Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Should We Have Our Own 'Kosher' Certification?
First published in The Occidental Observer: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/authors/Kurtagic-Kosher.html
In a recent blog entry I suggested — at the time rather ironically — that we would do well to take a leaf from the Torah and devise for ourselves something analogous to the Jewish kosher certification. For those unfamiliar with it, food that has been certified as kosher, or fit for consumption in accordance to Jewish dietary laws (kashrut, a subset of the Jewish law, or Halakha), is usually given a certification marking (hechsher) by local rabbinic authorities. Hechsherim are found on a wide range of food products, as well as on items not meant for consumption, but usually linked to food, such as food wrapping and cleaning products. The best known hechsher in the United States is that awarded by the Orthodox Union, and consists of a circled capital “U”; it is not, however, the only one. Anti-Semites tend to refer to the kosher certification as “the kosher tax”, alleging that manufacturers are blackmailed by Orthodox rabbis — the ‘Kosher Nostra’ — into certifying themselves for the benefit of the tiny percentage of Jews who follow the kashrut; and that, because the certification entails not only costly changes to the manufacturing process, but also undisclosed annual fees, this amounts to a scam whereby Jews manage to raise obscene amounts of money that are then channeled toward funding Zionist activities.
As always, it is impossible prove or disprove anti-Semitic conspiracy theories: for every argument, there is always a counter-argument, and, in the end, the presence or absence of a conspiracy does not matter, because the final result is the same, whatever that result may be. Irrespective of whether it is everything it claims to be or a sinister scam, however, I like the idea of a certification marking that indicates to the consumer that they are purchasing a product from a friendly — or at least non-hostile — company, as in a culture that has become inimical to White interests, in an environment where so many corporate businesses actively fund anti-White causes, the presence of a White-friendly marking would be immensely reassuring. I believe we could profit from developing some form of White-friendly certification, and that this could be modeled after its Jewish counterpart, even if our version ends up not necessarily relating to a set of dietary laws.
In this article I am not going to discuss the reasons for kashrut, which are varied complicated and which have been discussed by Kevin MacDonald in A People that Shall Dwell Alone. I am going to limit myself to examining the kosher certification: its origins, the certifying bodies, the marketing arguments, the requirements, and the process of certification. I am then going to explore the challenges involved in adapting this concept to our purposes, if this is deemed to be part of the way forward.
The practice of marketing food products as kosher originated in the United States. It is also a relatively recent phenomenon, dating back to 1911, when Proctor and Gamble began advertising Crisco as kosher. By the 1960s, the hotdog and sausage company Hebrew National was already running campaigns designed to appeal beyond a Jewish constituency. From this point forward, the kosher market expanded rapidly, and is now worth billions of dollars.
The kosher certification is usually awarded by Orthodox rabbis, both trained in food production technology and affiliated to organizations offering food preparation supervision services, such as the Orthodox Union (a.k.a., Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America) or the Badatz Igud Rabbonim (in the United Kingdom). These rabbis assume the role of mashgiach, meaning ‘supervisor’. Mashgiachim will supervise the products and processes involved in the manufacture of kosher food in order to ensure their compliance with the required standards. Manufacturers are allowed to apply a hechsher to the packaging of a product only if the latter is found to contain exclusively kosher ingredients and is prepared in accordance with Halakha. Additional words or letters may be added after the hechsher to indicate the presence of meat (M), dairy (D), neither meat nor dairy (pareve), whether the product is produced on dairy equipment (DE), whether it is suitable for Passover (P) because it contains no chametz, whether the product is pas yisroel (Y, bread baked at least in part by a Jew), cholov yisroel (C, any dairy product originating in Jewish-owned farms), or yoshon (‘old’: containing grain that took root before the previous Passover).
As can be sensed from these labels, the principles governing kashrut are far more complicated than simple avoidance of pork or keeping meat and dairy separate. For example, only meat from mammals that both ruminate and have cloven hooves can be kosher. Animals that eat other animals, and animals that have been at least partially eaten by other animals, cannot be kosher. Fish must have fins and scales to be kosher, while shellfish and other non-fish fauna cannot be kosher. A kosher-keeping Jew must wait between one and six hours after eating meat before consuming dairy. Mammals and fowl must be slaughtered in a specific fashion, by a trained individual, who must sever the animal’s jugular vein, carotid artery, oesophagus, and trachea with a single cutting movement, using an unserrated, sharp knife (failure to do so, or discovery of a defect or disease that might have caused the animal to die within a year, will make the meat unsuitable). Utensils used for non-kosher foods become non-kosher, and make even otherwise kosher food prepared with them non-kosher; depending on the materials of manufacture, some of these instruments can be made suitable for preparing kosher food again by means of immersion in boiling water or application of a blowtorch. The list goes on.
