The problems with the Lubavitch

“The Village Voice” on the other crimes of the Rubashkin’s
December 29, 2008, 5:50 pm
Filed under: crime, Crown Heights, Dishonesty, Greed, Iowa Slaughter House, Kosher

The following story is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Village Voice on Dec. 3, 2008. The author is Elizabeth Dwoskin.

The Fall of the House of Rubashkin

As the nation’s largest kosher empire implodes, Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox Jews begin to break ranks

By Elizabeth Dwoskin

Tuesday, December 2nd 2008 at 2:16pm

Until three years ago, Miriam Shear and her husband were philanthropists who had given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Jewish charities, supporting schools in Boca Raton, Florida, Memphis, and Louisville. They say that the Rubashkins’ strong-arm business practices drove them into bankruptcy.

The Shears had grown wealthy selling alarm systems and life insurance. As members of a small community of Orthodox Jews living in Memphis, they ran a successful kosher-food bank that served a few hundred Jewish families. Incensed at what they say were astronomical prices for kosher food—a three-pound block of cheese at Kroeger’s, the only grocery in town, cost $25—the couple decided to open a rival store in 2003. They called their business the Kosher Case Club. Hoping to expand into meat and poultry, Shear met with Heshy Rubashkin at Lubinsky’s annual kosher-food show in New York. But Heshy, who was already doing a brisk business with Kroeger’s, refused to sell to her, she says.

Shear found another distributor in Atlanta and began selling meat processed by two of Rubashkin’s competitors, Empire Kosher and Alle Processing, and chicken shipped from Canada. Shear says she was able to significantly bring down the price of perishable items—she sold cheese blocks for $16, and skinless, boneless chicken that went for $18 at Kroegers she sold for $8. Shear says that she quickly learned how easy it was to profit by creating competition in a niche industry in which prices were being kept artificially high. After the Memphis Jewish Journal featured her store in an article, she was so successful that customers began driving from as far as New Orleans to shop there. Soon, she began to receive calls from Jews in other parts of the South who wanted her to open additional stores. In Tampa, where the only kosher meat for sale came from Agriprocessors, grocers told her that shipments sometimes contained meat so discolored that it had to be thrown away. But if you complained to the Rubashkins, they told her, the orders would simply stop coming. Members of the Lubavitch sect told Shear something that has been corroborated by others: Their rabbis told them that they should only buy meat from Agriprocessors—nothing else was considered pure enough.

In 2005, Shear met with the regional representative for her Atlanta distributor, Hudie Lipszyc. She says Lipszyc had driven six hours from Atlanta because he needed to tell her something. The distributor warned her to get out of the kosher-food business, telling her, she says, that if she didn’t, the Rubashkins would retaliate.

She says he actually used the words, “They are going to squash you,” which turned out to be the same phrase two other people later used to describe the Rubashkins. And when she told Lipszyc she had no plans to close her store, he told her that she was actually in danger.

(Lipszyc tells the Voice that he did, indeed, warn Shear that she should leave the business, but he denies warning her specifically about the Rubashkins. He says he may have used the word “squashed,” but if he did, it referred to competition generally. He denies that his warning referred to physical danger.)

Incensed, Shear told Lipszyc that not only was she going to ignore his advice, but she planned to open another store in Detroit.

Before she moved to Detroit, however, she consulted with the vaad, the local rabbinical council there. Detroit had only one kosher grocery store, One Stop Kosher, and the meat counter in the back was run by Shlomo Luss, a Rubashkin distributor, who serviced the entire region. In Detroit, Agriprocessors meat was also the main source in town. Shear wanted to obtain permission from the rabbis before opening up shop. As she was driving back to Memphis, she received a phone call from the vaad: They gave her the go-ahead and assured her that she wouldn’t be treading on anybody’s territory.

The Shears immediately turned the car around and drove back to Michigan. They purchased a home, renovated a warehouse, and bought thousands of dollars’ worth of cash registers, freezers, and other equipment necessary to run a store.

