Senator Ted Cruz booed off stage by Christian group for supporting Israel
Cruz, a Republican presidential hopeful, is not the sort of politician who’s used to being booed. Yet that’s exactly what happened when he appeared as keynote speaker at a dinner gala held by the newly founded organization, In Defense of Christians, a group devoted to persecuted minorities in the Middle East.
The Tea Party favorite, who led a government shutdown last year
over funding for Obamacare, triggered a rumbling in the audience
Wednesday evening when he spoke out in favor of the alliance
between Christians and Jews.
“Tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians. Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews.” he said. “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.”
At this point in his speech some members of the audience were openly stirring.
“Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” Cruz said
in comments that elicited boos and jeers from many in the crowd.
“Those who hate Israel hate America.”
“Speak for yourself!” shouts in the hall could be heard.
Despite the speech not going down well, Cruz still poured it on: “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.”
In an obvious nod to the ISIS threat, he then reminded the audience that Christians and Jews were equally at risk of being killed over their belief systems.
“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.”
Before Cruz left the stage – amidst intense booing and some unenthusiastic applause – he told the conference, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you. Good night and God bless.”
Apparently the strong reaction from the crowd even caught the organizers of the event unawares. In Defense of Christians President Toufic Baaklini issued the following statement in response to the disruption:
“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….They were made no longer welcome.”
Cruz, in an interview with Breitbart News, attributed the reaction from some members of the audience to simple anti-Semitism.
“Anti-Semitism is a corrosive evil, and it reared its ugly head tonight,” he said.