Yes, Bubba, It’s a Jewish Plot

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In an unintentionally amusing video being e-mailed around, a large-boned, jowly man with a droopy mustache and hair parted down the middle sits at a desk and reveals a secret scam that Jews have been levying on unsuspecting Gentiles for years. Behind him hang an American flag and a banner featuring a large swastika.

The short “program” is billed as “White Nationalist News” and our trusty correspondent is identified as “Mich Bubba.” Heavy metal guitar introduces and ends the spot; the refrain of the tune (so to speak) is “Tricky, Tricky Yid”.

The conspiracy Mr. Bubba proudly exposes is the “Jewish tax” that hides in plain sight from unsuspecting non-Jews in secret code on food packaging. Long familiar to Hebrews of traditional bent, the various kosher symbols (the popular “u” inscribed in an “o” that is a trademark of the Orthodox Union – which Bubba calls the “United Rabbinical Council” – as well as myriad graphic riffs on the letter “k”) are indications that the product so marked was produced under the supervision of a rabbi expert in the intricacies of both kosher law and food science. Bubba hews to the belief that such foods are simply “blessed by a rabbi” and identifies one product as carrying a second sinister rabbinical group’s certification – “parve” – which he pronounces “parVEY” (French rabbis, probably).

In his essential point, of course, Bubba’s right. Companies do indeed pay for kosher certification.

As they also do, of course, for the right to display, say, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval (for which manufacturers must purchase advertisement space in Good Housekeeping magazine). Or as they indirectly do through increased manufacturing costs for the right to call their products “organic” or “natural.” To Bubba, however, the Jewish arrangement is singularly unkosher; it smacks, to his fuzzy lights, of a Jewish “shakedown.” If companies pay for a rabbi’s service, he unreasons, the cost must surely be passed on… secretly, of course… to “Gentile” consumers.

The risible accusation is nothing new; it resurfaces almost every time logic-challenged anti-Semites manage to catch their breath between rants on the Middle-East and “Jewish control of the media.” As to inconvenient facts, The New York Times reported in 1975 that the cost to General Foods for rabbinical supervision of its “Bird’s Eye” products worked out to .0000065 of a cent per item. A Heinz Company representative maintained that its own kosher labeling actually decreases the cost of items, by increasing the market for them – the only rational reason, of course, a company would choose to pay for such a service in the first place.

Nor is Bubba compelled to buy one brand of corndogs or beer over another. If the kosher item in fact proves more expensive, he can simply opt for one that hasn’t been supervised by a rabbi (which, he makes quite clear, he prefers in any event).

If there is anything Jew-haters don’t like, though (besides Jews), it is having to deal with pesky facts. There are more important things to do, like sowing hatred and suspicion.

Most folks even loosely connected to reality know that there are no Elders of Zion (at least none who aspire to world control), and no Jews who murder Christians to mix their blood into matzohs, that such things are (forgive me) Bubba-meisehs. And yet, millions keep even those myths alive (not to mention create new ones, like Jewish recruitment of Arab innocents to fly planes into buildings). So it should hardly be surprising that there are people accusing us Jews of less obvious, more insidious crimes… like kosher certification.

The persistence, ubiquity and sheer creativity of anti-Semitism rightfully concern us. But there is also something curiously invigorating about it all.

Because it points to what underlies Jew-hatred: the suspicion that the Jewish people are special.

However odd it might seem of G-d, He did indeed choose the Jews. In other words, yes, Bubba, there is a plot (though not exactly a conspiracy; there’s only one Plotter).

But Bubba needn’t panic. What anti-Semites like him don’t realize is that the Jewish mission isn’t to subjugate but to educate. Keep it under your hat, Bubba, but what we Jews are charged with is living lives of holiness and service to G-d and man.

That includes prayer, charity and acts of kindness, study of holy texts and meticulous honesty in all our dealings – as well as a multitude of ritual matters, including eating kosher food. But no, Bubba, undermining society and levying hidden taxes aren’t on the list.

One day, G-d willing – likely when we Jews shoulder our mission with more passion and determination – those who labor so hard to hate us will suddenly be stopped cold in their tracks and made to meet a reality they never considered: that Jewish specialness was never a threat to them at all, but a gift.

