Sen. Ted Cruz R-Texas, speaks to the media during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
I guess this is a thing now.
Ted Cruz, one of the most stalwart supporters of Israel and Jewish causes in the Senate, is now being accused of making anti-Semitic remarks. Why? Because he made an objectively true observation (with a touch of sarcasm) about Bloomberg News and Michael Bloomberg’s candidacy.
It’s almost as if he owns the media. https://t.co/0tVTBg0DtT
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 19, 2020
This didn’t sit well with some, including a Democratic Congressman named Andy Levin.
Words matter. Owning the media outlet carrying this message is indeed a problem. However, accusing a Jewish candidate of owning “the media” is anti-Semitic. https://t.co/yTBqmdBFgU
— Rep. Andy Levin (@RepAndyLevin) February 19, 2020
Except in this case, Michael Bloomberg literally owns the media in question. Heck, it’s named after him. And it’s not really debatable whether the paper has been doing his bidding. They pledged to not investigate Bloomberg, which is a really odd thing for a supposed news outlet to do while simultaneously still reporting on his opponents. Putting out a puff piece proclaiming a guy who currently has 0 delegates a front runner is a really, really bad look.
Cruz was making a joke that was fairly prudent in this setting.
Oddly enough, some in conservative media also chimed in with criticisms.
Yes, Bloomberg owns a media empire that shares his name. Suggesting that he owns “all the media” feeds into an anti-Semitic trope that Jews control the media.
If Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib said the same thing about Bloomberg, the right would be apoplectic. pic.twitter.com/aJqvPymqDo
— Siraj Hashmi ???? (@SirajAHashmi) February 19, 2020
That’s a bad take. Again, the dynamics of Bloomberg actually owning the outlet in this case pretty much negate the idea that it’s anti-Semitic to accuse him of owning said outlet. Cruz was specifically citing a Bloomberg News article when he made the comment and it’s clear that’s what he’s talking about.
Also, bringing up Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar is really, really terrible comparison. Yes, perhaps people would care more in that case, but that’s because both of them have long histories of antisemitism.
Context is everything, and to ignore context is intellectually dishonest. Cruz is indisputably one of the most philo-semitic members of Congress. Tlaib and Omar tried to hire a group that peddles blood libel to show them around the West Bank after pushing BDS legislation.Come on. https://t.co/ySAQ2TTbXj
— Erielle Davidson (@politicalelle) February 19, 2020
For his part, Cruz responded accordingly.
What utter nonsense. Its NAME is “Bloomberg News.” He literally owns it. There is no stronger supporter of Israel or foe of antisemitism in the Senate; instead get the House to pass my resolution (passed Senate 100-0) calling out Left-wing antisemitic comments of your colleagues. https://t.co/5TTApTdV3t
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 19, 2020
Look, people can have different opinions about this topic and I get the sensitization toward anti-Semitic tropes. At the same time, if every mention of a Jewish person coupled with mentions of money, media, etc. are called anti-Semitic, it waters down real antisemitism to the point where people stop paying attention. For example, Bloomberg is quite literally trying to by an election right now. That’s not anti-Semitic to point out. It’s simply true. Likewise, pointing out that George Soros is a nefarious figure who’s bankrolled untold numbers of leftist causes is not anti-Semitic either. It’s an admission of reality.
There has to be some common sense applied in these discussions. Cruz is obviously not an anti-Semite while Rashida Tlaib obviously is. Lumping them together to draw some kind of equivocation is foolishness.