Jewish Lobby Group Demands Suppression of Candidate Who Questions the Kosher Tax
Canadians are a tolerant people. I don’t believe many people wake up in the morning burning with hatred for Jews, or Jains or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Few look in the mirror with a face twisted with rage wanting to kill a Jew or a Jain or a Jehovah’s Witness that day. I suspect most people devote barely a thought to Jews or Jains or Jehovah’s witnesses.
Therefore, I have often wondered why so many lobby groups who claim to speak for Jews go out of their way to call attention to themselves as people who want to silence others.
The National Post (March 14, 2014) reported: “On Thursday, the Quebec office for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) called on the Parti Quebecois to disavow one of its candidates’ apparent support for what CIJA describe as the anti-Semitic ‘kosher tax’ conspiracy theory. The ‘kosher tax’ canard holds that companies pay extortionate fees to Jewish groups in order to achieve kosher certification, thus driving up overall food costs. In reality, such companies as Coca-Cola acquire the certification as a marketing strategy to attract Jewish customers.”
In a separate article the same day, the National Post (March 14, 2014) elaborated: “After a PQ candidate was discovered to have supported a fringe conspiracy theory holding that Jews use kosher food to fund clandestine political causes, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois publicly declared Friday that her party is not anti-Semitic. At Friday campaign stop, Ms. Marois stood by Louise Mailloux, and told reporters the Parti Québécois is not an anti-Semitic party.`
Ms. Mailloux has made repeated public statements backing the idea of the “kosher tax,” a widely debunked canard claiming that kosher certification drives up the cost of food and imposes a de facto tax on secular consumers. ‘This is a religious tax, and it’s a tax we pay directly to mosques, to synagogues and to religious groups. It’s a theft,’ Ms. Mailloux said on a March 2012 edition of Bazzo.tv, a panel show on Tele-Quebec.
Ms. Mailloux, a philosophy professor at the Cégep du Vieux Montréal, had been invited to speak on the issue of halal and kosher certifications, and quickly dominated the discussion with accusations that Quebecers were unwittingly funnelling tens of thousands of dollars to potentially shady religious causes.”
This is a clear case of the suppression of free speech and inquiry.
Where to start? Strictly speaking, the fees companies pay rabbis for certification is not a “tax”. Government has nothing to do with it. Note the term “canard”. It is used almost like a mantra any time this issue is discussed by Jewish lobbyists. Canard, from the French word for “duck”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “an unfounded rumour.”
The term sounds as if it’s saying the material is false, but that’s not exactly what is being said.
An amazing number of food products bear one of several kosher certifications. Kosher law forbids the eating of certain foods — pork, shellfish, among others. So, you’re not likely to see kosher pork and beans. Basically, a kosher kitchen seeks to keep dairy and meat strictly separate, even requiring separate sets of dishes.
A random rummaging through a fridge and pantry reveals the following products with kosher certification:
* Cheerios [ with a U in a circle, standing for kosher]. A glance at the ingredients in Cheerios shows no meat or dairy.
* Unico Red Kidney Beans [The can has COR 125 in a circle, standing for kosher.] A glance at the ingredients reveals no meat or dairy.
* Hunt’s “Thick & Rich, spicy red pepper and chilies pasta sauce”. [The can has a K in a circle, standing for kosher.] The contents show no hint of dairy or meat to be kept separate.
* EQUALITY 6 Bean Medley [The can has COR 96 in a circle, standing for kosher certification.] The contents indicate no dairy or meat to be kept separate.
* Kroger Roasted Peanuts and Honey. [with a U in a circle, standing for kosher.] The plastic jar indicates no meat or dairy
* Minute Maid pulp free orange juice [The container features the COR 226 in a circle, standing for kosher certification.] The contents indicate no dairy or meat to be kept separate.
* Selection manzanilla olives. [The jar features MK Pareve 357 in a double circle, standing for kosher certification.] Again the contents don’t seem to indicate the presence of either dairy or meat products.
And, here’s one that floored me. TRULY (Natural spring water bottled for Hudson’s Bay Company) [with a U in a circle and lower case p outside it, standing for kosher]. Kosher water?!!! What could this possibly have to do with mixing dairy and meat?
One begins to wonder why these products must seek kosher certification and at what cost to the consumer.
The rub comes in the process for kosher certification. Various groups of rabbis have the power to certify foods as meeting kosher requirements. It is generally agreed that this service is not free. The companies pay for it. But how much? I have seen a dozen letters over the past number of years written seeking this information from companies. Seldom is there a response. When there is a reply, it is vague, suggesting that the cost to consumers is “modest.”
That term is open to interpretation. Suppose on the $4.00 box of Cheerios, certification costs 8 cents, that is “modest” but, extended over the food purchases for a year — say $100 per week — the “modest” cost of kosher certification adds up to over $100 for the unwitting and unwilling shopper.
The sucky neo-con National Post seems to offer an explanation for the food processors` attachment to the cult of kosher, whether costly or “modest.” “In reality, such companies as Coca-Cola acquire the certification as a marketing strategy to attract Jewish customers.” Again, why would Coke be paying for kosher status unless there’s a mouse eating an ice cream cone floating in the coke vat? Neither meat or dairy are involved.
Superficially, the marketing explanation seems to make some sense. However, consider that only a small minority of Jews keep kosher. In fact, Emilty Geitz, writing “Ìs keeping kosher good for the environment?” (Scientific American, September 25, 2008), says just one in six American Jews or a tiny .37% of the American population keeps kosher. Canada has about 310,000 Jews or less than one per cent of our 35-million population. If the same one in six figure holds, only about 53,000 Canadian Jews even worry about kosher. So, all this certification is to please a tiny minority of a tiny minority, not all of whom would even like a product, say, such as Coke.
