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Confusion Over Ted Cruz Invitation To Opera Protest

Middle East politics on the Upper West Side.

Posted on September 16, 2014, at 6:31 p.m. ET

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

This story has been updated to include Cruz's spokesperson's comment that Cruz will not be attending the protest after all.

WASHINGTON — Senator Ted Cruz will join a protest outside Lincoln Center on Monday against a controversial opera about the murder of of a disabled American Jew by Palestinian terrorists in 1985, an organizer of the event said on Tuesday.

But Cruz's office said that the senator has received an invitation but has not yet confirmed his attendance, and the same organizer that told BuzzFeed News of the senator's plans said he later was told that Cruz did not plan to come. Later, Cruz's office said he wouldn't be attending at all.

Protesters will gather outside the Metropolitan Opera to protest "The Death of Klinghoffer," an opera written in 1991 that deals with the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, 69, on a cruise ship hijacked by terrorists. The opera has been controversial since its inception, with critics accusing it of anti-Semitism, including Klinghoffer's daughters. Cruz confirmed on Tuesday that he will join them, a spokesman for the event's organizers, Ronn Torossian, said. Hours later, he said that he had now been told Cruz was not coming after all, after Cruz's office told BuzzFeed News that the senator had not confirmed the invitation.

The controversy has flared up again this summer as the Met said it would produce the opera this fall, prompting calls for it to cancel its plans.

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey is also joining the protest, Torossian said, as well as several New York political figures and leaders of the Zionist Organization of America and the Catholic League.

Though Torossian said on Tuesday that Cruz was confirmed to attend the event, his office said that he had not yet confirmed.

"The senator received an informal invitation today and we have not confirmed his attendance," said Cruz spokesperson Catherine Frazier.

"We actually can't even attend the event due to schedule," Frazier said later.

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