Results from your July 2 Web poll on the Sholom Rubashkin sentencing were disturbing. Nearly three in four respondents believed the sentence meted out was either appropriate or too short. Yes, Rubashkin clearly broke the law and should pay the price, but the punishment should be comparable to sentences handed out to others with no previous record who committed similar offenses. The fact that a half-dozen former attorney generals took the trouble to write a letter expressing their shock at the government’s sentencing guidelines says it all.
What’s disturbing is that the majority of fellow Jews who read the Standard reflexively took a negative view of the situation, probably without even bothering to learn the facts. Isn’t that what we accuse others of doing to us and to Israel? This is eerily similar to the Jonathan Pollard case, where a Jewish man convicted of spying for a friendly nation was given a sentence far greater than the norm for those caught divulging state secrets to an enemy. If we don’t bother to examine the facts before passing judgment on our own people, we shouldn’t complain when those hostile to us do the same.