Jewish law prohibits doing something. But haredi rabbis, community leaders and their followers do it anyway when Sholom Rubashkin, Milton Balkany, Yehuda Kolko and other haredi criminals are involved. What is this prohibition?
The mitzvah is chanufa, the prohibition against flattery, these days usually pronounced "chanifa." It is considered by many to be a subsection of the commandment not to put a stumbling block before a blind person, meaning that we are forbidden to knowingly mislead anyone.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs explains chanufa based on a Rishon, a medieval rabbi, Rabbi Yonah Gerondi, who was an early ethicist and whose work is used extensively in mussar circles:
…In Jewish law, this term [chanufa, flattery] is generally understood to refer not to ordinary or even excessive compliments, but to actions that prop up evil-doers by protecting their reputation and thereby encourage them to continue in their [criminal] ways.
In a 13th-century text, Rabbi Yonah Gerondi lays out nine categories of chanufa, each of which involves offering public honor to an evil-doer or justification of his or her actions.
For example, Gerondi prohibits telling such a person that s/he has done nothing wrong; publicly praising a person who does evil, even for the good things that s/he does; elevating a wicked person to a communal honor; or failing to protest when one has the means to do so.
Throughout this discussion, Gerondi assumes that the evil action is already public. That is, there is no expectation that a person will investigate each of his or her friends to ensure that this person is innocent of bad behavior. But once a person becomes known for his or her bad behavior, then the prohibition against offering any support to this person kicks in.…
Now think about what haredim say in support of Sholom Rubashkin or Rabbi Milton Yehoshua Balkany:
They did so much good! They're kind men! The gave so much tzedaka! We should overlook the bad they did because of all the tzedaka they gave! Etc., etc.
Or what they said about Rabbi Yehuda Kolko:
He's such a good teacher! He's a real talmud chacham! My son learns much better because of him!
However the truth is, we are not supposed to praise men like this, or praise their former good deeds, or overlook the crimes they committed.
But when it comes to well-connected haredi criminals, the prohibition against chanufa disappears.
And that, I think, is because these men have power and/or status, and haredi rabbis, community leaders, and even rank-and-file haredim, favor them as a result – which is a violation of Jewish law in its own right.