A Parti Qubecois candidate for election to the National Assembly of Quebec reaffirmed earlier controversial statements considered by many to be anti-Semitic. In an interview Thursday in Montreal’s “La Presse” newspaper, Louise Mailloux, a candidate from Montreal’s Gouin district, confirmed that she “absolutely” stands by critical remarks about kosher certification and other Jewish rituals made in a news article in 2012.
In the article, Mailloux said Christians “missed a great opportunity to make lots of money” when they decided that all food is permissible, as opposed to Jews with their kosher restrictions. “Ding ding ding! You can imagine the trick, getting paid to bless bottles of Coke,” she wrote. “There are even rabbis who bless an entire truck [of Coke] in one go. It is more profitable, and it can bless the truck at the same time.”
She called for the banning of kosher slaughter and for the government to “secularize” all food and no longer “promote religious accommodation” in food. She called kosher certification “a ripoff,” “robbery” and a “tax paid directly…to the synagogue” of which Quebecers were ignorant.
In fact, kosher certification neither transforms the food nor does it include any type of blessing. The process is made up of inspections assuring that the ingredients used do not include any non-kosher (or prohibited) foods.
Charges of a “kosher tax” paid to Jews is a long-debunked urban legend which continues to be spread by the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazi groups.
The fees involved in certifying products as kosher are a minimal part of overall production costs, and do not inflate the selling price. In fact, kosher certification generally opens up new markets and increases product sales, which ultimately reduces prices.
Only around 1 in 6 consumers who specifically purchase kosher products are practicing Jews; the majority of consumers associate kosher certification with good quality and healthy products.
Mailloux, a philosophy professor, also stood by earlier statements in which she compared baptism and religious circumcision to rape.
On Saturday, she wrote an apology of sorts: “I never wanted to offend or hurt anyone,” Mailloux said in a release issued by the PQ. “If that has happened, I very sincerely apologize.”
Premier Pauline Marois of the PQ said Saturday that she stands by the candidacy of Mailloux, and that her party is not anti-Semitic.
Jewish Affairs organization CIJA said it was “extremely troubled” by the candidacy Mailloux for propagating such slanderous ideas. “The absurd and profoundly defamatory statements of Louise Mailloux toward Quebec Jews is not befitting a party like the Parti Quebecois,” CIJA said.