(JTA) — Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be among several New York politicians who are expected to protest at the premiere of “The Death of Klinghoffer” at the New York Metropolitan Opera House.
Among the politicians expected to join the rally are Reps. Eliot Engel and Peter King along with former Govs. George Pataki and David Paterson, the New York Observer reported.
There will be a “heavy police presence” at the opening, according to the New York Post, which citing police sources.
Critics charge that the production is anti-Semitic, hostile to Israel and sympathetic to terrorists.
A coalition of groups organized the protest, which will be held across the street from the Met. The organizers include the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Zionist Organization of America, StandWithUs, the Catholic League and several New York City synagogues.
The opera tells the story of the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro by Palestinian terrorists and the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old Jewish-American passenger in a wheelchair. The opera by John Adams debuted in 1991.
Klinghoffer’s daughters, Lisa and Ilsa, released a statement Sunday via the Anti-Defamation League that will be featured in the opera’s playbill.
“We are strong supporters of the arts, and believe that theater and music can play a critical role in examining and understanding significant world events,” they wrote. ” ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ does no such thing. It presents false moral equivalencies without context, and offers no real insight into the historical reality and the senseless murder of an American Jew. It rationalizes, romanticizes and legitimizes the terrorist murder of our father.”
The daughters said the family was not consulted by the composer and librettist, and had no role in the development of the opera.
The ADL has said that while “The Death of Klinghoffer” itself is not anti-Semitic, “there is a concern the opera could be used in foreign countries as a means to stir up anti-Israel sentiments or as a vehicle to promote anti-Semitism.”
Under heavy criticism, the Met decided in June to cancel a planned global simulcast of the opera in November. But it stuck to its decision to stage the show in New York.
Last month, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Met on its Opening Night Gala chanting “Shame on the Met!” and “Say no to the show!” in protest of the Met’s decision to produce the controversial opera.