Cruz-Jews News

February 6, 2016
Posted by Jay Livingston

When Ted Cruz says “New York,” does he really mean “Jewish”?

In a Republican debate in Iowa, Maria Bartiromo asked Ted Cruz what he meant when he referred to Donald Trump’s “New York Values.” My response (the blog post is here) was the same as Toby’s on “The West Wing” when a conservative professional Christian balks at Josh’s “New York sense of humor”: he means Jewish.

Not everyone agreed, maintaining the we should take Cruz’s remarks at face value, and that any dog-whistle overtones about Jews were in the ears of the listeners. Now Cruz himself has pretty much cleared up the question of whether he was equating “New York” with all things Jewish.  He was responding to the accusation from Trump and others that he and his wife had borrowed money from Goldman Sachs, where Mrs. Cruz works – an arrangement that puts at least a small question mark on Cruz’s claims to being a stalwart battler against Wall Street.

Dana Milbank in the Washington Post reports:

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.

Chutzpah is a Yiddish word. It is “a New York term” only if you equate New York with Jewish. New York sense of humor, New York values, New York phrases.

So we can put to rest the debate about whether in the mind and speech of Sen. Cruz, New York is conflated with Jewish.  Thanks to the senator for settling the question.


Anonymous said...

What leads you to think that gentiles in New York don't use the word Chutzpah? You may as well say that gringos never say "sombrero."

Jay Livingston said...

What if a politician said that the mayor of Houston had “sombrero values”? Would you say that this had nothing to do with Mexicans since gringos also use that term?

My point was that to Cruz, “New York” and “Jewish” are roughly equivalent. Jewish values so dominate New York culture that even Gentiles are imbued with them just as New York language is so infused with Yiddish terms that even Gentiles use them. So you don’t have to say “Jewish values”; you can just say “New York values,” and everyone will know what you mean, just as everyone knows that a sombrero is a Mexican hat like the ones the Three Amigos wear.