The EVP of Young Israel who helped broker and run the Agriprocessors-paid junket to Postville aimed at exonerating Agriprocessors has a lot to say about that trip.
…much of it seems to be not quite true.
Here is the mp3 of Rabbi Lerner's appearance on Zev Brenner's Talkline Network radio show last night.
Then ask yourself how what Lerner did is any different from what the Red Cross did, for example, during WW2, when it "inspected" Theresienstadt ghetto. (Hat Tip to Luke Ford for this striking observation.)
Lerner misrepresents what took place in the St. Bridget's meeting and how that meeting came to be.
Lerner doesn't even begin to think about why a worker would tell Lerner or any other rabbi about Agriprocessors' abuses when that worker is standing in Agriprocessors talking to a rabbi who is clearly friendly with the Rubashkins and plant management.
And, as you'll see, Lerner avoids the real issues.
What Lerner does not address:
1. After a months-long investigation, a few hours before Lerner spoke Iowa's Department of Labor asked the state attorney general to prosecute Agriprocessors for "egregious" violations of child labor law on a scale never before seen in the state. 24 child laborers were arrested in the May 12 immigration raid. One was 13 years old.
2. 12 days ago, Jeff Abbas of Postville Radio (with a small assist from me) broke the news that federal officials seized almost 100 fake green cards and other fake identity documents from Agriprocessors' Human Resources department. Some of those fake green cards were were found in a neat stack on an HR desk, apparently waiting to be used.
3. This dovetails neatly with hundreds of depositions taken from Agriprocessors illegal workers, may of which claim that Agriprocessors itself arranged fake green cards, fake social security numbers, and other fraudulent documents.
4. It also dovetails neatly with the testimony of a translator employed by ICE who worked with the arrested workers. He claimed most workers are illiterate even in Spanish, and could not when shown tell the difference between a green card and a social security card. Many of the workers he translated for claimed Agriprocessors gave them their fake identity documents – for a price.
5. And then, of course, Agriprocessors and the Rubashkin family have a long history of state and federal regulatory actions taken against them, along with other questionable behavior. (Much more here.)
These five things – and there are more that could be added – are not "rumors" or wild allegations.
They are facts and evidence that demonstrate a pattern of lawlessness and disregard for large chunks of the Code of Jewish Law.
Rabbi Lerner does not address these issues because he cannot. To do so would effectively mandate removal of kosher supervision from Agriprocessors.
And Rabbi Pesach Lerner will never advocate that.