Cruz vs. Trump, Jews can be offended or honoured

  • Trump Donald
Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican senator running in the US Republican nomination process ahead of the 2016 Elections as an anti-establishment maverick, slammed Donald Trump for his ‘chutzpah’ on the weekend. This has once again seen Cruz being accused of making Jews collateral damage in attacks on his insider rivals. But is he?
by ANT KATZ | Feb 08, 2016

Cruz’s accusers detected the whiff of anti-Semitism in his broadsides against neoconservatives. It started last year with his mocking of real estate magnate Donald Trump’s “New York values.” Cruz is chasing the far-right evangelical Christian vote – no small group in the US, and has been accused of hinting at anti-Jewish values as he is not expected to poll high among this demographic.

16-US-Trump-CruzNow, Cruz is getting scored for his use of the word “chutzpah” – again aimed at Trump.

RIGHT: Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz duking it out in the Republican presidential debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on 6 February (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

At an event in New Hampshire, Cruz, the winner of the Republican Iowa caucuses, 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 one used by, and associated with, Jews. And his use of “New York” as a euphemism for “Jewish” for a second time is being flagged as an anti-Semitic dog whistle.

Jeet Heer at the New Republic agreed: “Chutzpah is a Yiddish word, so a ‘New York term’ means one inflected by a dialect associated with Jewish immigrants and their descendants. And that can also only mean that Jewish values — sorry, New York values — are inimical to the good conservatives of the American heartland.”

“Over here, at JTA (the Jewish Telegraphic Agency), I’m not so sure,” says Ron Kampeas. “True, Cruz was talking about Wall Street — a place that often features in conspiracy theories about Jews. And true, he played up the foreign-sounding pronunciation of ‘chutzpah’ for laughs.

“But what he called out Trump for isn’t connected to any discernible anti-Semitic stereotype. He simply accused his rival of audacity — and used a popular Jewish term for boastfulness to do it,” wrote Kampeas.

He could be seen to have been honouring Jewish ubiquity in the US, especially New York, by invoking our linguistic tradition to make his point, said Kampeas.

And Cruz is far from alone among politicians in using the word.

Another JTA journalist, Daniel Treiman, recently pointed out - citing President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Mitt Romney  - that “chutzpah” is becoming as familiar in election years as paeans to Iowa ethanol and the hardy independence of Granite Staters. In fact, the last time Cruz used the term, Treiman noted, was to lambaste Obama for presuming to speak to Jews on Jewish values.


  1. 3 Gary 08 Feb
    Of course, as usual, the liberal Jewish media makes out that anti-semitism can only come from the right and all of the right are anti-semitic while those on the left who would like to see Israel burn could never be anti-semitic
    No doubt 70% of Jews will vote for anti-Israel Sanders come 4 November like they did for the Muslim Brotherhood's Barack Hussein Obama
  2. 2 nat cheiman 08 Feb
    What a storm in a teacup.
    Chutzpah is a word used by all . In fact it is recorded in the Readers Digest, " Universal Dictionary", on page 292, as a noun, slang for " shameless impudence" or " gall ".
    It is Yiddish, but I have read and seen it used in newspapers etc.
     How on earth can anyone determine whether Cruz, or any senator, is anti Jewish by those remark? 
    Its the same as saying Cruz accusers are smoking dope.
    Because if that is what they believe, they probably are.
  3. 1 nat cheiman 08 Feb
    In addition to what I said, GARY is 100% right.
    Jews are their own worst enemy.
    Trump wants to Bomb the crap out of radical Islam, and 70% of Jews support losers like Obama, Clinton, Sanders etc. rather than support the Republicans, who will also bomb our enemies.
    I can never understand it.


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