We are Lubavitchers… and Janet Reno is Charedi

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The Forward this week has a story about the effort to secure just treatment for Sholom Rubashkin, regarding whom prosecutors have asked for a 25-year sentence, down from their earlier request for a life sentence. Despite the obviously disproportionate sentencing request for a first-time offender convicted of bank fraud, the Forward casts all of Rubashkin’s supporters as exclusively Charedi, even calling Rabbi Pesach Lerner “a Lubavitcher who is the executive vice president of Brooklyn’s National Council of Young Israel.” [Besides the fact that the NCYI is in Manhattan, the revelation that Rabbi Lerner is a Lubavitcher surely comes as a shock to all who know him, not least of all himself.]

And what of Janet Reno and five other US Attorneys General dating back to the Johnson Administration, several deputy attorneys general and solicitors general (including Kenneth Starr), other non-Jewish judges and US attorneys nationwide? They were “convinced,” according to the Forward, somehow cajoled into defending other than simple justice. According to the Forward, the “non-Haredi” view is that “Rubashkin exploited poor illegal immigrants, some of them underage. He cheated banks and caused great economic harm to the small Iowa town.”

The “great economic harm,” of course, was arguably not the result of any extraordinary violation of labor laws by the Agriprocessors meat plant, but rather the extraordinary raid by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which shut down the plant and Postville’s economy. Agri was represented by the same attorney who prevented a raid on a plant suspected of employing over three times the number of illegals, who indicated Agri desired to comply fully, and whose request to “avoid the dangers and disruption of a raid” in this case was summarily denied. And despite the supposedly egregious nature of the “exploitation” of illegal workers, all employment-related charges were dropped.

So all that is left is the bank fraud charges, the “basis” for the request for a 25 year sentence. This was the sentence meted out to Bernie Ebbers, who caused WorldCom’s shareholders $2.2 billion in losses. It is greater than the recommended sentences for second-degree murderers, terrorist bombers and child rapists.

This would appear to leave open at least an alternate differentiation between the two groups: that it is not between the “Charedi” and “secular” worlds at all, as the Forward would have its readers believe. Rather, on the one hand you have those who believe that even a Charedi lawbreaker is entitled to equal treatment under the law — explaining the co-existence of Lubavitchers, Ed Meese and Janet Reno under the same broad tent. On the opposite side, one has not a fair-minded “secular” community, but those within that community, perhaps disproportionately represented among the Forward readership and certainly on its editorial staff, for whom schadenfreude overtakes fairness when it comes to the Charedim.

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15 Responses

  1. mycroft says:

    “I wonder ho much protests, petitions, public campaigns,etc. can help Rubashkin. Could it anger the justice system and make them even more stubborn? Do the “mavenim” reccomend this campaign?”

    As a tactical question I agree with the poster-the judge has the power and the last thinganyone would want to do is attempt to pressure someone who has a lifetime appointment.

    “I frankly do not understand why Rabbi Rubashkin is getting a jail sentence at all. If he is guilty of financial misrepresentation of some kind, then let him pay back the money he owes, and be done with it.”

    For better or worse that is not how the American Justice system works-white collar crimes do not have great civil penalties the only realistic deterrent is the rare chance of being sent to jaif for a long time.

    One must realize that a count of mail fraud and wire fraud can lead to a 20 year sentence. Thus, one can see how quickly finacial crimes can generate extremely large sentences. If one goes to trial one faces much larger sentences and certainly if one maintains ones innocence after conviction rightly or wrongly one will likely be facing a much greater sentence.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    The problem with reports from biased media is that, even when the events or people involved might otherwise have remained unknown, no detail can be assumed to be true unless it is confirmed by further investigation.

  3. L. Oberstein says:

    Mr. Cohen asks why many Orthodox Jews continue to purchase and read The Forward?
    Though I am not a subscriber of that particular paper, I do get others that have their own agendas, like the New York Jewish Week . Why do I read them? Becsuse they report things that are covered up and purposely ignored by the Yated or Hamodia. It is a joke that every Israeli chareidi knows that Lupolianski was arrested but you won’t find a word about it in the chareidi papers. Imagine if we lived in a society where access to information were heavily censored and only news that fits into the party ideology was allowed to be known, would we want to live in that socity. Imagine, North Korea, Iran. Again I would have to ask in what way is current chareidism identical with the Yiddishkeit of our grandparents? They had a vibrant press and lots of debate.

