prize at the 2003 Brussels European Film Festival-- an unbalanced narrative about the fate of refugees in the Middle East; flat-out blames the Jews for a massacre which Christian Phalangists committed in Lebanon; and explains and justifies why Arafat's Palestinian terrorists murdered a wheelchair bound Jewish-American, Leon Klinghoffer (z"l), viciously, and in cold blood.
The decades-old festivities were sparsely attended and shadily organized. Despite the fact that it was a sunny, refreshingly cool, but beautiful day in New York City, no more than 150 people were part of this rally. A few hundred more, mainly parents with children, were at the street fair which featured rides, food, games. It was not immediately clear who was organizing the event-- no group was listed as a sponsor. Instead, four men's names and phone numbers were given.See All Articles
I recommend this book be put on the reading list of every American school.
--Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Author of Infidel and Nomad
This is a bold book, intimate and rich in detail… Chesler is a voice crying out for women. She will never stop
The 2011 Edition of Mothers on Trial
The 2009 Edition of