Thursday, April 5, 2012

Digital Extortion: The Protection Racket Comes of Age

It’s Chillul Hashem at its worst… and with the widest possible audience!

No words can adequately describe how disgusted I am to read headlines regarding B’Chadrei Chareidim, a website presumably run by and for members of the Orthodox Jewish community. To say that this is an embarrassment of epic proportions in an understatement! The internet racketeering practiced by these criminals is a disgrace to all of us.

There are now five arrests in what appears to be Israel’s largest blackmail case. Commander Niso Shaham of the Jerusalem District Police told the Israel National News, “People were held hostage by those who committed this grievous act and we hope that once the site is no longer in operation, the dam will burst and people will be free to tell their stories without fears of receiving negative press from B’Chadrei Chareidim.”

B’Chadrei Chareidim wrote positively about people and businesses who paid them to do so and smeared (or threatened to smear) those who didn’t.

Does anyone remember Louis Lepke? He started out in the protection racket in Brooklyn and eventually got the electric chair. Another Jew who sadly lost touch with the things that the Al-mighty expects of the Jewish people.

But Lepke did not pretend to be a Torah Observant Jew.

Orthodox Jewish Websites that cater to our community should practice the very highest levels of journalistic integrity. From what I’ve seen Vosizneias and several others report honestly. But there are some who don't. So given some of the clear bias we all see on certain other "Orthodox" websites, the questions start to arise: Who is paying who?

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