School can­cels talk on ‘trust’ by US fraud­ster

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

HASMONEAN HIGH School has in­ter­vened to can­cel a talk by Sholom Rubashkin, a for­mer kosher slaugh­ter­house chief ex­ec­u­tive con­victed of fraud who had been due to speak at the school as part of a con­tro­ver­sial UK tour.

The JC un­der­stands that the event was can­celled af­ter the school re­ceived com­plaints about his visit, which had not been ar­ranged by the school. It is part of a tour that is billed as in­clud­ing talks in “Stam­ford Hill, Gold­ers Green and Gateshead”.

More than 150 peo­ple have signed an online pe­ti­tion call­ing for the tour to be can­celled.

Hasmonean Ex­ec­u­tive Head­teacher An­drew McClusky was alerted to con­cerns about the event by Rabbi of New London Syn­a­gogue Jeremy Gor­don.

In a mes­sage to Rabbi Gor­don, seen by the JC, Mr McClusky said: “Hasmonean can­not be as­so­ci­ated with events of this kind and nor would we wish to be.

“This event ap­pears to have been booked via a third party and the con­tents/speaker were not made clear un­til the ad­ver­tise­ment ap­peared. As soon as I was made aware of the na­ture of this event, I en­sured that it was can­celled, which it now has been.”

Mr Rubashkin, who was con­victed of fal­si­fy­ing fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments to se­cure a loan, had his 27-year jail term for fraud com­muted by Don­ald Trump.

He was due to speak at the girls’ school about his ex­pe­ri­ences on Mon­day Jan­uary 14.

The event, ti­tled ‘Faith Trust and Hope’, was part of a speak­ing tour dur­ing which Mr Rubashkin is due to speak to UK au­di­ences for the first time since his re­lease.

Mr Rubashkin is the for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of Agripro­ces­sors, Inc, which was the largest slaugh­ter­house and meat­pack­ing plant in the US.

The fac­tory was raided by fed­eral agents in May

Con­tro­versy: Rubashkin 2008. Al­most 400 il­le­gal im­mi­grants who had been work­ing there, mainly from Guatemala, were rounded up and de­ported. Mr Rubashkin was charged with bank fraud and em­ploy­ing un­doc­u­mented and un­der­age work­ers but later ac­quit­ted of the lat­ter.

In 2017, Mr Trump said the 27-year sen­tence he re­ceived was ex­ces­sive in com­par­i­son to sim­i­lar cases and ruled that Mr Rubashkin had served enough time.

A state­ment from the White House said: “Mr Rubashkin has now served more than eight years of that sen­tence, which many have called ex­ces­sive in light of its dis­par­ity with sen­tences im­posed for sim­i­lar crimes.

“A bi­par­ti­san group of more than 100 for­mer high-rank­ing and dis­tin­guished Depart­ment of Jus­tice of­fi­cials, prose­cu­tors, judges, and le­gal schol­ars have ex­pressed con­cerns about the ev­i­den­tiary pro­ceed­ings in Mr Rubashkin’s case and the sever­ity of his sen­tence.”

The White House noted that Mr Rubashkin, 57, and a fa­ther of 10, had been sup­ported by a num­ber of le­gal of­fi­cials who agreed with the de­ci­sion to com­mute his sen­tence.

John Ashcroft, Michael Mukasey, Ed­win Meese and Ram­sey Clark, who served as attorney gen­er­als un­der Pres­i­dents Ge­orge W Bush, Ron­ald Rea­gan and Lyn­don John­son, all sup­ported Mr Rubashkin.

The pe­ti­tion op­pos­ing his UK tour said: “We are all in favour of free­dom of speech but that does not mean we give ev­ery­one a plat­form. We be­lieve that crim­i­nals who have been re­ha­bil­i­tated should be al­lowed back into so­ci­ety but that does not in­clude hon­our­ing them to celebrity sta­tus. With­out clear ev­i­dence of pub­lic re­morse, events like this should not be tak­ing place.”

PHOTO: FLASH 90

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