Statement by Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer on the Production of "The Death of Klinghoffer" at Opera Theatre of St. Louis

St. Louis, MO, May 27, 2011 … Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer, the daughters of Leon Klinghoffer, murdered by Palestinian terrorists aboard the hijacked Achille Lauro in 1985, today issued the following statement on the production of the John Adams opera, "The Death of Klinghoffer" at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis:    

We are greatly distressed that the Opera Theatre of St. Louis has decided to stage The Death of Klinghoffer – a production which American opera companies have avoided for 20 years. Our personal grief and sensitivity to the controversy that has surrounded presentations of the opera since its premiere are not diminished by the passage of time.

We are strong supporters of the arts, and believe that theater can play a critical role in examining and understanding significant world events. This opera, however, does no such thing. The Death of Klinghoffer takes a heinous terrorist event and rationalizes, legitimizes, and explains it. There is no way that this terrorist murder can or should be presented in a balanced manner.

There can be no compassion, understanding, or objectivity for terrorists, no matter who they are, where they live, or what their story is.

The Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation of the Anti-Defamation League works to combat the threat of terrorism through educational, political and legal means.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.