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One Christian's perspective
8 years 6 months ago

I am truly sad for the “Bubba’s” of this world who chose to blind hatred over eyes to see the goodness of G-d in others.

I for one an truly grateful to the Jewish people who were given the priviledge of preserving G-d’s very own Words which they did faithfully and now gentiles can read it and see the glory,power and grace of G-d. Additionally, years ago, I was delivered 10 weeks early before NICU’s were even a glimmer in someone’s thoughts by a Jewish doctor who also was responsible for my care. He gave my parents a 50/50 shot that I would survive. Other than a few allergies, I have survived well and in the Lord. And so I praise G-d who brought a kind, wise, discerning Jewish doctor into my life when I needed him most and who even became my family practice doctor even into adulthood. I know this sounds a bit like one-stop shopping – it was ! – but G-d used this wonderful Jewish man for my good. He was a wonderful caring and very wise doctor who used his G-d given wisdom to help many gentiles in his practice and he displayed an even greater sense of humor. I still remember those laughs long after he retired.

In Bible Study yesterday, one of our study questions was “What is your attitude toward the Jewish people”? The answers were so heart warming and came one after another without pause that the discussion leader had to rein us in so that we could cover the other lesson questions in the time alloted. One particular touching testimony was from an elderly black grand mother who said: “growing up in the Carolinas people of my complexion were not hired and couldn’t find jobs. I can’t say enough about the Jewish people because it was one Jewish man who hired me and showered me kindness,care and concern for years when many others in my community chose not to”.

Thank you all and G-d bless you all !

Leib
8 years 7 months ago

After watching the ‘amusing video’ about kosher tax I was still left worried. Just imagine people watching the video contacting food manufacturers for information and receiving the reply that indeed they paid the kosher tax. Would not some companies be concerned that their products will not be chosen by antisemites or by the people upset at companies for paying money to some religious organizations? What if they choose to terminate their relationships with Kashruth rganizations?

Bob Miller
8 years 7 months ago

I’m ambivalent about grand pronouncements by Jewish organizations advocating solutions to other people’s problems. Even when the solutions offered have merit, I can’t help but think that we should first put our own house in order, to become a true demonstration of the way we want the world to be. Readers of Cross-Currents have seen example after example showing that our nation (everywhere) and our state need to be fixed.

Baruch Horowitz
8 years 7 months ago

“You recall incorrectly. That story was the BaDa”Tz of Jerusalem refusing certification of hotel caterers hosting “Sylvester” parties.”

Eliot,

I am pretty certain that the OU, as well, forced a New York restaurant to stop a Millenium party for Jews, and that this was reported in the news.

“Could you kindly define these terms?”

Jacob,

As Bob said, there is a concept of social justice and concern with humanity within Judaism, but it can be divorced from the Torah.

In general, and unrelated to the question of linking kashrus supervision to social issues or how to work with or allay the concerns of the interested parties in the Agriprocssers issue, there are extremes on both ends. The more liberal one goes in the various Jewish streams, the more emphasis is given on the social justice aspect of the Torah, because it is something which people can relate to. However, it can be divorced from belief in the divinity of the Torah.

The opposite extreme is complete insularity. Within Orthodoxy, for example, there are those such as Rav Hirch who would argue that isolation is not an ideal Jewish concept, and is merely a response to anti-Semitism. Other, more insular, communities might feel that Orthodoxy’s limited resources preclude an over-involvement in the world at large. Instead, for the most part, we need to be concerned about our own community, and improve the world, indirectly, in that way.

This issue was discussed previously on the Darfur thread, and some felt that Jews should not be at the forefront of this issue, if the task could be accomplished by others. Nevertheless, an article in the Jewish Observer stated that one must be concerned and pained about the situation, and also that there was benefit in having some Torah Jews attend rallies, even if the community did not do this on a whole.

Jacob Haller
8 years 7 months ago

“But before we send the OU or any other organization down this road, we need to arrive at a consensus about our specific goals. Today, that consensus and broad sense of community may be lacking.”

Can’t help but wonder if the resulting vacuum allows those preaching ersatz Torah find a way in and capture the imagination of those less familiar with the genuine article.