Why not just market a separate brand called Kosher Coke and add the price of certification in, rather than forcing everyone to pay for what is a tiny minority dietary peculiarity. The injustice is that, large or modest, the cost of certifying this huge range of food products as kosher ought to be borne by those whom it benefits and not be loaded off on to the general population
Articles criticizing those who mention the kosher fees all consumers are forced to pay, almost always use the unusual term `canard`, as I`ve noted above. So, it comes as no surprise that foaming and fuming, former CEO of the now defunct Canadian Jewish Congress Bernie Farber rushed into print to denounce “this anti-Semitic canard” (Toronto Star, March 18, 2014) and further blasts Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois for not having dropped Professor Louise Mailloux as the PQ candidate in the Montreal riding of Gouin.
“Propagated by neo-Nazi and other anti-Semitic groups, it [the kosher levy complaint] suggested that governments and citizens worldwide are tricked by international Jewry into paying a secret tax for kosher foods. Once collected, the hoax goes, these millions in revenue are funneled towards funding Zionist wars and causes.” But while Farber assures us the story of the kosher levy, not really tax, is a hoax, he offers no proof. For instance, he doesn`t deny that groups of rabbis are paid to certify foods and even water as kosher. He doesn`t explain where the money, modest or otherwise, goes.
In an editorial “The Parti Quebecois` Small Minds,” the National Post (March 15, 2014) notes coyly: “Fourteen years ago, a conservative Alberta-based magazine published an article, titled “Ìs this Kosher?”, in which the author reported credulously on allegations that kosher food labelling in Canada comprises a `Jewish tax` that rabbis use to siphon money out of the pockets of gentile consumers. The source of the allegations turned out to be an eccentric retired Ukrainian-Canadian psychologist. At first, the magazine stood by the report. But when it became clear the article was indefensible, the editors backed down. … This is the last time any mainstream English-language Canadian publication has advanced the theory that Canadians are being victimized by a ‘Jewish tax.’”
The publication was Report Magazine. Senior editor Kevin Michael Grace told me at the time that the magazine had come under incredible pressure to recant. And, yes, the National Post is quite right. Canada`s not-very-free and very cowardly press is, indeed, well whipped and more and more topics, especially those that might offend some minority or other, are forbidden.
Back in the late `90s, widespread circulation of information about this kosher levy led to the suggestion that taxpayers determine how much of their food budget had gone to the levy and claim that as a charitable donation. The reason was that it had been determined that, in Canada, the “kosher” certification fees were paid to a certain Jewish charity. Thus, the taxpayer could claim, with some justification, that he had contributed unwillingly to that charity and should claim that sum as a tax creditable deduction. Many people did and many succeeded. The weakness with this approach, I counselled, was that Revenue Canada requires a tax receipt to support a deduction and, of course, taxpayers could supply no such receipt. Many claims that were audited were, of course, rejected. The situation was similar to the person who throws $20 into the church collection plate each Sunday. Without a receipt, he cannot claim a $1040 charitable deduction at the end of the year. Most churches urge their regular donors to use envelopes with their names on them for their donations. At year`s end, the church issues each envelope user a charitable receipt.
Bernie Farber`s article continues: “In the mid 1990s it became so prevalent that even some legitimate accountants and bookkeepers were advising their clients to demand a $250 tax refund from Revenue Canada for unknowingly paying this secret levy. Indeed, in 1997 the Canadian Jewish Congress wrote to then-revenue minister Jane Stewart asking the government to make it abundantly clear that the ‘tax’ was a fraud. The minister, to her credit, reacted swiftly with a statement that fully rejected the anti-Jewish hoax and warned of potential consequences and fines for those trying to claim a refund.”
Interesting how Farber reveals that when a certain lobby barks an order, the obedient political pooches wag their tails. According to Wikipedia “Kosher Tax (Anti-Semitic Canard)”– there`s that word again! — then Canadian Revenue Minister Jane Stewart said: “The intent and message in this literature is deeply offensive to the Jewish community and, indeed, to all Canadians. The so-called ‘deduction’ described in these flyers does not exist and I urge all taxpayers to ignore this misleading advice”.[`Actually, she doesn`t say the information about the kosher levy is false, just that it is “offensive” to Jews. She does add, and legally rightly so, that the imputed kosher levy is not a deduction open for Canadians to claim,.
What to do? Ideally, the House of Commons should hold an investigation and require supermarkets to reveal under oath just how much kosher certification costs and whether, as often reported, food processors are under pressure to obtain, that is, pay for kosher certification, in order to have their products carried. Consumers should be given maximum choice. If mainstream goods have a kosher certification, the same product should be offered without the certification, presumably somewhat cheaper, just as shoppers often can choose between ordinary carrots and the somewhat more expensive organic”carrots.”
Actually, the entire issue could be set to rest if the rabbis who certify food products as kosher did their work gratis, much as a priest or minister wouldn’t have his hand out if asked to say a prayer at a public function. Surely, certifying food as kosher is part of the rabbis’ duty to those of their faith who choose to keep kosher. The public shouldn’t be asked to pay the freight. If, indeed, the fees are “modest” there seems no valid reason not to make this gesture of good faith and make this issue go away naturally, without threatening punishment to those who have the temerity to raise questions. – Paul Fromm