When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) last month mocked Donald Trump’s “New York values,” it wasn’t entirely clear what he was implying.
This week we got a clue: For Cruz, “New York” is another way of saying “Jewish.”
At an event in New Hampshire, Cruz, the Republican Iowa caucuses winner, was asked about campaign money he and his wife borrowed from Goldman Sachs. Cruz, asserting that Trump had “upward of $480 million of loans from giant Wall Street banks,” said: “For him to make this attack, to use a New York term, it’s the height of chutzpah.” Cruz, pausing for laughter after the phrase “New York term,” exaggerated the guttural “ch” to more laughter and applause.
But “chutzpah,” of course, is not a “New York” term. It’s a Yiddish — a Jewish — one. And using “New York” as a euphemism for “Jewish” has long been an anti-Semitic dog whistle.
Because Donald Trump is Jewish. Right.
Now this lunatic claim has been resurrected.
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) April 8, 2016
When you say New York values, money, ahd media, what do you need, really, before you get to the caricature of what this man, the coded message, the dog whistle, that he’s trying to send? What do you need? A cartoon of someone with a big nose, and anti-Semitic cartoon from another era? This was designed to bring to the heartland the negative impression of greedy New Yorkers trying to take money out of people’s pockets. I know a coded message when I see one.
The same, virtual word for word, attack happened on CNN
I think the New York values thing is a big problem. But let’s be honest, remember what Ted Cruz said. He said New York values are about money and about the media. That’s an anti-Semitic trope from a hundred years. It’s been around for a very long time. And everyone in New York, everyone in the whole country, understands what he was saying. And that’s a big problem once you get to New York. Not just among Jewish voters but among people who don’t appreciate those kinds of stereotypes. Trump is going to hammer away on it. Cruz can try to explain it away but you can’t explain what you said when its meaning is obvious.
“The whole country”??? Really?
Both of these comments actually say much, much more about Toobin and Rivera than they do about Ted Cruz.
A short anecdote. I grew up in the rural South. There was one Jewish family in my COUNTY. Naturally, the optometrist. I heard a lot of stereotypes growing up but never really any Jewish ones other than the use of verb “to jew” to mean to drive someone down from their asking price to a lower one. And it wasn’t unusual to hear of a department store called a “jew store” by older folks. But in neither of those cases were the terms associated with actual, you know, Jews. I did hear a boat load of New York stereotypes, which, in the Army, I discovered had an amazing basis in fact. And, trust me, most New Yorkers you meet in the Army are not Jewish.
In most of the country, “New York” carries certain negative baggage: cut throat, greedy, cheating, influence peddling, immoral, etc. As well as some positive views. Inside of New York, those may very well have Jewish stereotypes but Jewish stereotypes in the rest of the nation have been pretty much a-slumber since at least the 1967 War and the rise of Islamic terrorism.
Even were the allegation true. You’d have to believe that Ted Cruz didn’t realize he would have to campaign in New York. You’d have to believe that a majority of the GOP, even in New York, regards those as Jewish stereotypes. AND you’d have to believe they were anti-Semitic enough to vote for Ted Cruz based largely on his expressing anti-Semitic views.
No, what you are seeing here is not an anti-Semitic dog whistle exposed. What you are seeing is douchebaggery exposed.
No person knows what is anyone else’s heart. What we do know, conclusively, is that the least likely place, outside a Pat Buchanan rally, that you will find an anti-Semite is in the GOP. Anti-Semitism, probably because it was a competitive sport in the former USSR, still has strong roots within the American progressive movement. The idea that there are hundreds of thousands, millions, of people sitting at home thinking, “Ted Cruz just criticized New York values and I know that means he hates Jews, just like I do,” is stupid on its face. Unfortunately, making stupid and vicious claims about conservatives is really what the media is about.