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June 27, 2012

Defamation? Triangle-K, AER Services, File Defamation Suit Against Jewish Paper

Hebrew-national-logoWashington appellate attorney Nathan Lewin has filed a defamation suit in the Beit Din of America against the American Jewish World (AJW) on behalf of AER Services, Inc. and Triangle-K kosher supervision over the paper's coverage of the Hebrew National scandal.


Triangle-K, AER Services Launch Defamation Lawsuit Against Jewish Paper
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

The Cleveland Jewish News reports that Washington appellate attorney Nathan Lewin has filed a defamation suit in the Beit Din of America against the American Jewish World (AJW) newspaper on behalf of AER Services, Inc. and Triangle-K kosher supervision.

Lewin is Sholom Rubashkin's attorney. He was also an attorney for Agriprocessors, the kosher meant giant once owned by the Rubashkin family.

Lewin's belligerent responses to PETA in 2003 and early 2004 led to the undercover videotaping of Agriprocessors slaughter by PETA. Release of those damning and horrific video tapes in November 2004 to the New York Times proved that Agriprocessors was indeed abusing animals at it Postville slaughterhouse. It also launched a scandal that made front pages of newspapers worldwide.

It eventually led to Agriprocessors bankruptcy and the convictions or guilty pleas by several of its middle managers, along with the conviction of it day-to-day head, Sholom Rubashkin, on bank fraud and related charges.

Rubashkin is currently serving a 27-year prison sentence.

Lewin's defense of Rubashkin in the appeal of that case included repeatedly lying about a sitting federal judge by claiming that the words of an ICE agent were in fact the words of the judge, and truncating the intentionally misattributed quote to make it appear to mean something it does not.

Lewin also called that judge "Haman," the archetypal biblical antisemite from the biblical Book of Esther, given in a speech before a group of haredi and Orthodox rabbis.

The AJW is being sued for reporting that Hebrew National, owned by ConAgra Foods, is itself being sued in a class action lawsuit by consumers who claim that Hebrew National falsely represented itself as being stringently kosher.

The AJW broke the news of that lawsuit. But it also reported on allegations made by employees and former employees of AER Services, Inc., the company that provides Triangle-K kosher supervision, Hebrew National's kosher certifier, with the shochtim (slaughterers), bodkim (senior kosher meat inspectors), and mashgichim (kosher meat inspectors) needed to run kosher slaughter operations at five midwest plants that supply Hebrew National.

Those kosher slaughter workers apparently made the allegations of kosher violations cited in the class action suit against ConAgra.

The basis of Lewin's action against the AJW is the claim that the AJW did not attempt to contact AER Services, Inc., members of its management team, and Triangle-K for comment on those allegations before publishing its report.

“Journalistic ethics and Jewish law do not permit besmirching reputations so easily within our community,” Lewin claimed in a statement.

Mordecai Specktor, the editor and publisher of the AJW, confirmed to FailedMessiah.com earlier this month that is had not contacted AER Services before publishing its report.

However, Specktor noted that the AJW did contact ConAgra before publication for comment about the allegations that its contractors were violating kosher law.

ConAgra responded by issuing a brief blanket statement endorsing its Hebrew National brand's products kosher status. That response was printed in the AJW's report.

The beit din suit against the AJW is most likely a precursor to what will be an actual defamation suit filed in a federal or state court against the AJW by AER Services, Inc. and Hebrew National.


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Haredi man, Moshe Yosef (David) Reichenberg, who was electrocuted trying to save a boy's life during a hurricane, to get Carnegie Medal for Heroism.


Kudos to Reichenberg.

As to the topic of this post, as much as I like HN products and have nothing against Triangle-K, I think the lawsuit is spurious. The paper just reported the allegations, as well as the corporate parent's claims. It did not create the lawsuit (which in my opinion is bogus). Next Lewin will want to sue FM for merely reporting chareidi malfeasance. The man's a religious ambulance chaser. But maybe giving HN the attorney as Rubbishcan will give it a halo effect. Maybe the kosherer than thou crowd will come to see that HN is perfectly kosher, just not glatt.(Probably not).

Got to love the new format of Failedmessiah. It used to be cut-n-paste and then Shmarya had to strain to put "his" spin and carefully guide the reader into how to interpret the story. By rewriting the story he can inject items that were not in the origional story to condition the rader.

As an example, from the origional story:

Washington, D.C., law firm Lewin & Lewin LLP has initiated a claim with a New York rabbinic tribunal, the Beth Din of America, against American Jewish World for publishing its report without first consulting AER or Triangle K. “Journalistic ethics and Jewish law do not permit besmirching reputations so easily within our community,” said attorney Nathan Lewin in a statement.

No mention of Rubaskin or Agriprocessor, the "new story" prominently bring this in while not bringing in any other cases that he was involved in.

The spin is in, time to take the bait - hook, line and sinker.

Mentioning Lewin's checkered career is not "spin." It's just important background information. Saying that HN is therefore the same as Rubashkin would be spin, which Shmarya did not do.

Check this out, Nat Lewin's wife is rabbi Aryeh Ralbag's SISTER, and she may well have some role in the VERY lucrative greater "triangle k hechsher" scheme of things!! It's a clear conflict of interest.

Nat Lewin is doing this for his wife and her only brother Aryeh, who has finally over-reached himself by entering the meat business rather than sticking to his father's Yehosef's (who passed away recently at a very old age) method of certifying mostly canned foods and juices.

Is there no ambulance Lewin won't chase on behalf of the frumma?

Failed Messiah special report: Life has been found on Mars. It should be noted that Sholom Rubashkin who was sentenced to 27 years in in prison is also a life.

To allegations of spin failed messiah replies: is not "spin." It's just important background information. Saying that HN is therefore the same as Rubashkin would be spin, which Shmarya did not do.

Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | June 27, 2012 at 07:31 AM

Seriously, I wonder if the Ralbags allow Hebrew National in their home, or even tostitos.

I have now concluded that the greatest liability in any case is Nathan Lewin's mouth.

I have been in the Koshrus business for years going back to the old Morrison and Schiff days before Hebrew National bought them out. Even back then there was always question about the standards of koshrus of Hebrew National before they were under Triangle K. The issue never whether it was glatt meat or not.
Second, why is this even a Beth Din matter, all the paper did was to report about the law suits and alleged irregularities during the process. And, if there might be irregularities, the kosher consumer needs to know about it and needs to know if this issue has been dealt with--one way or another not by courts but by competent Rabbinical authorities.

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