The “Kosher Tax” Fraud

Recently, an e-mail diatribe about the so-called “Kosher Tax” has been widely disseminated through the Internet. Various racist and anti-Semitic right-wing extremist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, have circulated this misinformation for decades. Today, these fraudulent claims have been co-opted by terrorist organizations as well. The allegations are total nonsense and a complete distortion of the truth.

The “Kosher Tax” memo is patterned after other classical anti-Semitic works, such as the “Secret Annals of the Protocols of Zion”. Both the “Protocols of Zion” and the “Kosher Tax” plant seeds of fear by suggesting there is a secret Jewish conspiracy spearheaded by a small group of Jews who wield enormous influence over world affairs. The “Kosher Tax” makes the ludicrous accusation that a powerful syndicate of Rabbis extorts exorbitant fees from food manufacturers by threatening a crippling boycott of companies who do not comply. These “blackmail” fees are passed on to the unsuspecting consumer in the way of higher food charges.

The reality is that food manufacturers voluntarily seek kosher certification as an important and effective marketing tool. A kosher symbol signals that the product is suitable for consumption by Jews, Moslems, Seventh Day Adventists and lactose intolerant individuals, all who have special dietary requirements. In addition, many consumers view the kosher symbol as an independent verification of quality.

The retail cost of a food product is generally not increased by kosher supervision. The decision to seek kosher certification is based on market research and an evaluation that it is in the company’s best financial interest to enter into a supervisory program. The modest cost associated with kosher supervision is a miniscule fraction of the total production expenditure, and is offset by the often-significant increase in profit resulting from expanded sales. In addition, many production and distribution costs are fixed. When the volume of sales increases, the overhead cost per unit decreases. The bottom line is that kosher supervision brings in greater revenue, and allows companies to reduce the price of their wares, if they so desire.

The Orthodox Union, the largest supervisory agency, is a non-profit organization, which provides kosher supervision as a service to consumers. The revenue generated by the certification program is used to cover supervisory costs, as well as support a wide range of social services.

The current dissemination of the “Kosher Tax” lie reflects once again that those who seek to achieve evil goals through the use of terror are neither bound by truth, integrity or moral values.

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OU Kosher Staff