School cancels talk on ‘trust’ by US fraudster
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.”