In September 2005, a few weeks before they were going to open the branch, Shear got another call from the vaad: The distributor was taking her to a rabbinical court. Shear called the distributor. Shear says Luss threatened to spread a rumor that the Canadian chicken looked so clean because it was bleached, and that the meat she was going to sell didn’t hold up to kosher standards. Once again, she says, she was told that the Rubashkins would “squash” her. Luss couldn’t be reached for comment.

Soon, Shear’s friends began to tell her about rumors spreading in the community: that her meat lacked kosher certification. Shear scrambled to get a certification letter from the Orthodox Union. She tacked the letter up in her store. But the rabbinical court made things difficult, issuing the decision that she could sell meat only by the caseload, which she says made it almost impossible to do business. (The vaad disputed this at the time.) She ignored the decision and went ahead. But a month after opening, some distributors that she had lined up to stock the store with products suddenly stopped selling to her. Shear says they didn’t return her calls.

In July 2006, nine months after opening, the Shears shut the doors of their Detroit store. They were almost bankrupt. Their house went into foreclosure. They say they could barely afford to pay their children’s health insurance. They packed up 12 suitcases and moved to Israel, where Shear is working two part-time jobs to pay the bills. “We went from being very wealthy people to being totally financially devastated. And from something that started as a mitzvah,” she says, using the Hebrew word for “good deed.” “We went from being people who gave in the six figures of tzedakah [charity] to being totally wiped out. This has been a total nightmare.”

The Shears’ ordeal was well known in Detroit’s Jewish community and sparked an internal battle within the vaad itself. In September 2006, the Shears received a settlement of $160,000 from the distributor and the vaad. The settlement was just enough, she says, to make up for the salary she had lost during the year. In 2006, the Justice Department began an antitrust investigation into the entire kosher-meat industry.

Shear isn’t the only person who says the Rubashkins don’t always play fair. Simon Fields owns a kosher supermarket in South Florida. He says that when he stopped selling Rubashkin products five years ago, the local Lubavitch rabbi told his congregants to stop buying meat from his store because it was no longer kosher, even though he had a valid Orthodox Union certification.

Men in long black coats and women wearing stiff wigs crowd the benches of the courtroom at the Federal Building in Philadelphia. The room is packed, so the men remaining outside wait to take turns with the ones indoors.

Early on the morning of Monday, November 3, dozens of people had taken a charter bus from Crown Heights, the center of New York’s Lubavitch Jewish community. Even more had carpooled. They had come for the sentencing of Moshe Rubashkin, chairman of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council (a powerful nonprofit) and former owner of Montex Textiles in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

When a still-unidentified arsonist started a blaze at the Montex plant in 2005, it burned down with 300 drums of hazardous chemical waste inside. Rubashkin subsequently pleaded guilty to illegally storing the waste, which had been transported from a textile factory his family owned in New Jersey. But the city says he refused to pay the $450,000 in cleanup until the EPA forced him to do so. Allentown’s city solicitor, Martin Danks, says the Rubashkins still owe millions of dollars in unpaid taxes.

Inside the courtroom, Rubashkin, an excitable 51-year-old man—his defense lawyer had claimed he was suffering from attention deficit disorder—listens in silence as a prosecutor blames him for endangering the people of Allentown with his carelessness. But when it comes time for him to speak, Rubashkin launches into a stream-of-consciousness oration—not about Montex or Allentown, but about the history of the Jewish community in Crown Heights, and about Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who is known as “the rebbe” to Lubavitch Jews, a revered rabbi who died in 1994

The next day—Election Day—Moshe Rubashkin is sentenced to 16 months in federal prison for illegally storing the hazardous waste.

It’s not his first felony conviction. In 2002, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison after writing $325,000 in bad checks from an empty Montex account. A few months after being released from prison, thousands elected him to lead the community council, where one of his most important jobs is helping to select the rabbis who certify the kosher standards for meat that comes into the neighborhood. And while Moshe had practically no hand in running Agriprocessors, his role in the community council makes his the face of the Rubashkins in Crown Heights.

