Jews Are Conscienceless Thieves, Says Anti-Defamation League Boss

Bernie Madoff's alleged $50 billion swindle was a Jew-on-Jew crime. Jewish investors and charities lost a bundle. Now they suffer disgrace of having another anti-Semitic evil-banker stereotype. And Jewish media watchdogs are not helping!

“We’re not immune from having thieves and people who engage in fraud,” Abe Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League told the New York Times. "Why, because he happens to be Jewish, he should have a conscience?”

Well, yes, that's kind of the point, according to other Jewish people interviewed by the Times about Madoff's impact on Jewish people. Someone raised in the Jewish community ought to have a conscience:

There is a teaching in the Talmud that says an individual who comes before God after death will be asked a series of questions, the first one of which is, “Were you honest in your business dealings?” ... The full scope of the misdeeds to which Mr. Madoff has confessed in swindling individuals and charitable groups has yet to be calculated, and he is far from being convicted. But Jews all over the country are already sending up something of a communal cry over a cost they say goes beyond the financial to the theological and the personal.

Here is a Jew accused of cheating Jewish organizations trying to help other Jews, they say, and of betraying the trust of Jews and violating the basic tenets of Jewish law. A Jew, they say, who seemed to exemplify the worst anti-Semitic stereotypes of the thieving Jewish banker.

And then Foxman comes and says there's absolutely nothing to worry about, because there are plenty of conscienceless Jewish thieves. Oy, Abe, bubbeleh, you're not helping! You'd think that the head of an organization devoted to rooting out the slightest sign of anti-Semitism would be more, say, self-aware. Why don't you get back to worrying about Internet commenters saying mean things?