At the end of June 2018, New York hosted one of the largest food events: The Summer Fancy Food Show attracted well over 4,000 exhibitors to the aptly named Jacob Javits Center. Senator Jacob Koppel Javits was a liberal Republican – always ready to stand up for human rights.
His support for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society would have resulted in endless vicious “tweets” from the current president.
Exhibitors came from all over the United States and the world. In – at times tense – discussions with foreign exhibitors interesting commentary surfaced. Vendors from Turkey reported that U.S. buyers and distributors have turned “very cautious” about buying Turkish products due to the abysmal human rights record of the dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan, just reelected as Turkey’s president in “free” elections. Turkey’s economy is in shambles and resistance from U.S. buyers will not help a recovery.
Exhibitors from Communist China complained about the American consumer’s “obsession” with human rights, China’s rampant use of slave labor, and “unfounded” concerns about poison in foods (think of Mainland China’s milk products deliberately poisoned with melamine.)
One Chinese vendor said that he hopes that “[President] Trump will fix this. He loves our President.” Exhibitors’ from the Republic of China (the free and democratic Taiwan) expressed fears that American’s will confuse the two Chinas and “punish” Taiwan.
Vendors from Austria, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia stated that “Jewish buyers” – who dominate much of food distribution in the North East asked about increasingly anti-Semitic policies in these countries.
The cruelty of the current White House of the treatment of immigrants and the Nazi-like separation of children from their parents has boosted the concern for human rights among U.S. buyers and consumers. My hope is that Americans will vote with their wallets and boycott products from dictatorial regimes.
It is so heartening to see how concerns about human rights are affecting imports. Let us encourage this and ignore the increasingly dysfunctional Trump Administration. What the idiotic tariffs will do is to be seen.
The European Union – this great post-war dream is at the very least fragile – is standing by and doing nothing. Trump’s bitching that Europe is not doing enough for its own defense (just four of Germany’s air force jets reportedly are operational) is correct: why should 330 Million Americans pay for the defense of 480 million Europeans?
What is to be done for the repressive nations? They need to change and engage in a slow and credible marketing efforts to rebuild respect. We do not need criminals like Lt. General Michael T. Flynn (he plead guilty) manipulating the White House to favor Russia or Turkey.
All this is controversial. Unlike vendors at the Fancy Food Show, I have no problem giving my name. I am horrified
Agostino von Hassell