They hire high-powered lawyers—a former Iowa U.S. attorney was handpicked as the Postville plant’s chief compliance officer after the raid. Representing Aaron Rubashkin on and off since the 2004 animal-cruelty scandal is the celebrated constitutional lawyer Nathan Lewin, who defended former president Richard Nixon in one of the 27 cases he has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier this year, Lewin petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the Rubashkins’ contention that immigrants at the Agriprocessors distribution center in Sunset Park don’t have a right to unionize, because they are undocumented. Lewin’s argument involves overturning a national labor-relations board position and a prior Supreme Court decision affirming that right. (Earlier this month, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.)

The Rubashkins also have a slick PR team. In May, the Rubashkins hired Ronn Torossian of fancy Manhattan firm 5WPR, whose client list has included Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild fame as well as Paris Hilton.

(Please read the whole story on the website of the Village Voice…there are so many other victims)

Post Script:
In a community where it is practically taboo to speak out against the Rubashkins, dissent is finding an outlet on the Internet. On the most popular blogs in Crown Heights (such as or, every news item about the Rubashkins is heavily debated, sometimes receiving hundreds of responses. The Agriprocessors crisis has exploded long-lingering conflicts about how an intensely religious person, who follows a code of “divine” law, should regard the rules of the larger society.

Some argue that the Rubashkins have a greater obligation to the people of Crown Heights than they do the laws of the United States.


Lubavitch from Mumbai and Diamonds
December 29, 2008, 5:42 pm
Filed under: crime, Dishonesty, Mumbai Chabad

Israel Diamond Exchange to Hold Memorial Service for Victims of Mumbai Attacks Avi Krawitz Posted: 12/10/08 03:29

RAPAPORT… The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) has scheduled a memorial service for victims of the Mumbai terror attacks. The service will take place in the exchange at 4 p.m. today, Wednesday, December 10. India’s ambassador to Israel, Navtej Sarna, will attend the ceremony, as will family members of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the Chabad emissaries killed in the attacks.

In a notification for the event, IDE president Avi Paz stressed the strong relationship that has developed between the Israeli and Indian diamond communities. “Israelis work on a continual basis with many Indian diamantaires, and they are an inseparable part of our exchange,” Paz said. “These deadly terror attacks have cost a heavy price to both nations and unite us in this difficult hour.”

The attacks of November 26 claimed the lives of nearly 200 people, among them six Israelis, including Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife, who were well known for their hospitality toward Israeli diamantaires visiting Mumbai. IDE said it expects hundreds of Israeli diamantaires and Indians living in Israel to attend the service.

I Guess nude stockings,slingback open toe shoes, and tight short skirts aren’t okay for a Lubavitch rabbi’s wife
December 29, 2008, 5:34 pm
Filed under: Entitlement, The poor women

Friday, December 26, 2008

What Not to Wear

Some in Crown Heights detect modesty crisis

By Marissa Brostoff

An outsider visiting Crown Heights might be forgiven for thinking that the women in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood represent the height of modesty. But some in the Brooklyn community, where the Chabad-Lubavitch movement is based, are concerned that modesty standards are slipping, and have launched a campaign to counter the trend.

Thus far, the effort—­organized by a woman named Sheyna Goldin, with the approval of Chabad’s women’s organization, N’Shei Chabad—has involved putting up 500 posters encouraging adherence to modesty laws. But not everyone in the organization agrees with Goldin’s approach, and a frisson of disagreement has broken out over it—and whether the declining standards are even anything new.

“It’s Not Just a Good Idea, IT’S THE LAW!” proclaim the posters, which appeared recently on Kingston Avenue and other neighborhood thoroughfares. The fliers go on to list the laws of tznius, or modesty (modest dress must begin at age three; shirts must cover collarbones; skirts must cover knees) and their talmudic sources. Fine print at the bottom explains the spiritual rewards for modest dress and the consequences for disregarding it.

Even in Crown Heights, such public pronouncements of religious law are unusual—which was the point, Goldin argued.

“Everything is out in the street now; it’s kind of corresponding to the times,” she said, in an interview with Nextbook. “In the shuls, not everyone would see it. It’s more emphatic, like we really mean business.”

“You have to set the standard, not lower yourself to it,” echoed Esther Rochel Spielman, who coordinates subscriptions for N’Shei Chabad’s newsletter. Spielman said that she was seeing more short or slit skirts and tight clothing on young women in the community.

