The new edition of the Forward has an editorial on the newest Rubashkin scandal. The paper claims the scandal has raised a storm, and that most viewed their coverage of it kindly. It closes with this way:
For the record, we have not received evidence that causes us to doubt our previous reporting. Much of the so-called rebuttal we've seen in various media consists of disproving charges that we never made, or claiming we overlooked facts that actually appear in black and white in our story. For the most part, our facts speak for themselves. As we noted, AgriProcessors accounted for more than half of all slaughterhouse complaints submitted to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration so far this year in Iowa, a state with scores of meatpacking plants.
But a newspaper article isn't an indictment. If community institutions are going to take action — and we believe they should — they need more information. Many of our readers feel the same way; they want to know more before they judge. We'll be following up, and we expect others to do so as well.
My OU contacts today were parroting the Rubashkin party line, attacking the Forward as "anti-Orthodox" and claiming Rubsahkin was railroaded by the newspaper. Unless much changes, the only Orthodox "followup" will be a coverup, similar to the OU's initial coverup of the Rabbi Baruch Lanner abuse scandal and the current attempts by haredim to cover up for Rabbi Lipa Margulies and Yeshiva Torah Temimah.
This means Orthodox laity and non-Orthodox movements will be left to act alone against the Orthodox-controlled kosher establishment. Non-Orthdox Jews consume much of the kosher meat eaten in America. Further, they are close to the sole consumers of Rubashkin's non-glatt output, including David's brand. A boycott led by these groups could cripple Rubashkin and force change.
Will it happen?
If it does not, Judaism will have lost its moral voice in a matter – prevention of worker abuse – that once distinguished Judaism from all other religions and societies, much as the Rubashkin shechita scandal has removed our communal voice from another issue Judaism was once out front on – prevention of animal cruelty.
I believe history (both the Jewish version and the academic) will view this as the most amoral era in Jewish history, a time when minutia printed on a printed page became more important than the very real pain and suffering of both men and women, and of animals.
If the non-Orthodox movements and groups remain silent about Rubashkin abuses, they will teach their children a clear message, that morality takes a back seat to expediency and comfort. No one today is commanded to eat meat. To claim no other product is available, that Rubashkin is our only choice, just does not cut it. You can survive without meat and fowl until truly humane kosher slaughter is widely available. To do any less makes a mockery out of Judaism.
Your children understand that, even if you do not.