Friday, July 31, 2009

*What* "other way"?

Those of you not from the New York City metropolitan area may not be aware of this corruption scandal. I suggest that you read enough of the linked article to understand what I'm discussing.

Dummy that I am, I made the mistake of mentioning this mess to an Orthodox Jew of my acquaintance. I was totally unprepared for that person's response. That individual was quite upset about the fact that one of the Jewish defendants had cooperated with the authorities and exposed other corrupt persons, including rabbis, resulting in their arrests. "There's so much anti-Semitism already, especially after the Madoff scandal. It's the wrong time for such a chillul haShem (public desecration of G-d's name). There has to be a better way."

"What better way?," I argued. "Okay, he's a scumbag, and he deserves to rot in jail with the rest, but that's what the police are for! 'Dina d'medina dina, dina d'malchuta dina' ("the law of the land is the law," "the law of the kingdom is the law," a Talmudic principle meaning that a Jew is obligated to obey the secular laws of the place in which s/he lives)!"

What other alternative is there in a corruption case? Did this individual really believe that it would have sufficed to haul the Jewish defendants before a bet din (religious court)? These people are not accused of crimes against the Jewish community, they're accused of crimes against the State of New Jersey! This isn't a Polish shtetl, nor do we live in the old Czarist Russian Pale of Settlement, nor is this the ghetto. This is the 21st century United States, where Jews are full-fledged citizens--and are hence as answerable to the federal, state, county and local governments as any other citizens.

Da'as Hedyot has quite a rant (or two) on the subject.

And of course, there's one major detail that I forgot to mention to the person in question: What would the anti-Semites have said if the moser (the one who turned people over to the authorities) had "squealed" on non-Jews only? Then they would have said that we Jews only protect our own.

Sorry, but there's no way of getting around this. Suck it up and admit that it's a chillul HaShem. Yes, the anti-Semites are going to have a field day with this. No, there's nothing we can do about it--except to try to ensure that it doesn't happen again, as the Hedyot was saying.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Too Old to Jewschool Steve said...

Sorry to be a nitpicker, but he's not accused of crimes against the State of New Jersey; he's accused of crimes against the United States of America -- principally bank fraud, which is one of the polite terms used when you try to pass $50 million (yes, really) dollars in bad checks.

If I understand the chronology correctly, he started by dropping a dime on his own community -- apparently, the money laundering was a well-established method of doing business; and after that the feds put him up to enticing pols outside of the Deal-Gravesend axis.

You have to wonder about the pols, though; the moser's situation was extremely well publicized when he was first pinched in 2006; and he was using his own name. Which means no one bothered to google some guy waving dollars before the first sit down. Is that desperation?

Sat Aug 01, 09:39:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Steve, thanks for the correction.

I suppose what really has some people upset is that the moser didn't keep his big mouth shut. But the whole mess would have been uncovered sooner or later.

Sat Aug 01, 11:39:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

William, the one rule I have for my blog is that all comments must be phrased in a respectful manner. Since you insist on post insults, your comments are hereby deleted.

Tue Dec 22, 07:47:00 AM 2009  
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