“There is a decline in the men also, the teenagers,” she added. “A lot of them will think it’s cool to go without tsisis [ritual fringes].”

But even some who agree that modesty standards are slipping find Goldin’s approach too aggressive.

“Modesty standards have been declining for decades,” said Bronya Shaffer, a mother of 10 who teaches and lectures in the community on Jewish family life. Shaffer, who was sitting in her dining room surrounded by hundreds of religious books, picked up a copy of the New York Times Magazine that was lying on the table beside a copy of a Chabad magazine and gestured disapprovingly at a risqué Chanel advertisement on the back cover. But the posters also made her wince.

“The medium itself is antithetical to the very essence of modesty,” she said of the posters. “It’s not the Chabad way. I cringe at the specter of kids, young boys and girls, reading in huge letters, in bold technicolor, about uncovered legs and necklines and tight clothing.”

Goldin said that the posters are directed toward both Lubavitchers who live in the neighborhood and visitors to the community.

“The darkness in the world is very great and influences everybody,” Goldin said. “The posters are a fortification and a reminder that this is really not just a nice thing, but a total law from the Torah.”

Sara Labkowski, the dean of a school for young women in the process of becoming more religious, said that because Crown Heights, unlike more isolated ultra-Orthodox enclaves, is “a very open community” located in the heart of Brooklyn, the posters would help to remind young Lubavitchers in the neighborhood of the modesty laws. She helped to distribute flyer-sized versions of the poster at a vigil for the Chabad emissaries killed in the recent terrorist attack on Mumbai.

For Spielman, the decline in modesty is just another sign of what she believes is directly on the horizon.

“I guess we’re getting very close to the moshiach,” she said, using the Hebrew word for messiah. “The satan [devil] tries to attack in any ways he could.”

The Israel Right and Hindu Right…. how they used the Lubavitch in Mumbai and the Indian Government
December 29, 2008, 5:21 pm
Filed under: separation of church and state

India’s Reckless Road To Washington Through Tel Aviv

By Vijay Prashad

26 December, 2008


On Thursday, November 27, in the middle of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Imran Babar, one of the terrorists, called India TV from Nariman House. He used a cellphone that belonged to Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, the co-director of the Chabad-Lubavitch Center. The following day, Babar and his associates killed Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka. The phone call he made was not long. Babar opened with a comment that made little sense to most people: “You call [Israel’s] army staff to visit Kashmir. Who are they to come to J &K [Jammu and Kashmir]? This is a matter between us and Hindus, the Hindu government. Why does Israel come here?”

Little is known of Babar’s babbles outside the confines of Hakirya, the “campus” of the Israeli high command, and of South Block, which houses the Indian External Affairs and Defense ministries. What he referred to are the growing military and security ties between India and Israel. As well, he might have referenced the now rather solid links between the Hindu Right and the Israeli Right, and how their view of the conflicts that run from Jerusalem to Srinagar mirror those of the jihadis like Babar. Imran Babar and his fellow terrorists come to their critique from the standard anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism that blinds many aggrieved jihadis. Rather than make a concrete assessment of their grievances, they take refuge in as mythical a world as sketched out by the Israeli Right-Hindu Right, where Jews, Hindus and America are arrayed against Muslims.

That the terrorists attacked the Chabad-Lubavitch Center has renewed the call to see the commonalities between the victims of terrorism, whether those in a Haifa restaurant or a Mumbai train, between 9/11 and 11/26. To do so flattens out a significant differences, and reduces the violence to their acts themselves rather than to the social context that leads people to acts of terror. Mumbai provokes the Right to seek recourse to the solutions of war and surveillance, methods that might create a moment’s sense of security before the wily adversary finds a new technological means to strike back. There is no common technical solution: better sniper rifles or iris scanners, better intelligence databases or cattle prods. The weapons used to deal the fatal blow to the terrorists are also incubators of a new generation of terrorists. This is an elementary lesson, lost to those who seek the silver bullet.

Why Does Israel Come Here?

