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Ted Cruz praises Israel and gets booed off stage at D.C. Christian conference

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.
AUDIENCE: boooh–
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 (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:




Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss

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37 Responses

  1. Krauss on September 11, 2014, 10:13 am

    Arab Christians has sometimes been seen as a safety valve, or a dividing line used by Zionist groups to differentiate the opposition. We see the same tactic in Israel where they are trying to splinter the Arabs according to their religious beliefs.

    I’m pleased to see that such a tactic is failing in the U.S.

    However, I’m also certain that Cruz is probably feeling very giddy right now. He just got a massive boon to his fundraising efforts.

      • Philip Munger on September 11, 2014, 12:20 pm

        The full video Krauss links to is well worth watching. The full video isn’t up at Youtube yet, but here are Christian Broadcasting Network’s highlights:

        It is interesting to compare the full video of this to the full video of the pushback against Sen. Sanders. Sanders’ tirade never made the mainstream news aggregators like memorandum, for instance. This one is being covered by The Daily Caller, Politico, the Washington Post, RedState, the National Review , and Breitbart, to name a few. CBN’s David Brody, almost cynically notes:

        Look folks, a couple things here. Some, not all Christians in the Middle East see Israel in a far different light than evangelical Christians. Clearly, Ted Cruz understood that last night. But also, let’s remember here: Born-Again Evangelical Christians LOVE Israel. It’s just that simple. Trust me. I know. Why? Well, I’m Jewish. I gave my life to Jesus (who was JEWISH) in 1988 and I walked into evangelical Christianity with some initial skepticism but guess what? I found that Evangelical Christians embrace the Jewish people (and Israel) more than any other faith. There’s no disputing that. More on all of this in a separate blog.

        Oh, one more thing. Ted Cruz getting booed off stage is not a bad scenario at all for the Senator. Standing with Israel and willing to walk off stage because of it will endear him to evangelical Christians around America, especially in (wink wink) Iowa and South Carolina if he runs for president. [emphasis added]

        Might be worth following up on what he writes in his “separate blog” post….

        The Daily Caller’s Tristyn Bloom looks at it from another perspective:

        The cries of “stop it, stop it, enough,” and booing continued. “Out, out, leave the stage!” At this point IDC’s president, Toufic Baaklini, came out to the stage to ask for the crowd to listen to Cruz, but Cruz had already had enough.

        “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews,” he said. “Then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless.” And with that, he walked off the stage.

        Many Christians in the Middle East take issue with Israeli military policy, which has made life for Palestinian Christians in their homeland very difficult, and driven many from their homes. “Israel’s policies have led to demographic pressure that’s made the West Bank and Gaza far more Muslim than in 1948,” explained one Middle East analyst.

        IDC’s Executive Director, Andrew Doran, then came out on stage, saying “For the love of God, we’re here to talk about Christians and we’re here to be united.”

        Antiochian Orthodox Metropolitan Joseph Zahlawi, who leads the Antiochian Orthodox in North America, soon after led those present in the Lord’s Prayer.

        Sanders’ staff has underplayed the Vermont encounter. I suspect Cruz’s staff is learning a lot, as they prepare to maximize what happened at this contentious event. He has never struck me as very bright, but he is shrewd.

  2. just on September 11, 2014, 10:16 am


  3. Kay24 on September 11, 2014, 10:25 am

    Heh it all backfired on Cruz. I am sure there are many Americans who must have seen the carnage, the children being killed, babies being blown up in their homes, and realized just who the terrorists are. The tide seem to be turning after the slaughter in Gaza.

    Unfortunately, because polling companies, media, and think tanks are “under occupation”, we will never know the true numbers.

    We need lots more of these boos, at these meetings, to make the politicians who keep showing devotion to zionists every day, realize they are getting unpopular for doing so.

  4. ckg on September 11, 2014, 10:31 am

    It’s important to note that the Christians who jeered Cruz’s remarks were largely Arab and Middle Eastern Christians. They’ve been consistent through the decades in their views about Israel–the Gaza massacre didn’t change that. But they are a marginal presence in American christendom, unfortunately.

