For Americans, there was a reflexive impulse following last week’s money-laundering charges against prominent Syrian Jews and New Jersey politicians to mutter worryingly about the greedy and criminal predilections of a certain close-knit, provincial people. We speak, of course, of New Jerseyans (“Why is New Jersey so unshakably corrupt?” the New York Times asks today). But for senior members of Israel’s ultra-religious Shas political party, the arrests raised a different question: why are the FBI and President Barack Obama determined to persecute America’s Orthodox community? “There is a feeling here that the FBI purposely attempted to arrest as many rabbis as possible at once in an attempt to humiliate them,” the editor of the party’s weekly told the Jerusalem Post. He said his publication’s next editorial will specifically accuse Obama of inciting anti-Semitism in America. He added, “Regardless of the details of the case—I am not familiar with the precise charges and the evidence … It is so obvious that the whole thing is motivated by anti-Semitism.” So obvious that familiarity with the precise charges and the evidence is apparently unnecessary.

We think it’s telling that the concerns over anti-Semitism are emanating from non-Americans. A different ultra-Orthodox editor told JPost, “After Madoff, now there is this. I’m frankly concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S.” But it’s in the nature of American pluralism that most Americans, who may know that Madoff is Jewish, don’t then implicate other Jews for his actions; and so, too, with these arrests. Besides, Americans know better than to blame all the Jews for something as immutable as Jersey corruption.

‘FBI Sting Was A Case of Anti-Semitism’ [JPost]