Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a rising star in the Republican Party who is widely believed to be mulling a race for the GOP nomination for president, was jeered off the stage at a gala in Washington on Wednesday after expressing support for Israel.
According to The Daily Caller, Cruz stood at the podium to deliver the keynote address before an organization known as “In Defense of Christians,” which describes itself as a “non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to heighten awareness among policymakers and the general public of the existence of ancient and often persecuted minority communities in the Middle East, particularly Christians.”
“Tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians,” Cruz began his speech by saying. “Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews.”
“ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, state sponsors like Syria and Iran, are all engaged in a vicious genocidal campaign to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East,” the Texas senator said.
It was when Cruz began to reference Israel in his speech that the audience grew restless and hostile.
“Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” he said, prompting boos. “Those who hate Israel hate America.”
Cruz then sought to shout over the catcallers, saying: “Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. 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 Jews for their faith, for the same reason.”
The head of In Defense of Christians released a statement condemning Cruz’s hecklers.
“A few politically motivated opportunists chose to divide a room that for more than 48 hours sought unity in opposing the shared threat of genocide, faced not only by our Christian brothers and sisters, but our Jewish brothers and sisters and people of all other faiths and all people of good will,” said the group’s president, Toufic Baaklini.
“Tonight’s injection of politics when the focus should have been on unity and faith, momentarily played into the hands of a few who do not adhere to IDC’s principles. They were made no longer welcome.”