There is no question, therefore, that keeping kosher requires a great deal of effort and thought. Kosher certifying agencies, however, are remarkably effective at selling their services, as the proliferation of kosher products on supermarket shelves will testify. Said agencies claim that kosher certified status “plays a very important role in increasing the sales [and exports] of a food company.” They point out that shifts in consumer demand and food technology, changes in national policies, and globalization have introduced a great many new variables in food production, and that the relentless pursuit of profit and increased productivity has led to excesses in the food sector that have ended up eroding consumer confidence. Kosher certification, they argue, offers a solution to these challenges, providing “an economic advantage, a serious method of traceability, a response to problems of globalization, and, at the same time, a guarantee of food safety.”
It is asserted by these organizations that a company producing kosher products will appeal not only to Jews, who are, admittedly, only a small fraction of the food market, but also to Muslims, Buddhists, Seventh Day Adventists, vegetarians, vegans, ecologically-minded groups, allergy sufferers, and quality-conscious consumers. Food manufacturers are promised being able to take full advantage of the modern health and natural food craze by becoming kosher certified. Kosher certifying agencies point out that “there is greater concern for information on the origin and composition of food products” following a series of “food crises during the 1990s (dioxane, listeriosis, and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (‘mad cow’ disease or BSE) as well as the fear of an impending pandemic of Asian Bird Flu (H5NI)”; and argue that the kosher certification process is an asset because it makes food traceable. Finally, food manufacturers are reminded that globalization is not always compatible with health and food safety, due to varying standards across the world and the fact that “the system of controls privileges the fluidity of the logistics of exchange, to the detriment of food safety.”
In addition, kosher certifying agencies also use religious arguments, invoking the Torah and the Deuteronomy.
The certification process involves a number of steps. First, a company wishing to become kosher certified is asked to complete an online application form. This will trigger a telephone call during which the certifying organization will seek to gather information about ingredients and products; the company’s prospects for kosher certification will be discussed at this stage. Based on the information provided by the company, the certifying organization will then send a committee to the company’s production plant, to conduct a thorough inspection. A post-visit analysis and evaluation will highlight problem areas and propose possible solutions; these may involve the replacement of animal ingredients with vegetable-derived or synthetic-origin alternatives. Once the certifying organization is satisfied that the company complies with all the kosher requirements, the company is advised of their supervision and financial obligations. Certifying organizations do not disclose their annual fees, but it seems that these vary depending on the amount of work required by the certifying organization. The kosher certified company then signs an annual agreement, is issued with a Letter of Certification, and is allowed to apply a hechsher to its certified products.
Because of the complexity of food production, and the fact that any alteration in the production process, the ingredients, or the composition of the ingredients involved in the manufacture of a product could well render that product non-kosher, supervision must be continuous. Monitoring is part of the annual agreement with the certifying organization, and involves regular visits by a field representative — typically an expert in the company’s specific area of food production. The supervision process is further reinforced by grapevines maintained by Jews who monitor food companies, to ensure the accuracy of the labeling: This is because pre-printed packaging may be used on products that have ceased to be kosher, or a product that has become kosher is not yet being sold with the hechsher applied to the packaging.
I have seen evidence suggesting that keeping kosher must be a tricky affair. When I first came across anti-Semitic literature denouncing the “Kosher Tax.” I looked out the tiny kosher markings in my favourite food items while shopping at the supermarket, and these kept appearing and disappearing every few months, without apparent explanation.
There are a number of interesting aspects to kosher certification. Firstly, as far as I am aware, most Whites who are not members of a kosher-keeping sect (like Seventh Day Adventism), are unaware of the existence of such a certification, or what the kosher markings look like. Secondly, the kosher markings are not widely advertised, as far as I have seen: I only ever came across them while researching anti-Semitism. Thirdly, information concerning the cost of going kosher for food companies does not seem to be widely available; there may be a good explanation for this, given the fact that the production and logistical complexities of going kosher may vary widely from one company to another, depending on the type of food products they specialize on, the configuration of their production plant(s), their specific storage and preparation processes, the origin and nature of their ingredients, and so forth — there may be a good explanation, I say, but the fact is that it does not seem possible or easy for a consumer to find out exactly what effect kosher certification has on his or her grocery bill. Finally, although kosher certifiers present themselves as simply offering an advantageous solution to those who desire it, in the presence of a clear economic advantage it is evident that these organisations have a strong incentive to research and approach food companies manufacturing uncertified products; it would be interesting to know whether such companies are ever put under pressure — subjected to hard sale techniques — by ambitious, growth-orientated kosher certification agencies. At best, some of these aspects appear to defeat the argument for going kosher (if people are ignorant of the markings, let alone of the alleged advantages of kosher, why would they choose a kosher product over a non-kosher one?); at worst, they supply fuel for all manner of dark, conspiratological fantasy.
Interestingly, kosher certificates are said to be least reliable in Israel, where certification organizations, realizing that there is money to be made selling certificates claiming the highest standards of kashrut, pervert the certification process by conducting few or no checks.
