A spokesman for a major Orthodox organization begins an op-ed with the following observation:
Yes, yes, there is a media double standard when it comes to haredi Jews. That’s nothing new.
And so, when thousands of Iranians poured into Tehran’s streets in protest of what they saw as a fraudulent presidential election, the press emphasis was not on the protesters who threw rocks, set trash bins aflame and vandalized public property. The focus, rightly, was on the bulk of the crowd, peaceful protesters of what they believed to be a fraudulent election.
When tens of thousands of haredim, though, demonstrated in reaction to a decision by the Jerusalem municipality to open a public parking lot on the Jewish Sabbath, increasing traffic in the heart of the Holy City and disturbing the peacefulness of the day of rest, the main coverage was not of the overwhelming mass of the crowd, peacefully standing up for the sanctity of the Sabbath – but rather of the tiny fraction of the crowd that… threw rocks, set trash bins aflame and vandalized public property.
Drawing a comparison between the Iranian protesters and the chareidi protesters blatantly misses the entire point of why the chareidim are criticized. Chareidim define themselves as adherents to the highest standards of religious observance. Destruction of property and vandalism are wrong, but that alone is not what irks the public about the behavior of the chareidi protesters. What is irksome is the hypocrisy of wrapping oneself in the mantle of religious piety while at the same time performing acts which any decent person recognizes as wrong. That element of hypocrisy is what separates the chareidim from the Iranians. Indeed, we should hold ourselves to a higher religious standard -- both bein adam l'chaveiro, in terms of respecting others rights and property, and not just bein adam laMakom.