  4. Raymond says:

    I frankly do not understand why Rabbi Rubashkin is getting a jail sentence at all. If he is guilty of financial misrepresentation of some kind, then let him pay back the money he owes, and be done with it. The fact that he is getting a jail sentence at all, let alone such an absurdly long one at that, especially when compared to murderers and terrorists who get far lighter sentences, leads me to the very reasonably conclusion that the antisemites of this world are once again up to their old trick of using our Jewish people as convenient scapegoats.

  5. Mr. Cohen says:

    Bob Miller said in comment #1:

    The Forward, begun as a Yiddish language paper dedicated to socialism and opposed to the Jewish religion, is now published in English, but with all its original biases intact.”

    So why do many Orthodox Jews continue to purchase and read The Forward?

    May I live to see the day when Orthodox Jews stop buying Orthodox-bashing newspapers and all Jews stop buying newspapers that are biased against Jews or their land.

  6. cvmay says:

    BMiller,
    I can agree and disagree.
    There is a dearth of frum reporters on the Israeli scene that is true. Yet if it is an issue of importance (eg: Emanuel bais yakov issue) they will use an on site reporter to give over the news as ‘they want it to be perceived’.

  7. Bob Miller says:

    Cvmay,

    I’d guess that the Torah newspapers try to make up for their lack of reporters in the field by cutting and pasting items from the general media, publicity releases, syndicated columns, etc., hoping to exclude lies about Israel and the Jews. But some such lies do get through. I have been aghast more than once at seeing syndicated editorial cartoons by the antisemitic Pat Oliphant (not the obviously bigoted ones, of course), but realize that their inclusion was only an oversight.

    However, the Forward is very deliberate about what it does.

  8. cvmay says:

    What’s the big to do about the journalism of the FORWARD or the JEWISH WEEK?
    Every written media has an agenda to push and push they do….there is guilt in every newspaper printed. Have you noticed how frequently the Torah newspapers report the news from Haaretz, Reuters and AP? Some of these news agencies are strongly biased towards the Palestinian Arab agenda and the inaccuracies are blatantly digested by every reader. Reb Noah Weinberg zt”l spent time, effort and resources establishing ‘Honest Reporting’ to point fingers and bring legal action against those who malign and turn the tide against Israel with malicious lies (or facts as the world hears it). YET open any Torah newspaper and you will be treated to Israeli facts/lies/bias/news written by BBC, Haaretz and others. WHY????

  9. Steve Brizel says:

    The Forward has a long record in its present reincarnation as an Orthodox bashing rag. At the risk of sounding very relative, I think that the following observation is appropriate. Wothout excusing Rubashkin’s problematic way of running his plant, I think that it is obscene to compare his conduct with Madoff. As far as I know, noone lost a job or house, no foundations closed and noone R”L took their own life as a result of Rubashkin’s conduct.

  10. L. Oberstein says:

    Rabbi Pesach Lerner is a force for moral justice and has transformed the Young Israel Movment into a vital organization. I wonder ho much protests, petitions, public campaigns,etc. can help Rubashkin. Could it anger the justice system and make them even more stubborn? Do the “mavenim” reccomend this campaign?

  11. dr. bill says:

    “… for whom schadenfreude overtakes fairness when it comes to the Charedim.” ought be balanced by similar outrage at those claiming blood libel and/or making requests in the name of pidyon shivuim. One wonders about what might be driving excess on all sides?

  12. Sammy Finkelman says:

    No, when the Forward was published in Yiddish, it was more informed. If it had a strong Socialist bias, that was very early in its history, well before World War II. . And whatever boas it did have was maybe in what it chose to cover and how it viewed matters on which there caan be an opinion if it is good or bad.

    The old Yiddish forward might have perhaps had an article discussing the various efforts being made to help Sholom Rubashkin (where it would attempt to include at least an allusion to anything people might be familiar with) and it might have a more or less opinion article on “The Tragedy of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin” speculating as to how he got to this point. He probably did not start out to defraud anyone or not pay back a loan. It might partially blame other members of his family.

    The article would have something on the mystery of the extremely strong prosecution, maybe trying to find a reasonable explanation for the government. Now some of what they said would not be right, but it would stay closer to the facts. There’d also be several not quite identical points of view in the newspaper and there would be a lot about it.

  13. Esther says:

    There was a rally in Kiryas Yoel for Rubashkin (an incredible kiddush Hashem deserving of its own article). Is Satmar also Lubavitch?

  14. Bob Miller says:

    The Forward, begun as a Yiddish language paper dedicated to socialism and opposed to the Jewish religion, is now published in English, but with all its original biases intact. It’s clear that these biases prevent the Forward from ascertaining even the most rudimentary, available facts about those it demonizes.

  1. March 14, 2011

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