Jeff Jacoby, disturbed by the effect of Jack Abramoff's misdeeds on the Orthodox community, writes:
Honesty in financial dealings is not optional in Judaism; it is mandatory. The Talmud teaches that when a person is brought to judgment in the world-to-come, the first question the heavenly tribunal puts to him is: "Did you conduct your business affairs in good faith?" A Jew who takes the values of his religion seriously must be scrupulous in his transactions with others. To be sure, even the saintliest people — not to mention the rest of us — sometimes fall short of the values they profess. But Abramoff's criminal deeds and sleazy manner are a lot worse than mere lapses in judgment. One who behaves so unethically and illegally drags more than his own reputation through the mud. He is an embarrassment to his religion and his community, and that comes close to being unforgivable.
Please wait a moment while I recover from side-splitting laughter.
According to some rabbinic opnions, "honesty in financial dealings" is mandated by Judaism only between Jews. "Goyyim" are open season, with one caveat – do not get caught. In fact, you can find a number of prominent Orthodox rabbis with a past steeped in criminal fraud – a partial list would include Leib Pinter, and Gershon Tannenbaum of Igud HaRabbonim. We would also have S.Z. "Jimmy"Gurary (US Supreme Court.pdf) of Agudath Chasidei Chabad and Sternberg his son-in-law, Moshe Rubashkin of the (in)famous Rubashkin family and the Crown Heights Community Council (please see the left sidebar of this page). Now, add to this list the non-rabbis.
Jacoby may not know this. Or he may be writing propaganda. Either way, Abramoff is not alone.