The co-leader of the rabbis' staged visit to Agriprocessors, RAbbi Lerner claimed to be an impartial invesigator. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. We've shown that before. Here's some new evidence of Lerner's bias.
The Forward reports:
…Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president of the National Council for Young Israel, an umbrella group for Orthodox synagogues, publicly slammed one of his member congregations for inviting Uri L’Tzedek’s executive director to speak on “Ethical Issues and Kashrut in Jewish Law.”
“I feel embarrassed for the membership of the Young Israel of Stamford,” Lerner wrote, in a statement published by the blog Open Orthodoxy on July 28. “If they want to be lectured to by a young man with limited knowledge of ethics, of kashrut, of the totality of Judaism, by a young man who has limited experience in life in general, in Judaism more specifically, I guess that is their prerogative.”
Lerner’s tone was so scathing that the blog’s editor, Mark Einhorn, wrote that he had originally been reluctant to publish the statement and had only done so at Lerner’s urging.
These quotes are part of a larger Forward article on the fight between rabbis on the left religiously (mostly non-Orthodox) and Orthodox rabbis over Agriprocessors.
The Forward mentions the 2006 "investigation" by Rabbi Asher Zeilingold – another 3 hour tour – that 'cleared' Agriprocessors of the things workers, clergy and law enforcement have now so publicly exposed.
(Rabbi Zeilingold is the rabbi who excommunicated me after first asking me for a meeting and then, as I waited for him, refusing to meet with me without explanation. He excommunicated me two days later without notice or any form of due process.)
Rabbi Asher Zeilingold has a 20 year business relationship with Agriprocessors – he certifies their non-glatt kosher meat. Rabbi Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, Agriprocessors' VP, is a former congregant of Rabbi Zeilingold and a long time friend, as well.
None of this stopped Rabbi Zeilingold from claiming impartiality.
Worse yet, none of stops Jews from eating the food he certifies. And, lest you think you're too 'frum' to eat UMK, Rabbi Zeilingold's supervision, the industrial ingredients, including flavors, he certifies are in almost every kosher food – even 'heimishe' kosher foods – you eat.
And then we have a particularly egregious op-ed from Yated Ne'eman's editor, Pinchos Lipshutz.
Lipshutz – citing Rubashkin's charity – as if that charity somehow makes up for abusing workers and animals, polluting the environment, and other sins. And Lipschutz makes wide-reaching claims of Rubashkin charity in Postville – claims Postville's food shelf and its members dealing with Agriprocessors workers deny.
He even makes the claim that the rabbis as a group met with Agriprocessors' harshest critics – a claim that is demonstrably false.
Lipschitz dismisses every piece of evidence against Agriprocessors as rumors and allegations – even though much of these so-called rumors and allegations have already been proven.
Lipschutz then goes on to speak in glowing terms about Agriprocessors, while at the same time attacking the UFCW union and pretty much anyone else appalled by the Rubashkins' behavior.
He calls for giving Agriprocessors the benefit of the doubt, while at the same time denying that same benefit to the workers Agriprocessors abused and to those who have spent long hours, day after day, week after week, feeding, housing and caring for them.
And then, we have this perl of wisdom from Rabbi Lipschutz:
Does the Forward believe that those of us who went to Postville simply lied about what we saw? Maybe the thinking is that we can’t be trusted because we are Orthodox — never mind, of course, that the Rubashkins are Lubavitch Hasidim, while most of the rabbis who recently inspected Agriprocessors are mitnagdim.
Never mind most of Agriprocessors' supervising rabbis are not Chabad-Lubavitch or that the river of Rubashkin money flows further than Crown Heights.
As far back as 2003, Agudath Israel of America – not by any means a Chabad organization –was going to bat for Agriprocessors in Washington, lobbying for changes in Humane Slaughter Directives that would only benefit Agriprocessors.
Then, in 2004, at the close of its national convention, Agudah leaders Rabbi David Zwiebel and Nathan Lewin told a hushed crowd that PETA was about to smear Agriprocessors, and that the New York Times would be printing a story on Agriprocessors animal abuse the next day.
Calling it an attack on shechita, Lewin and Zwiebel asked for a voice vote condemning PETA and supporting Rubashkin.
They vote was unanimous in support of Agriprocessors, even though only one Agudah member – Lewin – had seen the evidence.
In other words, thousands of Orthodox Jews voted to condemn PETA and support Agriprocessors on the word of Agriprocessors' attorney alone.
The USDA's Inspector General would later find that Agriprocessors violated Humane Slaughter law. Lewin had lied.
That did not stop Agudath Israel from its continued unqualified support of Agriprocessors, and from its equally unqualified attacks on PETA.
This is the best Orthodoxy has to offer.