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Ted Cruz confirms that “New York values” is code for “Jewish.”

Saul Loeb / Getty

When Cruz accused Donald Trump of having New York values, there was a debate about whether this was an anti-Semitic dog whistle. Writing in The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik insisted that Cruz’s words were innocent of bigotry against the Jews, arguing, “One thing that is striking is what Cruz did not mean. For decades, centuries, the accusation of being ‘very New York’ or ‘too New York’ or ‘having New York values’ meant, simply and frankly, too Jewish. ... For the first time in modern history, a right-wing opportunist has attacked New York values without being even subliminally anti-Semitic.” 

Perhaps Gopnik had a point in saying that in the absence of other evidence, Cruz deserved the benefit of the doubt from accusations of using an old anti-Semitic trope. But now Cruz has clarified what New York means in his mind. Again, talking about Trump at recent New Hampshire event, Cruz said, “For him to make this attack, to use a New York term, it’s the height of chutzpah.” 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.