Well, this didn’t take long. Less than a week after the Bernie Madoff scandal broke — a Ponzi-scheme which largely victimized the American Jewish community — an epidemic of anti-Semitism is breaking out. Last night, I was jarred to hear the Klezmer-tinged notes of “If I Were a Rich Man” coming from the McLaughlin Group. I found this pretty distasteful given that one of Madoff’s victims was Jewish philanthropist and McLaughlin Group regular Mortimer Zuckerman.
Now the Anti-Defamation League is drawing attention to what is happening.
“Site users have posted comments ranging from deeply offensive stereotypical statements about Jews and money — with some suggesting that only Jews could perpetrate a fraud on such a scale — to conspiracy theories about Jews stealing money to benefit Israel,” the ADL said in a statement.
“Jews are always a convenient scapegoat in times of crisis, but the Madoff scandal and the fact that so many of the defrauded investors are Jewish has created a perfect storm for the anti-Semites,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL national director.
There’s one surprise in all this. I was sure the trigger for the anti-Semitism was going to be the closure of the financial markets right after the initial crash back in September for the Jewish New Year. My sense is that this is one problem that is going to get much worse before it subsides.