Postville's Shame: Man Who Reports Threats Against Jews Attacked
And, I'm sorry to say, this is also Chabad's…
… shame, as well.
I worked for many years in the Jewish community on a national level. I have some experience evaluating and dealing with threats against Jewish targets.
No one has any way to know with certainty whether the threats reported this morning will be acted on, on whether these crimes will be committed.
But I can say with certainty the report itself is credible.
The proper way to react to this type of report is to take every precaution possible.
Unfortunately, the Jewish community of Postville is doing the opposite. They are attacking a man, Jeff Abbas, who as soon as he heard threats, recorded the information and then called Jewish community leaders to warn them.
He did not broadcast the interview, even though he could have, because he did not want to cause panic.
I know the State of Iowa is taking the reported threats very seriously – even if Jewish community leaders like Aaron Goldsmith are not.
Abbas has played a major role in diffusing tensions. He has fed hundreds of people. He played a major role in getting the Jewish community emergency kosher food supplies.
But Abbas has also reported the very real problems of Agriprocessors, and Goldsmith – a Rubashkin crony – and other Jewish community leaders resent him for that.
So they attack Abbas for doing something that may have saved their lives.
It's a company town, and no good deed – even hundreds of them – goes unpunished.
Threat aired against Jewish community in Postville
By Orlan Love
POSTVILLE — Police here are taking seriously an indirect threat against the Jewish community broadcast and posted Thursday on failedmessiah.com, a Web site covering Orthodox Judaism that is focused intently on recent problems at struggling kosher meatpack Agriprocessors.
A disgruntled former Agriprocessors worker, who is not identified by name, told KPVL station manager Jeff Abbas he has heard other disgruntled Agricprocessors workers discussing robbing Postville businesses if "they don't get the money they work for."
The anonymous worker says he has also heard discussion of kidnapping children of Sholom Rubashkin, the former CEO of the troubled kosher meatpacking plant. "Who they really want is the man running Agriprocessors," who is believed to have money inside his Postville home, the man said.
Abbas said he did not broadcast the interview on his radio station but sent it to failedmessiah.com and played it for local law enforcement agencies.
The failedmessiah.com Web site advised Postville's Jewish schools to evacuate immediately and urged members of the Rubashkin family to take precautions.
"This is like yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater. It goes way beyond free speech," said Aaron Goldsmith, a former Postville City Council member and a leader of Postville's Jewish community. "It's absolutely irresponsible. They're taking some guy's venting and turning it into widespread public panic."
Officer Mitch Seitz said the Postville Police Department is taking the threats seriously and has stepped up patrols in response.
Seitz said Jewish schools are operating normally, and there is no credible evidence anyone is in danger.
Asked his opinion of the KPVL broadcast, Seitz said, "We can't tell radio stations what to say or what not to say."
Seitz said police know the identity of the unnamed man on the broadcast but have no intention to interview him, "because he has committed no crime."
Father Lloyd Ouderkirk, a retired pastor at St. Bridget's Catholic Church in Postville, praised Abbas for going public with the interview.
"It's real; it's reflecting a reality of human pain and trauma caused by continual mistreatment of workers at the Agriprocessors plant," Ouderkirk said.
The Agriprocessors plant, which managers said might resume production today, did not, and employees at the now-shuttered plant were not paid, as they had hoped.