On September 10, 2008, Israel’s top army official, General Avi Mizrahi landed in New Delhi. He met with India’s leading army, navy and air force officials before leaving for a short visit to Jammu and Kashmir. Mizrahi, a long-standing officer in the Israeli Defense Force, lectured senior Indian army officers at the Akhnur Military Base, near the Indo-Pakistan border, on the theme of counterterrorism. Later, in Srinagar, Mizrahi and his Indian counterpart, Army Chief Deepak Kapoor agreed to joint counterterrorism activities, notably for Israeli commandoes to train Indian soldiers in urban combat.

The Mizrahi visit in 2008 is not extraordinary. He had been to India in February 2007. In June 2007, Major General Moshe Kaplinsky brought a team of IDF officers to Jammu and Kashmir, where they met senior Indian officials at the 16 Corps headquarters at Nagrota in the Jammu region near the India-Pakistan border. Kaplinsky’s team discussed the problem of infiltration, how militants from the Pakistani side enter the India. The 720-kilometer barbed wire fence, an echo of Israel’s wall, has not prevented the transit of militants. Kaplinsky came to push other, high-tech means, such as night-vision devices, to help interdict militants. En route to Israel, Kaplinsky’s team went to the Mumbai-based Western Naval Command.

In January 2008, to continue these contacts, the IDF’s chief, Brigadier General Pinchas Buchris came to India and met the top civilians and the top brass. They discussed the procedures to share intelligence on terrorist activity. A week after Buchris returned to Israel, India’s Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta spent time in Jerusalem, meeting IDF heads Gabi Askhenazi and Buchris. Between 2007 and early 2008, all three Indian defense chiefs visited Israel. The framework for these meetings is the 2002 agreement to form an Indo-Israeli Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, a long-standing attempt to create an entente between the armies of India and Israel, and to consolidate the immense arms trade between the two countries (India is now Israel’s largest arms buyer).

The impetus for the relations goes back to the 1990s, when the governing Congress Party began to dismantle the dirigiste Indian State and to withdraw from India’s long-standing non-aligned policy. The Congress government believed that it was time to reassess its relations with the United States, and that the best way to get to Washington was through Tel Aviv. Stronger ties with Israel might soften the reticence in Washington toward India, and lead it to loosen its bonds with Pakistan and China. India banked on Israel to play the broker with Washington. (This is the argument of my book, Namaste Sharon: Hindutva and Sharonism Under U. S. Hegemony, New Delhi: LeftWord, 2003).

In January 1992, the Indian government recognized the state of Israel. The next month, Defense Minister Sharad Pawar called for Indo-Israeli cooperation on counter-terrorism. Israel’s Director-General of Police Ya’acov Lapidot visited India for an international police convention, and returned to Israel with news that the Indian government wanted Israeli expertise on counter-terror operations. Government spokesperson Benjamin Netanyahu told India Abroad (29 February 1992) that Israel “developed expertise in dealing with terrorism at the field level and also internationally, at the political and legal level, and would be happy to share it with India.” In the Congress years, the main arena of cooperation came in arms deals, as India’s massive purchases provided stability to Israel’s previously volatile arms industry.

When the Hindu Right came to power in the late 1990s, it hastened both the economic “liberalization” policy (with a Minister for Privatization in office) and it shifted its attentions to Washington, DC and Tel Aviv: an axis of the three powers against what it called Islamic terrorism was to be the new foundation of India’s emergent foreign policy. The close relationship between Netanyahu (then Prime Minister) and L. K. Advani (the Home Minister of India, and a brigand of the Hard Right) smoothed the path to intensive collaboration. Advani admires Netanyahu’s personal history as a member of the Sayeret Matcal (special forces) unit of the IDF; Advani himself has no such on-the-ground experience. In 1995, when in Israel, Advani happily received Netanyahu’s new book, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism.

