The Corner

Politics & Policy

‘If You Will Not Stand with Israel and the Jews, Then I Will Not Stand with You’

In response to Which Budget Category Covers Sarah Palin’s Clothes?

In the course of sparring with Donald Trump at the Republican candidates’ debate in North Charleston earlier this month, Ted Cruz accused him of having “New York values.”

What are those? Let the governor of New York explain:

These extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro–assault weapon, anti-gay. . . . They have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

If they’re moderate Republicans like in the [state] senate right now, who control the senate — moderate Republicans have a place in their state. George Pataki, governor of this state as a moderate Republican, but not what you’re hearing from them [Republicans] on the far right.

That was Andrew Cuomo on WCNY radio two years ago. Presumably by “anti-gay” he meant supportive of the traditional definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio backed him up:

I think he’s saying that the attitude of those who want to continue the status quo on guns or want to challenge and deny the right to choose does not reflect the values of New Yorkers. He was absolutely right to say what he said.

“Hey, I lived in New York City, in Manhattan, all my life, okay?” Trump told Tim Russert on Meet the Press in 1999. “So, you know, my views are a little different than if I lived in Iowa, perhaps.” Trump went on to confirm that he was “very pro-choice” and, if president, would not approve a ban on partial-birth abortion.

The common thread running through the comments of all three — Cuomo, de Blasio, Trump — is support for abortion rights. That is, all three have registered their opposition to an unborn child’s right to life and have explained that opposition as a “New York” value. Trump now says that he has changed his mind and is pro-life, though he demonstrates little enthusiasm for the pro-life cause and little interest in social issues generally.

“New York values” — social conservatives heard it and understood it to mean “abortion, same-sex marriage, social liberalism.” What some on the left heard, or so they say, was a dog whistle: They say that Cruz meant “Jews.”

Here is what Cruz has said about Jews publicly, in the light, not in the darkness of the imagination of his detractors:

In 1948, Jews throughout the Middle East faced murder and extermination and fled to the nation of Israel. And today, Christians have no greater ally than the Jewish state.

Let me say this: Those who hate Israel hate America. And those who hate Jews hate Christians. And if this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps, that the men and women here will not stand in solidarity with Jews and Christians alike who are persecuted by radicals who seek to murder them.

If you hate the Jewish people, you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target and murder Jews for their faith, for the same reason.

I will say this: I am saddened to see that some here — not everyone, but some here — are so consumed with hate that you cannot address your brother.

I will say this: If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you. Thank you, and God bless you.

It was September 2014, and Cruz was speaking to In Defense of Christians, a group of primarily Arab Christian leaders meeting to discuss the persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East. With each successive sentence, the audience registered its mixture of boos and applause. A moderator took the stage at one point to try to restore calm.

Was Cruz deliberately provoking his audience so he could affirm his pro-Israel bona fides to his conservative base? Some think so. I tend to think that his motives were complex. Watch the video and judge for yourself:

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

The point is this: Whether you think Cruz’s remarks at the IDC meeting were cynical or sincere or somewhere between, they render implausible the thought that he’s anti-Semitic or interested in appealing to anti-Semitism in his audience. It’s rather the opposite: Cruz stressed, as American Evangelicals are known to do more often than most Christians, what is warm in the close, complex relationship between Christianity and America, America and Israel, and Israel and Christianity.

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