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Met Opera stands behind decision to cancel 'Klinghoffer' simulcast amid anti-Semitic concerns

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Palestinian Magied Youssef al-Molqi is guarded by Carabinieri (military police) during the trial for the hijacking of the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro in June 1986 in the opera "The Death of Klinghoffer."Reuters

The Metropolitan Opera is standing firm in its decision to cancel plans for a global simulcast to cinemas of John Adams' "The Death of Klinghoffer" despite receiving criticism for shifting their plans once concerns rose that the show could stir anti-Semitic sentiments. 

The Met's press director, Peter Clark, acknowledged the criticism when reached by FOX411, but said there are no plans to reconsider the decision, despite the harsh reactions. 

"We’re not changing anything that we’ve already decided," he said.

On June 17, when the decision was first announced, the Met's general manager insisted the show itself was in no way anti-Semitic. 

"I'm convinced that the opera is not anti-Semitic," Peter Gelb said. "But I've also become convinced that there is genuine concern in the international Jewish community that the live transmission of 'The Death of Klinghoffer' would be inappropriate at this time of rising anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe."

The opera depicts the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by the Palestinian Liberation Front in which a Jewish New Yorker, Leon Klinghoffer, was killed.

Jewish advocacy groups immediately lauded the move to cancel the simulcast. 

The ADL praised the decision, noting that "while the opera 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."

Meanwhile, many jumped to criticize the Met for the change in plans. 

Adams blasted the decision, saying the opera "in no form condones or promotes violence, terrorism or anti-Semitism."

The National Coalition Against Censorship issued a statement urging the Met to reconsider.

"Cultural institutions can play a crucial role in promoting understanding and peaceful dialogue in a world of conflict, but only if they stand up to pressure groups from all sides," their statement read. "If they don’t, they are likely to become either irrelevant or a tool in the hands of competing political interests."

American contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly took to Twitter to encourage people to support the opera.

The Live in HD broadcast was planned for Nov. 15 and the opera will be performed at the opera house as planned in the fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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