Young Israeli is a troubled organization. So troubled, in fact, that it is leading an Agriprocessors–paid tour to Postville.
Why is Young Israel doing this? Let's see what Rabbi…
“We’re going down to see for ourselves, ask our own questions, and see where the truth lies,” said Rabbi Pesach Lerner, who is executive vice president of the National Council for Young Israel, an umbrella group for Orthodox synagogues that is helping to organize the trip. “We’ve already learned that you can’t trust any of the papers in the media. Too many have their own agenda, and too many write with their own angles.”
With three short sentences Rabbi Lerner has dismissed the work of dozens of reporters.
But worse than that, nowhere does Rabbi Lerner mention what should be the flip side to his argument – every rabbi involved with Agriprocessors must also be viewed as biased and those rabbis' claims should be dismissed.
The same holds true for Agriprocessors and its owners, the Rubashkin family of Chabad-Lubavitch hasidim.
Rabbi Pesach Lerner's little field trip, wholly paid for by Agriprocessors, is not open to the media. It is also not open to gathering accurate information:
“The more people who visit and take an interest in what’s going on in Postville, the better,” Allen told the Forward, adding that if the Orthodox leaders “really want to find out what’s going on, they need to speak not only with people at the plant but they need to speak with the workers, and the workers need to be able to talk openly and honestly, without any fear of intimidation or repercussions.”
Lerner said that no time had been set aside specifically to talk to workers but that Agriprocessors had assured the Orthodox delegation that its members could speak with anyone in the plant. He said he believed that some of the members of the group speak Spanish.
This is simply taking a page out of Rabbi Asher Zeilingold's playbook. Zeilingold, who "investigated" Agriprocessors in 2006 and found absolutely nothing wrong, did exactly what Young Israel is about to do.
PR – no matter how bad – is not a crime (unless 5WPR is involved, that is).
Still, it is hard to find another word to describe what these rabbis are about to do, and what so many rabbis have done before.