Advani has since made it his practice to quote from the book, particularly the view that a “free society must know what they are fighting,” which is the “rising tide of Islamic terrorism.” This was all honey in Advani’s ear. He drew the central concepts of his counter-terrorism policy from his friends in the Israeli government: a wall at the border, threats of “hot pursuit” across it; demur against political negotiation, escalation of rhetoric; limits on civil liberties when it comes to suspects in terror cases. Netanyahu had purposely refused to distinguish between Iran and Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, the PLO and the Muslim Brotherhood. Advani too began to collapse the distinction between Kashmiri separatist groups and post-Afghan war terror outfits based in Pakistan, between aggrieved Indian Muslims and Pakistani proxy forces. As well, Netanyahu and Advani crafted a stage on which to enact an endless battle between Democracy and Terrorism, where the role of Democracy is played by the United States, Israel and India and where the role of Terrorism is played by Islam. It is all simple and dangerous.

During his June 2000 visit to Israel, Advani underscored his adoption of Netanyahu’s framework during a lecture at the Indian Embassy. “In recent years we have been facing a growing internal security problem,” he said. “We are concerned with cross-border terrorism launched by proxies of Pakistan. We share with Israel a common perception of terrorism as a menace, even more so when coupled with religious fundamentalism. Our mutual determination to combat terrorism is the basis for discussions with Israel, whose reputation in dealing with such problems is quite successful.” Advani invited a team of Israeli counter-terrorism experts to tour Jammu and Kashmir in September 2000. Led by Eli Katzir, an aide to Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the team conducted a feasibility study of India’s military security needs and offered suggestions for Israeli assistance. Three years later, Israel and India signed a military-arms pact that included a specific training mission. Israeli forces would train four new Special Forces battalions of the Indian Army; other battalions would learn the practice of “irregular warfare” and work with the Northern Command in Kashmir.

When the Hindu Right lost the election in 2004 to a Congress-led alliance, the pace of contacts lessened. With both Advani and Netanyahu in the shadows, the alliance lost its main champions. The Congress government recognized how toxic this alliance would be, unnecessarily inflaming an already difficult relationship with Pakistan. This was also recognized within Israel. Efraim Inbar, director of Israel’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, who is actively involved in the Indo-Israeli contacts, recognizes the political problem; “this kind of cooperation needs to be secret if it can be,” he told Newsweek. The military and arms deals between India and Israel continued, even if it was now treated as a sideshow. India remains a major importer of Israeli arms. What lingers in the shadows is the Israeli work in Kashmir. Little is officially revealed of it, even as leaks here and there hint at the extent of the contacts.

Technocrats of Terrorism

Ami Pedazhur, a political scientist from the University of Austin-Texas, joins the chorus on the New York Times op-ed page with suggestions for the Indian government after Mumbai (“From Munich to Mumbai,” December 20). Rather than see anything new in the Mumbai attacks, Pedazhur conjoins it with an unbroken history that stretches back at least to the 1972 Munich attacks. What links Munich to Mumbai is neither the identity of those who kill nor those who are killed, but the means by which the killing occurs. Analysts of terrorism, like Pedazhur, are technocrats of counter-terrorist actions. They study how terrorists operate, and so what best security and military force can constrain them. The public policy that stems from this sort of technocratic view of terrorism has one end, to restrain the terrorist with more security checkpoints, more hot pursuit.

Why does the Indian government take advice from a government whose own security services have a dismal record of preventing terror attacks and whose own armed forces have failed to create stability on its borders? Israel’s weaponry works fine. But Israel’s counter-terror expertise is questionable. Pedazhur takes pride in Israel’s counterterrorism policy. What pride there can be in a regime that maintains its safety through a ruthless military strategy is questionable. The Israeli government, regardless of the party in charge, is conspicuous not only for its treatment of the Palestinians but also, significantly, for its failure to create a secure society for its own citizens. It is easy enough to make the Palestinians the author of the troubles, but this of course ignores the intransigence of Israel’s political leadership to produce a settlement. Because it cannot make a political peace, the Israeli authorities have perfected various technological means to minimize the consequences of its failures. This is what it wishes to export to India. For India, the imports signal the surrender of its leadership to the current imbroglio. Gated countries wallow in fear and hatred.

