But the JTA gets part of the story wrong:
Chabad committee formed to help Rubashkin defense
December 30, 2008
NEW YORK (JTA) -- Chabad members formed a committee to support the legal defense of former Agriprocessors manager Sholom Rubashkin.
Rubashkin, who managed the now-shuttered kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa, was arrested in late October on charges that he helped illegal immigrants secure fraudulent documentation that permitted them to be employed at Agriprocessors. While free on bond he was arrested a second time on bank fraud charges. Rubashkin is now being held in custody following a judge's determination that he poses a flight risk.
“We are a group of guys who, No. 1, are looking to help Rubashkin get out on bail,” committee member Rabbi Shea Hecht told JTA. “And No. 2, to voice our concern because we believe that much of this attack is not just an attack on the Rubashkin family and Agriprocessors, but it's really an attack on kosher food. And it's questionable if it's one step beyond that -- an attack on Jews.”
Prosecutors claimed that a travel bag with money, silver coins and passports were found in Rubashkin's home and that -- partly because Israel's Law of Return grants Jews automatic citizenship -- the former plant manager posed a risk of flight. Magistrate Judge Jon Scoles concurred and ordered Rubashkin detained until trial. A request to reconsider that decision was denied. Lawyers for Rubashkin are said to be considering an appeal.
The successful use of an argument based on Israel's Law of Return has sparked significant concernnot only among members of Chabad, but in the wider Jewish world, where it is feared such claims could be used to deny bail to Jews on the basis of religion alone.
Leading figures from several Orthodox organizations, including the National Council of Young Israel and Agudath Israel of America, reportedly are planning solidarity visits to the prison in Dubuque, Iowa, where Rubashkin is being held.
A leading figure in the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, Hecht serves on the board of the National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education, which is supporting the Rubashkin effort through an existing fund for the redemption of Jewish captives -- a mitzvah known as pidyon shvuyim.
The JTA skips all mention of the involvement of Chabad's national prison outreach organization, the Aleph Institute, and skips all mention of Chabad's attempt to cover up its fundraising for Rubashkin (in part because it is using tax deductible donations for Rubashkin's legal defense), and totally misses the story of Chabad's failure to help the victims of Rubashkin's alleged crimes – victims who are overwhelmingly non-Jews.
It also did not check with legal experts or the IRS to see if Chabad's use of tax deductible donations is legal. Chabad is using this tax deductible money in part to advocate for and protect a private for-profit business. And the "fund" Shea Hecht mentions itself is comprised of tax deductible donations.
The JTA also fails to mention that the Aleph Institute started its legal defense fund exactly at the same time it began accepting donations for Rubashkin, and that all money donated to that fund was used for Rubashkin – in other words, this "legal defense fund" was really the "Rubashkin legal defense fund," and Aleph has no real history of raising money to defend accused criminals.
Aleph's role in this affair may even jeopardize its access to federal prisons. But the JTA doesn't explore the issue, either.
Also note this graph, where the JTA seriously downplays the facts:
Prosecutors claimed that a travel bag with money, silver coins and passports were found in Rubashkin's home and that -- partly because Israel's Law of Return grants Jews automatic citizenship -- the former plant manager posed a risk of flight.…
"Money"? $20,000 in cash. The passports were for his minor children. The bag also contained Sholom M. Rubashkin's birth certificate and the birth certificate of his wife, and was found next to open empty lock boxes where the cash had previously, it seems, been kept.
The JTA also fails to mention two Agriprocessors managers who both fled indictment and are now allegedly in Israel, and it fails to mention the other reasons the US Attorney believes Rubashkin is a flight risk.
This is woefully bad reporting.
Nonetheless, it is still good the JTA reported the story. It advanced it by getting confirmation of what I earlier reported.
Perhaps the JTA will follow up and correct the omissions that riddle its report.