Candace Owens, the conservative pundit who hosts a podcast for the online network The Daily Wire, posted a cryptic message on social media Tuesday, consisting of Bible quotes about persecution and the worship of money, and the statement "Christ is King."
The posts, her first on the platform in two days, came shortly after Ben Shapiro, the Orthodox Jewish pundit who is also her employer, called Owens's response to the war in Gaza "disgraceful." Owens has not responded to Shapiro's comments.
The posts on the social media platform X appeared to some as an antisemitic dog-whistle, alluding to Shapiro's comments and invoking ancient anti-Jewish tropes through its use of Biblical language and its appeal to the Christian faith. Yashar Ali, the prominent journalist with more than 700,000 followers on the site, shared a screenshot and said, "I know what Candace's tweets mean."
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against…— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) November 14, 2023
The first post begins with a passage from the Gospel of Matthew (5:9-11): "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." It continues, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."
Owens then jumps to a different section of the Gospel of Matthew (6:24) that reads: "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." The second post just reads, "Christ is King."
Shapiro then responds by saying: "Candace, if you feel that taking money from The Daily Wire somehow comes between you and God, by all means quit."
Owens then responded by posting: "You have been acting unprofessional and emotionally unhinged for weeks now. And we have all had to sit back and allow it and have all tried to exercise exceeding understanding for your raw emotion. But you cross a certain line when you come for scripture and read yourself into it. I will not tolerate it."
Owens announces interview with Tucker Carlson, who has made similar remarks
Owens did not elaborate on the meaning of her posts, and she did not post again until the following day, to announce an upcoming interview with Tucker Carlson, to be released Wednesday evening. The two have both been accused of antisemitism in the past. Carlson, who was the most-watched host on Fox News until his ouster in April, is currently facing a lawsuit from Abby Grossberg, a former producer of his show who alleges that Carlson created a hostile workplace that was, among other things, rife with antisemitism.
Owens has also faced repeated condemnation for a statement in 2019 that "If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well - okay, fine. The problem is he had dreams outside of Germany," to illustrate a distinction between nationalism and imperialism. Owens went on to call Hitler a "homicidal, psychotic maniac," and rejects any claim that she meant to endorse Hitler's activity in Germany, but the remarks are frequently cited by those who criticize her.
Ben Shapiro condemns a “disgraceful” Candace Owens for her “faux sophistication” on the issue of Israel. She has been checked on air for getting basic facts wrong. pic.twitter.com/mBRX3mvHxI— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) November 14, 2023
Owens thought Jerusalem's 'Muslim Quarter' was a state-imposed ghetto
Both Owens and Carlson have been critical of the US's support for Israel since Hamas's attack on October 7. Carlson criticized American lawmakers, in particular Republican Lindsey Graham, and the presidential candidate and governor of Florida Ron DeSantis, for their comments following the attack. Carlson suggested that Graham was speaking recklessly and risking escalation without a plan, and that DeSantis was focusing on the plight of Israelis in a way that he wouldn't on the plight of Americans.
Candace Owens has criticized Israel's prosecution of the war against Hamas, writing on X that "no country has a right to commit genocide, ever." Owens said that she was not alluding to Israel in particular, but many made the connection given the timing and social context. Those opposed to Israel's activities in Gaza have increasingly accused the country of committing genocide in the war against Hamas, despite Israel's documented efforts to limit civilian casualties and protect those fleeing the more active parts of the warzone.
Following that post, Owens debated Ami Kozak, a comedian who took issue with her treatment of the topic. Criticism of America's support for Israel in the war against Hamas gained attention from outside her audience recently when she debated the issue with the comedian Ami Kozak. Owens, who compared Israel to the American South under Jim Crow, recounted visiting Jerusalem and seeing "the Muslim quarters, [where] the Muslims are allowed to live."
Candace Owens thought the Muslim Quarter was where Muslims were only allowed to go. pic.twitter.com/tj5VBpbQiV— NEWSMIX (@shadowsleepman) November 14, 2023
Kozak clarified to Owens, who looked visibly confused, that the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem is not a community to which Muslims are legally relegated, noting that there is also an Armenian Quarter, "and it's not saying the Armenians can only live here. It's that there are communities." Owens said she "might be wrong" and did not defend her original statement.
Jerusalem's Old City has been referred to as having four 'quarters' - Jewish, Christian, Armenian, and Muslim - since at least the 1840s, when the land was part of the (Muslim) Ottoman empire. Like the rest of the Old City, its population was mixed until the 1929 anti-Jewish riots forced the neighborhood's Jewish community to leave. The Old City had no Jews between 1948 and 1967, following a mass expulsion in the wake of Israel's War of Independence, when the area came under Jordanian control. Today, the population is mixed between Jews, Muslims, and Christians.