The costs of the Tel Aviv-New Delhi-Washington axis are too much to bear, at least for India. India cannot afford to mimic Israel’s failed neighborhood policy, nor can it follow the U. S. example that seeks to solve its problems by aerial bombardment. South Asia requires a regional solution to what is without doubt a regional problem, one with its roots in the Afghan jihad of the 1980s as much as the unresolved Kashmir question (with close to a million troops in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian government runs what is tantamount to an occupation – they provide the opposite of security for the residents of the state). When the Afghan civil wars came to a unjust quiet in the early 1990s, the various foreign fighters returned to their homelands, emboldened by their self-perception of their victorious struggle: they went to Chechnya, the Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and into the Kashmir struggle. Pakistan and India are equally victims of these veterans of the jihad, and both have a vested interest in their demobilization. But more than that, there is a danger that as the U. S. amps up its war in Afghanistan and treats Pakistan with contempt, the jihadis will take out their wrath with the same kind of ferocity as they demonstrated in Mumbai. Rather than risk a failed military strategy against the jihadis, it is time for a regional conference on human security, one that includes better cooperation between the states and a program for the lives of those who are driven to the compounds of hatred through their many, many grievances.

Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT His new book is The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World, New York: The New Press, 2007. He can be reached at:

Mumbai Chabad now is a important economic part of the city’s worth….the Lubavitch say
December 29, 2008, 5:15 pm
Filed under: Entitlement | Tags: ,


Not just our faith, terrorists targeted our links to India’s

economy: chief of Jewish Chabad

Y P Rajesh Posted: Dec 25, 2008 at 0034 hrs IST

Afula, Israel: The ultra-orthodox Jewish movement Chabad-Lubavitch believes that its Chabad House centre in Mumbai was targeted during the November 26 Terror strikes not only because of anti-Semitism but also because it was frequented by Western businessmen of Jewish origin who had strong links with their Indian counterparts, and the terrorists wanted to hurt India’s economic interests.

The Chabad House building in downtown Colaba being picked as a target has confounded investigators and security experts as it was hardly known to even locals, leaving them wondering if there was more to it than just the fact that it was a Jewish prayer and meal centre frequented by Israelis.

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, the New York-based global chairman of the Conference of the Chabad-Lubavitch, told The Indian Express that the attackers seemed to be “looking to destroy the economy of India” by creating havoc at the targets they chose in Mumbai. High-technology and the diamond trade were crucial to India and people of Jewish origin were a “component in helping to build the Indian economy” through collaborations, he said.

“They had scattered out and found that many Western businessmen of Jewish faith came to the Chabad House,” he said in an interview at the home of Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg in this northern Israeli town. Rosenberg’s daughter Rivki and her husband Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg ran the Mumbai Chabad House and were killed in the attack along with four other Jews.

“They wanted to hurt the most important part of India and the Indian Government through them. And for the Jewish visitors, it was a home away from home,” Kotlarsky said. Rosenberg, his wife Yehudit, and Kotlarsky will be in Mumbai tomorrow to light lamps at the Knesset Eliyahoo synagogue on the occasion of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights which began on December 21 and ends on December 29.

Investigators in Mumbai have said that anti-Semitism played a role in Chabad House being chosen as a target as this was a part of the indoctrination of the 10 Lashkar-e-Toiba men chosen for the attacks. This, they say, was revealed by Ajmal Ameer Kasab, the lone terrorist caught alive and now in the custody of the Mumbai Crime Branch. Chabad officials said they were not denying anti-Semitism was a factor. In fact, it was a key reason but there seemed to be other motives too and they had all come together, they added.

Kotlarsky said that the attack was a “very big blow” to Brooklyn, New York-headquartered Chabad-Lubavitch as Gavriel and Rivki were “very very special people, very loving, caring and endearing. But ultimately this will only strengthen us because we don’t step back, we don’t see anything from an adversarial position.” He said the movement would return to Mumbai and enlist the help of the local government, seek its approvals, and rebuild the centre in Colaba.

“Doing anything less would be forfeiting victory to these terrorists,” he said as he examined a miniature model of the reconstructed Colaba centre.

Rosenberg, 58, said he wants to visit India frequently to see Chabad House being rebuilt and hoped that the Indian Government would allow him to do so. “I want to keep coming back, I want to bring my family, it will be good for my heart. If not, my heart will take another beating,” he said.

