Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – Receiving four standing ovations and several shouted encouragements of “Cruz 2016!” and “Run, Ted, Run!” Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz promised his extremely receptive audience at Sunday night’s annual Zionist Organization of America Justice Louis D. Brandeis award dinner that he would introduce even tougher sanctions on Iran than those already on the table, should the current nuclear deal come to pass.
“We are on the verge of an incredibly bad deal,” Cruz told the dinner of 1,100 supportive attendees, including 261 college students. “I agree with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu that it’s a historic mistake, and in the last year it’s only gotten worse.”
Cruz vowed to the crowd that once the new Republican-majority US Congress is sworn into office in January 2015, the Kirk-Menendez bill on Iran sanctions would come up for a vote again. But, he added, while there is value in “a bipartisan repudiation of this very bad bill, in my view Kirk-Menendez doesn’t go nearly far enough.”
“We’re going to start our own legislation that would immediately impose new sanctions on the nation of Iran, that would strengthen the [current] sanctions to make them more crippling,” Cruz said to thunderous applause. “And then I would lay out a clear, simple path if Iran wants to lift the sanctions: it must disassemble every one of the 19,000 centrifuges, it must had over every pound of enriched uranium, it must shut down ICBM program, and it must stop being the world leading state sponsor of terrorism.”
Preemptively calling the current deal a failure, Cruz predicted the US would be repeating the mistakes of North Korea, and was not hesitant to call out the US administration before an audience that was eager to boo names like Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama, while referring to the media as “useful idiots.”
“A real president who is standing up for the nation of Israel and for US national security interests would stand up on the world stage and say, ‘Under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon,’” he declared. “Iran will either stop or we will stop them.”
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post after the dinner, Cruz said he feels confident that, if Israel decides to attack Iran, it would be for good reason.
“If Israel acts to take out Iran’s nuclear capability and to prevent Iran from acquiring nuke weapon capability and that capability were otherwise imminent, I can think of no greater service to US national security that any country could provide,” Cruz said. “I believe that if Israel believes Iran is near acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, Israel will act.”
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, an attendee at the dinner, said she does not believe Israel should be the one to attack Iran; that responsibility falls on the US.
“The only deal here is to bomb the facilities in Iran,” Bachmann said, adding she thinks the current deal is “a sham.”
“Iran has proved over the decades that they are not a partner.
They are not going to agree in any foreseeable universe to stop their nuclear program,” she said.
Cruz was invited to the dinner to accept the Dr. Bob Shillman Award from Prof. Alan Dershowitz, awarded every year to a pro-Israel legislator with a consistent record supporting Israel and promoting US-Israel ties.
Another awardee on Sunday was Pastor John Hagee, leader of Christians United for Israel, who received his award from Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson.
Hagee, whose CUFI is the largest Christian Zionist organization in the world with some 1.8 million members, gave the sharpest and most critical remarks of the evening, saying America’s “executive branch is in the hands of one of the most anti-Semitic presidents in the history of America.”
Hagee said further that “Obama knows the bond between America and Israel is unbreakable. He knows, because he has been trying to break it for five years.”