    • peter123 on September 11, 2014, 10:49 am

      Your statement must be incorrect about “marginal presence” since there are so many variations of American christendom to make such a claim. Your claim makes the assumption that they want to belong to what group exactly?

      Your second assertion about those jeering being Arab and Middle Eastern Christians…please give me the exact count and make up of those jeering…since you must have everyone’s ethic identity…otherwise you are just making another uninformed statement.

      • joecatron on September 11, 2014, 12:29 pm

        “The primary purpose of the Summit is to bring all members of the Diaspora together in a newfound sense of unity. Whether Orthodox or Catholic; Evangelical, Coptic or Maronite; Syriac, Lebanese, Chaldean or Assyrian – all Middle Eastern Christians will be called on to join together in solidarity. ”

      • ckg on September 11, 2014, 2:30 pm

        According to the Arab American Institute, 63% of the 3.5 million Arab-Americans are Christian, which is a small fraction of the 73% of 314 million Americans who identify as Christian (per Pew). Because of this Cruz stunt yesterday, many commentors on online news sites are attacking the sincerity of Christians from the Middle East who are critical of Israel. They are being smeared as “Muslims in sheep’s clothing”, “fake Christians”, “antichrist”, “Middle Easterners that claim to be Christian”, “in league with the Anti-Christ”, “Jew-haters”, etc.

      • Philip Munger on September 11, 2014, 3:07 pm

        responding to cog @2:30 – do you have some links? This is disturbing.

      • ckg on September 11, 2014, 3:20 pm

        Philip–these are in the “comments” section.

      • ckg on September 13, 2014, 7:08 am

        Tim Mak writes “Christians Enraged With Cruz Over Pro-Israel Comments” in the Daily Beast:

        Some conservative websites weighed in in support of Cruz, but may have overstepped in doing so—with two websites implying that the Middle Eastern Christians present at the event were not Christians at all.

        Both Breitbart News and Townhall wrote defenses that put the word “Christian” in scare quotes—as if those who heckled Cruz might not appropriately be termed so. Breitbart has since taken down the quotation marks.

    • Boomer on September 11, 2014, 11:34 am

      Yes, I suspect you are correct. Cruz knew what he was doing, and–at least in terms of Texas politics–he accomplished his objective. (Not a benign objective, alas.) I do believe that things are changing among mainline Christian denominations, but the change is not yet fully accomplished, and those denominations–while important–are not as important in American society as they used to be.

  5. michelle on September 11, 2014, 12:00 pm

    it takes a bit of time for some people to realize the horse they’re riding has died
    G-d Bless

    • talknic on September 11, 2014, 9:57 pm

      Longer to realize other folk already knew it was dead and even longer to then stop trying to flog it!

  6. W.Jones on September 11, 2014, 12:00 pm

    — (Lady complains that tons of cash is being sent to the Israeli state)

    Bernie: I support the Two State Solution. (complains about Hamas)

    Crowd response: — Two state solution is not going to happen.

    Bernie: I don’t have a magic answer. If you have another answer, that’s great.

    (So his answer to the original question about funding during Israeli war crimes is to complain about Hamas and say he doesn’t have an answer.)

    I understand why people are interrupting him – they feel that he acts like a brick wall on the topic, even though he should be a leading left wing senator.

  7. tear-stained uzi on September 11, 2014, 5:11 pm

    Cruz is shrewd enough to know he can always count on racism trumping ‘brotherly love’ when it comes to conservative white evangelicals.

    Those so-called ‘Christians’ at the IDC summit are just a shade too brown to be believable — never mind that they are actually from the Holy Land. They make a great ‘anti-semitic’ foil, though, when trying to get Shelly Adelson’s attention.

    Jesus wept.

  8. Rusty Pipes on September 11, 2014, 5:47 pm

    Looks like Cruz knew exactly what he was setting up for a media sound bite – red meat for his evangelical Christian base and for some Zionist donors. Even though the Arab Christians at the conference came from a variety of nationalities and denominations, few of them could be expected to applaud for someone who claimed that they have no greater friend than Israel, when Israel has attacked many of its Arab neighbors (including their Christian populations). Maybe some relatives of the South Lebanon Army (collaborators in Israel’s occupation of Lebanon) would applaud, but few others.

