….Three thoughts to ponder. This past year, many of us saw the Book of Mormon at the Fox. An irreverent, vulgar, hysterically entertaining musical about the Mormons. We parked our car at the Georgian Terrace and crossed Peachtree Street. In front of the theater were a half dozen, well dressed, mannerly Mormons handing out literature. “Sir, if you would like to know more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” a young woman said to me as I took her brochure, “Please go to our website.” I thanked her. She smiled, wished me a pleasant evening and turned to speak with another ticket holder. I thought, “God bless these folks. This is how we disagree in America.” At the same moment I had another thought. What if Trey Parker and Matt Stone came out with a tasteless, bawdy musical that was hysterically entertaining entitled “The Quran, Allah’s Holy Book.” What would happen? It doesn’t take much imagination to answer that question. Jeff Foxworthy correctly wrote, “Have you ever wondered why it’s okay to make jokes about Catholics, the Pope, Jews, Christians, the Irish, the Italians, the Polish, the Chinese, the French (including French Canadians)…but it’s insensitive to make jokes about Muslims?” A few years back, a Danish newspaper “Jyllanns-Posten” printed 12 cartoons of the prophet Muhammad to illustrate an article. If the photos published were of Moses or Buddha or of the Apostle Paul, the event would have been met with a yawn. But not so with our Islamist friends. The reaction? Not a letter to the editor. Not a request to submit an op-ed. Not a friendly visit to the publisher – – but worldwide rage. Riots. Boycotts. Embassies burned. Ambassadors recalled. Attacks on Christians and on churches. 200 killed. Soon after, a professor from Brandeis wrote a book on this outrageous event entitled, “12 Cartoons That Shook the World.” It was published by Yale University Press, located at 302 Temple Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, United States of America. But what was missing in the book? What Yale University refused to print were the 12 cartoons and images of Muhammad. This self-censorship was shameful, cowardly, un-American and a sniveling submission to Islamic narcissism and intimidation. Where is a great university’s courage? Where is Freedom of the Press? This happened in America. In the land of the free and in the home of, I hope, still the brave.
I recall, as we all do, the good old days when air travel was a pleasure. When I flew here to Etz Chaim in my commuting, student days, I’d catch a cab outside my apartment on the upper West Side and be at LaGuardia in about 20 minutes. I’d check my bags in 2 minutes and be at the gate in 4 minutes, just in time to board my flight. I even got a meal. In those days, flying was an adventure, even in coach. Today it is irritating and exhausting. What happened? What changed? Who’s to blame? Who has created the need for a multibillion dollar security industry? Who has created a tedious need for us to remove our shoes and belts, empty our pockets, pack only 3-1/2 ounces of Listerine, go through metal detectors and x-ray machines, submit to frisks and wand searches? Arrive hours before departure? Who is responsible? Let’s see – – not the Italian Mob, not skin heads, not neo Nazis, not Columbian drug cartels, not the Russian mafia, not the Crips nor the Bloods nor the Aryan Brotherhood, not the Ku Klux Klan. So who is it that has irretrievably ruined worldwide air travel? So, think of a Muslim play on Broadway. Think of a scholarly text on Muhammad. Think of flying Delta or United or AirTran. Think about it and connect the dots. For us, WWII lasted 4 years. It has been 13 years since 9/11. 35 years since the invasion of our Iranian embassy and like it or not, we are still at war with radical Islam. Declaring we are not at war with radical Islam does not make it so. Roosevelt and Churchill got it and understood that the stakes were not just the Sudetenland and a few islands in the South Pacific. From the White House and 10 Downing Street, they understood it was planet earth. Today, the radical Islamists seek the same prize – not just Bagdad or Benghazi – but planet earth.
This is not dramatic fiction, but the real thing. A handful of us here today, experienced the real thing about 11 weeks ago in Israel. We didn’t see the real thing on the nightly news nor read about it in the evening paper or hear about it in a long distance phone call from uncle Moshe in Tel Aviv. We were there as Kassam rockets rained down on Israel, on us, targeting, not military bases, not Merkava tanks, not IDF divisions, but children at play, families enjoying dinner, friends laughing over a beer, lovers strolling through a park, teenagers playing volleyball on the beach. The world watched and preached and judged and only now has begun to stir from their slumber of hypocrisy and inaction. Hamas is ISIS. ISIS is Hamas. They are all the same. Hezbollah. Islamic Jihad. Al Shabab. Muslim Brotherhood. Boko Haram. Al Qaeda. Taliban. Iran. The only difference is the length of the knife they use in their butchery. Israeli blood bleeds the same red as the blood of James Foley, of Steven Satloff, of David Hawthorne Haines, of Christians, and Yazidis. Let’s reason, some suggest. One last Hail Mary negotiation. Maybe we can figure out what’s bothering these troubled Muslims and perhaps they’ll tell us what we can do to resolve the friction. I am all for dialogue, but we are dealing with a moral species that eats its own, kills it’s young and celebrates innocent death as homage to God. Osama bin Laden eluded capture for 10 years. Ever wonder why? There was a $25 million bounty on his head. That’s a lot of money. $25 million can by a lot of plastic surgery. A new identity. Rosetta Stone tapes. Elocution lesson. A suburban home. A Brooks Brothers wardrobe. New partners. New friends. Surf and turf every night and a round of golf every day. In 10 years, there was not one betrayal of Osama bin Laden – – not one. And I asked myself, “why not?” – $25 million is a great amount of money and can easily facilitate a luxurious disappearance. The answer is simple. These Islamist criminals are unlike us in the most basic of ways and we have yet to accept and understand their total immersion in moral debauchery.
The enemy has eyes and ears. Fingers and toes. Speaks with lips. Runs with legs. Eats. Drinks. Has the face of a human being – but, has a much different heart and a much different soul. Three years ago on this bima, on this very same day, standing at this podium, I cried out, “Ehr Kumpt – they are coming.” 3 years later on this bima, on this very same day, standing at this podium, I cry out not “Ehr Kumpt – they are coming,” I cry out, “Ehr daw – they are here.” The fury of ultimate evil is upon us and we must act – not to contain it. Not to degrade it. Not to manage it. Not to tolerate it, but to exterminate it utterly and absolutely. If we fail in this holy crusade, we will live in a world bereft of color. Empty of music, of art, of romance, of laughter, of freedom, of invention. A world barren of all beauty. Depleted of all virtue. We are divided today not by faith nor holy book. We are divided today by decency and indecency. By right and wrong. By moral and corrupt. By courage and cowardice. By righteousness and evil. The good citizens of earth must rise up. Gather on the mountain top and proclaim in thundering unison the words of Isaiah: “Hoy ha’omrim lera tov v’la’tov rah – woe to them that call evil, good and good, evil. Who present darkness as light and light as darkness. Who call bitter, sweet and sweet, bitter. We must turn back the evil. We must turn back the darkness. We must turn back the bitter.
My friends – Ehr daw – they are here.