Hasmonean High School has intervened to cancel a talk by Sholom Rubashkin, a former kosher slaughterhouse chief executive convicted of fraud who was 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 was not arranged by the school. It is part of a tour that is billed as including talks in “Stamford Hill, Golders Green and Gateshead”.
The tour has triggered a backlash by those who oppose his visit and more than 150 people have signed an online petition calling for it to be cancelled.
Hasmonean Executive Headteacher Andrew McClusky messaged New London Synagogue Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, who has raised his concerns with him.
In the message, 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.”
He added: “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 is experiences on Monday January 14.
The event titled Faith Trust and Hope was part of a speaking tour which sees Mr Rubashkin speaking to UK audiences for the first time since his release from prison.
Mr Rubashkin is the former chief executive of Agriprocessors, Inc, which was the largest slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant in the United States.
In 2017, Mr Trump said the 27-year sentence he received for fraud 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 8 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 attorneys general under Presidents George W Bush, Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson, all supported Mr Rubashkin.
The petition opposing his UK tour says: “We are all in favour of freedom of speech but that does not mean we give everyone a platform.