Postville Jews protest Rubashkin bail denial - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Postville Jews protest Rubashkin bail denial

by Jamie Grey

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Some members of Postville's Jewish community say a recent federal court ruling involving a former Agriprocessors CEO is religious discrimination.

Sholom Rubashkin continues to sit in the Dubuque County Jail as he awaits trial on federal charges related to the May immigration raid. Last week, a judge denied bail, calling Rubashkin a flight risk. Some say Rubashkin was denied bail because he is Jewish.

On Sunday, dozens of Jews from around eastern Iowa and mostly the Postville area came outside of the jail to say they want to see equal rights for Jews.

The demonstrators set-up a menorah outside of the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center where the jail is housed Sunday afternoon ,on the last night of Hanukah.

"Today is the 8th day of Hanukah. Hanukah is a festival of freedom, of lights, and it's supposed to celebrate freedom from oppression," organizer Amy Dickel said.

The demonstrators say Sholom Rubashkin is being oppressed, held because he is Jewish.

"The Bill of Rights is being totally violated here. To be held, not given bail simply because you're Jewish is wrong. Simply," Dickel said.

Prosecutors say part of Rubashkin's flight risk is Israel's "law of return", which says all Jews can be granted Israeli citizenship if they aren't a public threat. But demonstrators here say Rubashkin has no more direct connection to Israel than any other Jew and is not a flight risk.

"He's no more of a flight risk than you or I. Over 30 families offered to put up their houses as collateral in addition to an entire bail package up to ten million dollars," Dickel said.

Organizers say this demonstration is not about Agriprocessors or just about Rubashkin; it's about equal rights for all Jews.

"If one U.S. Attorney in one state in one town can say, 'all Jews are a flight risk simply because they're Jewish", because we have the Right of Return to become a citizen in iIsrael, then what does that mean for Jews everywhere?" Dickel said.

Organizers of the demonstration say they hope this raises awareness of people around the country about what is happening here Iowa.

In explaining Rubashkin's flight risk, the judge said when Rubashkin was out on bail for other charges two months ago, agents found travel bags of cash and passports packed in Rubashkin's home.

Rubashkin's lawyers maintain he would stay in Postville and say they plan to appeal the decision.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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