Monday, December 03, 2007

Rabbis who act Republican

Rabbis threaten to boycott landlords who set their own rents

For me, the truly hysterical part about this first story, is that all the Lapin-loving Jews I know are convinced that the Torah completely coincides with the platform of the Republican party. Yet, here we have a band of Rabbis acting like members of the Communist party. This type of economic bullying wouldn't be unexpected in rural China, perhaps, but in aTorah True Israeli neighborhood? (I know what some of my smarter readers will say: Aren't rents controlled in NYC, too? Sure. But in NY unhappy landlords have recourse. They can appeal, and, in theory at least, they can use the ballot box to introduce change. No such remedy exists if its a local rabbinic vaad doing the bullying.)

Meanwhile, the Monsey Mafia has announced that non-Jews are no longer welcome to own kosher restaurants; worse, according to Shmarya, the rule doesn't apply to everyone. Only one non-Jewish owned place has been targeted. Smells like a shakedown, doesn't it? Or maybe a competitor slipped someone a paper bag full of cash. Who knows? (I don't) Still, much as I may disdain the behavior of the Israeli rabbis at least their hearts are in the right place. They may be bullies, but poor people are the beneficiaries of their bullying. Who, though, is being served when a restaurant is shuttered on laughably specious grounds? Other restaurant owners? Please. This looks to me like the old back scratch. You take care of me, I'll take care of you and to hell with the little guys. So, if the Lapin-loving Jews wish to claim it, I will concede: nothing could be more Republican.

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