Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A light Unto the Nations?

We are perhaps on the precipice of the largest Chilul HaShem in recent memory. And that’s saying a lot. If these allegations prove to be true, it will make the Spinka Rebbe look like a choir boy.

A JTA article reports on raid by federal agents on Agriprocessors (better known as Rubashkin) in Postville, Iowa. They are the nation’s largest kosher meat packing facility. This happened after a six month investigation by 12 separate agencies including the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) who were involved in a six-month probe of the facility.

Among the charges is that 80% of their employees are illegal immigrants - including rabbis responsible for kosher supervision. And the use of fraudulent Social Security cards with the apparent knowledge of plant supervisors. There was also misuse of employee payroll tax deductions and other deliberate tax fraud.

But the biggest news is the operation of a methamphetamine laboratory. That’s right. Agriprocessors had an illegal drug lab on its premises, and that was known to at least one of its supervisors.

And as if that weren’t enough, here are some other nuggets reported by sources to the

After the discovery of active methamphetamine production in the plant, the source partially destroyed the lab. That led to a physical confrontation with his (or her) immediate supervisor- after which that source was fired.

Here is a lovely one:

In February, Source #7 told ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents he or she observed a Jewish floor supervisor duct-tape the eyes of an undocumented Guatemalan worker shut and hit the Guatemalan with a meat hook, apparently not causing serious injuries. The Guatemalan did not want to report the incident because "it would not do any good and could jeopardize his job."

How about this:

On May 4, 2006, sources #8, #9 and #10 were arrested in connection with an investigation of the production of a potential explosive device found in a vehicle registered to a resident of Postville. The materials likely came from the Agriprocessors mechanical shop. Two sources had obtained employment there with fraudulent documents they had purchased, and all were illegal immigrants.

The company has also been accused in the past of environmental pollution, of packaging and selling contaminated food products, and of inhumane treatment of animals before and during slaughter.

I am surprised by the scope and enormity of these accusations. I am not, unfortunately surprised about the accusations themselves. This is not the first time Agriprocessors has been in trouble. It has been accused of mistreating its workers in the past. And that was the reason the Conservative movement formed the Tzedek Hekhsher, an organization dedicated to seeing that employees are not mistreated.

I’m not sure to what extent the Tzedek Hekhsher people y have been involved since their creation, but obviously nothing has changed since employee abuse was first discovered. If anything things are worse now. Far worse.

There was a lot of hand-wringing at the time about whether this organization should be supported. A Conservative rabbinic organization - it was thought - might be misconstrued as legitimizing Conservative Hechsherim on food. I only wish that they had been fully supported. Maybe most of this massive Chilul HaShem could have been avoided.

I’m not sure what posseses people to go to such lengths to perpetrate fraud against the government… or to mistreat its non Jewish workers. My hunch is that it is in part due to greed. But I suspect it is much more than that. It’s a firmly held view among certain segments in Orthodoxy that sees Non-Jews as non entities – to be treated as objects in achieving personal goals.

I’ve written about this before. It has to do with the historic anti-Semitism - official and unofficial - which has caused our people mass torture and mass death over the millennia, by either governments, its citizens, or both in our host countries, culminating with the holocaust.

The hatred of the ‘evil Goy’ who did this too us was carried forward into this great country of ours and is retained by those whose parents and grandparents experienced this hatred from the ‘evil Goy’ and instilled hatred of that ‘Goy’ into the psyches of their children as virtual Halacha.

So when they think they can get away with cheating or mistreating the ‘Goy’ for their own benefit, they do it. No thought about the individual innocence of the person they afflict. ‘They are all the same. They all Hate Jews.’ ‘They deserve what they get.’ Not a thought about hurting a fellow human being created in the image of God. Not a thought of the Chilul HaShem it will cause. They also think that the ‘Goy’ is to stupid to catch them.

Really? Well, they were caught. Big time! Yes… those ‘stupid bureaucracies’ outsmarted those ‘clever’ Jews. If they are found guilty of even ten percent of the accusations brought against them, I hope they get the book thrown at them. They do not deserve any less. Nor do they deserve our mercy or respect. They deserve only our scorn for what they did to innocent people, the United States of America, and - through the Chilul HaShem – to God and to the Jewish people!