A certification indicating that a given company or product is White-friendly should be obvious to supporters of this website. As I said earlier, I would find it reassuring to know that my money is not going to a company that funds odious causes, such as Third World aid and development programmes, or engages in nefarious practices, such as employing Third World immigrant labour or having their products manufactured in squalid Third World sweatshops. Yet, because White people are diverse, not linked to a single or autochthonous religion, and do not follow a particular dietary law, for us it is not simply a question of copying the kosher concept. At most, we can copy the methods, procedures, and organizational structure of the certifying agencies. Beyond that, however, we have to elaborate our own principles of certification, based on our own realities and designed around our own needs.
A generic “pan-Aryan” certification is at this time both the obvious choice and out of the question. So is a certification clearly based on race: Boasting that a business is White-friendly, or White-owned, would fall foul or current legislation, and no matter how sound an argument we present vis-à-vis Black- or Jewish- or Latino- or whatever-only organizations, any legal challenge would be met with a decision contrived to keep the conscious pursuit of White racial interests illegal. Nevertheless, this has to be the motive for developing and marketing a certification.
Kosher certification is predicated on religion — a single religion that is exclusive to Jews and recognized by everyone. Yet kosher certification transcends religion: For example, in the United States (along with Israel the country with the largest number of Jews), Jews represent less than 3 percent of the population, out of which only one sixth maintain a kosher diet. (Of course, to these we must add the Jews who maintain a partially kosher diet, by abstaining from pork and keeping meat and dairy separate.) Given the number of food products available and the number of them that are certified kosher, we can infer that kosher certifying agencies have been both very persuasive and met with receptivity in the food industry. Kosher certification agencies are probably aware that barriers to entry to non-Jewish-owned companies are likely reduced by corporate fear of the anti-Semitic libel. Whether reality or a canard, Jewish power is perceived to be considerable, so fear of the economic consequences resulting from the libel is real. To what extent it is possible for them to capitalize on this fear, and how many of them actually do, has not been researched, as far as I know. But there is no doubt that a White-friendly certification agency would not enjoy these advantages.
European-derived peoples are linked to Christianity, and Christians have some dietary prescriptions, such as avoiding meat on Fridays or during Lent. However, apart from the fact that these do not involve any specific preparation processes or a selection or separation of ingredients requiring supervision at the manufacturer level by an external agency, Christianity, unlike Judaism, is a universalist religion, not limited to a specific people or national origin: anybody can be accepted as a Christian, subject to conversion. Therefore, a Christian-friendly marking on a product, be it food or something else, would not be an indication of White friendliness. In can often be an indication of White hostility.
We can always return to pagan tribalism, and in some areas this völkisch approach seems to offer a viable solution, but in a globalized economy, only a very narrowly-defined subset of small and medium enterprise will want to market itself as advancing specifically Celtic, Indo-Germanic, or Anglo-Saxon traditions and values. Ethnically European-orientated companies, organisations, and subcultures do exist, and their approach may well become a mini-trend in the future, as White populations dwindle and European tribes become progressively more exotic in time and space. But an overtly racialised approach will probably remain prohibited and taboo until Whites cease to be perceived as a threat by a dominant non-White majority — something not likely to occur until that majority becomes as soft and as decadent as Whites have become during the past century.
A negative approach is always an option, and would consist of delegitimizing kosher certification. The BNP has campaigned against halal slaughter in the United Kingdom on the basis that it is cruel and inflicts unnecessary suffering to animals. The kosher and halal slaughtering methods are similar, and therefore kosher certification can be attacked using the relatively popular animal welfare, or animal rights, arguments. A detailed analysis of the actual costs and benefits of going kosher could also expose flaws in the kosher marketing arguments, particularly where kashrut requires the replacement of natural products by alternatives of synthetic origin. Yet, while the stick must always complement the carrot, without a carrot we are once again engaged in a purely negative campaign; and what we need is a positive message that broadcasts an uplifting vision of ourselves: No one likes an old codger who is always complaining and grumbling about how bad things are. A significant obstacle we face presently, therefore, is ourselves, for the White advocacy movement has yet to formulate an uplifting vision of Whiteness and the future that is not stuck in a slough of negativity or in nostalgia for a past that cannot and will never return. We must think of us pulling forward, not just of pushing others backward.
In sum, adapting the kosher certification concept is riddled with challenges. It might not be adaptable at all, given that it was designed by Jews, for Jews, and Jewish culture has a number of unique traits that go with the grain of the kosher certification concept, but which are alien to the diverse European cultures. Besides religious dietary laws of ancient provenance, we must include among these traits high levels of ethnocentrism, extended kinship social organization, and moral particularism (the European model, in contrast, is based on weak ethnocentrism, the nuclear family, and moral universalism).
I do not claim to have the answer, but it is certain that whatever certification we develop — if we are to develop anything of the kind (and, I repeat, it does not have to involve food) — must go with the grain of our own common cultural characteristics. It must, in other words, be difficult to emulate, individually and structurally, by those not sharing our blood, soil, history, heroes, and traditions, so that it is impervious, or at least resilient, to infiltration and subversion.