Madoff Bust Stokes Anti-Semitism in Palm Beach

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2009 3:37 PM CST
Pawnbroker Levi Touger looks over some jewelry that Marvin and Beverly Hoffman have brought into his Royal Palm Beach shop.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Bernard Madoff’s alleged mega-fraud and the large number of Jewish investors he apparently snookered is stoking anti-Semitic feeling in tony Palm Beach, ABC News reports. “It is a terrible thing to say, but some of the WASPs are delighted, they take great pleasure in this,” said an author who has written critically about the socially stratified Florida enclave.

“It's an age-old anti-Semitic claim, that we are in control of all the money in the world," a local rabbi said. "When you have someone with such incredible resources misuse it, it only reinforces that.” Palm Beach, a locus for Madoff’s recruiting efforts, has been extremely hard hit. “Beyond just the hundreds of thousand of people who were impacted financially, this was a blow, a body blow to Judaism,” said the rabbi.