Lubavitch Rubashkin stays in jail…there is a God
December 29, 2008, 5:09 pm
Filed under: crime, Iowa Slaughter House, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Judge Upholds Rubashkin Bail Denial

The Jewish Week

by Stewart Ain
Staff Writer

A federal judge in Iowa refused again Monday to set bail for Shlomo Rubashkin, the former CEO of Agriprocessors, Inc., the bankrupt kosher slaughterhouse, who has been charged with bank fraud and immigration law violations.
“Defendant does not offer any additional facts relating to detention, but simply offers additional conditions which he believes will reasonably assure his appearance at trial,” wrote Magistrate Jon Stuart Scoles.
“The court concludes that defendant’s suggestion of additional conditions of release under these circumstances does not support reconsideration,” he added.
Scoles made passing reference to Israel’s Law of Return, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr., had argued made Rubashkin a flight risk because the law allows all Jews to become citizens the moment they enter the country.

Scoles’ Nov. 20 decision denying Rubashkin bail, the judge cited the law and noted that at least one other Agriprocessors’ defendant — who held Israeli citizenship — had already fled to Israel.
Defense attorneys pounced on the government’s claim in asking Scoles to reconsider his decision.
“It is ironic that a law designed to provide refuge to persecuted Jews has now become the basis for detaining  Jews who might otherwise have been released pending trial,” they wrote.
Deegan repeated the argument in his legal brief rebutting  Rubashkin’s quest for a new bail hearing. He cited the fact that Rubashkin and his wife had traveled to Israel last December as evidence that he has “ties to a foreign country.” He also submitted to the court Rubashkin’s travel itinerary and a receipt from a hotel in Israel.
Deegan wrote also that the “government’s argument that defendant is incrementally more likely to flee because of his de facto citizenship in a foreign country is hardly unusual.” He then cited the case of a defendant who held both U.S. and Iranian citizenship and dual passports.
The prosecutor noted also that it is indisputable that Rubashkin is entitled to Israeli citizenship under Israel’s Law of Return that grants any Jew the right to citizenship and to settle in Israel.
“That defendant’s right to foreign citizenship is based upon defendant’s cultural heritage is solely a matter of foreign law,” the prosecutor argued. “It simply makes no difference, for the purposes of the government’s argument, how that right is derived. Accordingly, it is a mischaracterization to say the government’s argument improperly accounts for defendant’s race or religion.”
Marc Stern, acting co-executive director of the American Jewish Congress and an attorney, said he found “very troubling” the government’s argument that Jews are a greater flight risk because of Israel’s Law of Return.
“I don’t know why the government refuses to withdraw this claim,” he said. “When the implications of the argument were called to the government’s attention and they persisted in it, you have to wonder what is really going on.”
Stern pointed out that Jews are sensitive to allegations that they have loyalty to both the United States and Israel.
“If the government persists in this, we have to wonder what somebody is thinking — or more importantly what somebody is not thinking,” he added.
But in denying Rubashkin a new bail hearing, Scoles said Rubashkin’s lawyers had attached “too much significance” to his mention of the Law of Return in his decision. In fact, he said, he accepts the statement of Rubashkin’s lawyer, Baruch Weiss, that his client would be subject to extradition should he flee to Israel.
Weiss said he plans to appeal the judge’s decision to District Court Judge Linda Reade.
“The position the prosecutor has taken is unconscionable and outrageous,” he said. “We are going to appeal the judge’s decision and hope the prosecutor will not repeat this unconstitutional argument.”

Any possible chance for the Lubavitch to raise money
December 17, 2008, 7:21 pm
Filed under: Greed | Tags: ,

Chabad Seeks To Transform Tragedy Into Opportunity

New York
Jacob Berkman
JTA Wire Service

Baltimore Jewish

Within a week of the attacks, Chabad had raised about $1 million through mailboxes it had opened on—one for helping to raise Moshe, the Holtzbergs’ 2-year-old son who escaped the attack on the Chabad house, and one to help rebuild the Chabad of Mumbai, which was damaged badly by explosions and gunfire during the terrorists’ siege and attempted rescue by Indian Special Forces.

Such publicity and fund-raising efforts in the wake of tragedy may strike some as crass, if not inappropriate and offensive.