As we keep saying, Gaza has changed Israel’s image in American politics: the grassroots are appalled by Israel’s carnage and they’re going to be more and more of a force in American elections, countering the Israel lobby. Last month Bernie Sanders stood by Israel at a Vermont Town Hall meeting and got heckled so angrily by his own leftwing base that he threatened to call the police. “Bullshit!” someone shouted when he said that Israel has a right to defend itself. (Video at the bottom of this post.)
Well the rightwing grassroots are conscious too. Texas Senator Ted Cruz got booed off a Washington stage last night after a Christian audience railed at him for lumping Hamas with ISIS and praising Israel for defending Christians (when it’s undermining Christian life in the occupied territories).
Daily Caller has a partial video— of Cruz stalking off. The Assyrian Int’l news agency has the transcript. The dinner was for the group In Defense of Christians, which among other issues is concerned with ISIS’s attacks on Christians:
Good evening. Today we are gathered at a time of extraordinary challenge. Tonight we are all united in defense of Christians.
Tonight we are all united in defense of Jews.
Tonight we are all united in defense of people of good faith who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who dare to disagree with their religious teachings.
Religious bigotry is a cancer with many manifestations. ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and their state sponsors like Syria and Iran, are all engaged in a vicious genocidal campaign to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East.
Sometimes we are told not to lump these groups together, but we have to understand their so-called nuances and differences. But we shouldn’t try to parse different manifestations of evil that are on murderous rampage through the region. Hate is hate and murder is murder.
Our purpose here tonight is to highlight a terrible injustice, a humanitarian crisis. Christians are being systematically exterminated.
In 1948 Jews throughout the Middle East faced murder and extermination and fled to the nation of Israel. And today Christians have no better ally than the Jewish state.
AUDIENCE: stop it, stop it…boooh
Cruz: Let me say this: those who hate Israel hate America.
Cruz: And those who hate Jews hate Christians.
Cruz: And if this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps that the men and women here will not stand in solidarity with Jews and Christians alike who are persecuted by radicals who seek to murder them.
If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ–
AUDIENCE: nobody said we hate the Jews…the meeting is for the Christians…
Cruz: 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 and murder Jews for their faith for the same reason.
AUDIENCE: …is not fighting Jews, it is fighting Christians…
I will say this–
AUDIENCE: don’t say anymore…enough…that is enough…enough
THE PRESIDENT OF IDC: please respect the…
Cruz: I am saddened to see some here, not everyone, but some here are so consumed with hate–
AUDIENCE: We are not consumed with hate, no, you are consumed with hate–
Cruz: …if you will not stand with Israel and Jews, then I will not stand with you. Thank you and God bless you.
After the gala Cruz followed up with Breitbart.com (they reported the event was hosted by a “purportedly Christian organization”). Cruz said, “Bigotry and hatred have no place in this discussion. Antisemitism is a corrosive evil, and it reared its ugly head tonight,” continuing, “I told them that if you will not stand with Israel, if you will not stand with the Jews, then I will not stand with you. And then I walked off the stage.”
Cruz also said he told the audience, “Those who hate Israel also hate America,” and “Those who hate Jews also hate Christians. And that anyone who hates Israel and the Jewish people is not following the teachings of Christ.”
Here’s Bernie Sanders video: