Month: June 2010
In the time since our first article of the Rubashkin case came out, Sholom Rubashkin has been found innocent of all 83 (down from 9,311) charges of violating child labor laws. This is significant, because it was the presumption of egregious violation of such laws that led to the unprecedented military-style action against the plant (detailed below), which, in turn, led to the inability of the company to meet its financial obligations, which, in turn, served as the foundation of the situation that led to the charges of bank fraud. In other words, it set up a chain reaction that should never have been set in motion.
Today, June 21, word has just come out that Sholom Rubashkin will be sentenced to 27 years, which is more than that recommended by the prosecution (although less than the outrageous life sentence originally suggested and subsequently withdrawn when, among other things, former attorney generals, including Janet Reno, denounced the sentence as unfathomable).
In any event, in light of today’s events, I wanted to post most of the rest of the Rubashkin article as it appeared in our June issue.
There are few states in the US where the unions possess the immense power that they do in Iowa. The politicians, aware of their significant influence on voters, are out to please them.
For years now, the unions have had their sights set on Agriprocessors, one of the only big businesses in Iowa to work out their own arrangements without completely deferring to the powerful unions, and they finally decided that the time has come to go to war against the enemy.
The unions were not alone in this venture. They had the full support and backing of many groups on the political left and right who all had one thing in common, a xenophobic hatred of outsiders… and Jews. The Rubashkins were the ones who broke the decades-strong barriers and self-imposed isolation of the Iowans. They were the first to establish a successful Jewish business in an area where outsiders were regarded with distrust. Postville residents did eventually learn to appreciate the economic bounty the Rubashkins brought to their neighborhood, but that was still not enough to suppress the latent anti-Semitism that pervaded.
Agriprocessors’ high profile success had struck a raw nerve, and there was no way they were going to be allowed to continue business as usual in Iowa.
An Al-Qaeda Terror Camp?
In the spring of 2008, things were relatively calm in Postville, but as it turned out, it was the calm that comes before the storm.
Read the rest of this entry »
Zman Magazine interviewed Aron Bielski, the last-surviving member of the famed Jewish partisan brothers who fought the Nazis and saved more Jews than Oskar Schindler. The following is an excerpt from this month’s cover story.
…It was evidently far from easy for Aron to open up and share his wartime experiences with us. It was as if he was reliving the horrific suffering of those terrible times all over again. His face told the story of the turmoil he went through as he described what the Nazis did to him, his family, and the Jewish nation.
But when Aron began speaking about his father, the words caught in his throat. He literally choked on the tears and could not bring the words out of his mouth.
It is not difficult to imagine what it meant for a young boy, not yet bar mitzvah, to witness his father being tormented for weeks on end. His tender heart could barely survive the pain, a pain that no child in the world should have to bear.
Aron Bielski was forced to watch as a Belarus policeman, a man who had known the family for many years, grabbed his elderly father, who was walking with the aid of a cane, and slammed him into a wall. The police officer delivered blow after barbarous blow to the elderly R’ Dovid, beating him with the butt of his rifle and breaking several of his bones as his son Aron watched in terror. His father curled up in agony, tried desperately not to scream from pain in a pathetic attempt to spare his already traumatized son.
As Aron recalled this scene, he was visibly shaken. He had to excuse himself and step outside. It was a while before he was able to collect himself and resume our interview. He apologized and confessed, “Until recently I didn’t even have the relief of tears. I wanted to cry but I just couldn’t. My brothers and I lived in New York and we got together frequently, but we rarely discussed the war. We never spoke about those times; it was simply too painful.”