  9. Palikari on September 11, 2014, 6:30 pm

    I love Ted Cruz! He’s a brave and righteous man. I wish all US politicians were like him.

    Thank you for all your support, Ted. :)

    • ckg on September 11, 2014, 9:14 pm

      No surprise to learn that you love Ted Cruz, Palikari. Having Ted Cruz has the champion of Israel is wonderful for all of us.

  10. AppleFolsom on September 11, 2014, 6:39 pm

    As a Christian in the Northeastern United States (New England), I stand with these Middle East Christians and reject Cruz’s position that one must align Christianity with Israel.

    Christians, Muslims and non-Zionist Jews must oppose propaganda designed to promote war and conflict:

  11. AppleFolsom on September 11, 2014, 6:52 pm

    I watched the video of Bernie Sanders being challenged on his propaganda.

    I am proud of my fellow New Englanders and hope that those in the Middle East who may view that exchange hear the outrage in the voices of New England Yankees shouting, “Bull Shit!” at their elected representative. The Palestinians are a population held hostage and the American Public is waking up to the long deception.

  12. ckg on September 11, 2014, 7:04 pm

    Democratic Party-affiliated Media Matters apparently doesn’t think this is newsworthy. They seem okay with letting Cruz defame Arab Christians.

  13. joecatron on September 11, 2014, 7:22 pm

    While I respect some of the speakers featured at the IDC conference, the outfit itself seems, as Maidhc Ó Cathail says (, “shady.”

    Here’s its executive director, Andrew Doran, writing in the neoconservative National Review on “Intervention as Duty” in Iraq:

    It seems to me that Cruz may have had a better idea of where he was than some of the other, more principled attendees.

    • ckg on September 11, 2014, 8:30 pm

      Excellent links, Joe.

      • Maidhc on September 12, 2014, 10:53 am

        Here’s an update to the post cited by Joe Catron that provides some further evidence to support my suspicion that the IDC is a “shady” outfit and that its summit was part of a wider interventionist effort by Israel and its partisans:

        In an Aug. 19 New York Times op-ed, Ronald Lauder asks “Who Will Stand Up for the Christians?” Unless one is to believe that the president of the World Jewish Congress is disinterestedly concerned about Christian suffering, there clearly is a concerted effort by pro-Israelis to exploit the persecution of minorities in the Middle East to induce “the strongest military power on earth” to intervene further in the region in order to advance Israeli hegemony.

  14. ckg on September 11, 2014, 8:40 pm

    Cruz’s stunt didn’t fool everyone:

    Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), a moderate Republican, called remarks made Wednesday by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) at a Christian event “outrageous and incendiary.”

    In an interview Thursday, Dent said he was sitting in the front row as Cruz spoke at a gala hosted by In Defense of Christians, an organization that seeks to raise awareness of the persecution of Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East, and that he cringed as Cruz responded to hecklers.

    “I support Israel, but what Senator Cruz did was outrageous and incendiary,” Dent said. “He showed a true lack of sensitivity for the people he was speaking to, especially the religious leaders who were there. It was a political speech, inappropriate and, overall, an uncomfortable moment.”

    Dent added that Cruz seemed to be speaking “for another audience” beyond the ballroom that would later watch the video.

    “He was speaking to people outside of the building,” Dent said. “It was a willful and deliberate confrontation, and very self-serving.”

    • Philip Munger on September 11, 2014, 9:19 pm

      from the WaPo article ckg cites:

      Dent, whose district has a large population of Americans of Syrian and Lebanese descent, said he sympathized with those who were unhappy with Cruz, and wondered if the senator’s intent was to inflame the audience in order to gain traction with tea party activists ahead of a potential 2016 presidential run.

      • ckg on September 11, 2014, 9:55 pm

        Philip, indeed. The meeting was being attacked from the far right Washington Free Beacon: “Cruz Headlines Conference Featuring Hezbollah Supporters”. Cruz must have seen a political opportunity and he played it according to plan.

  15. JLewisDickerson on September 11, 2014, 10:36 pm

    Ted Cruz’s Father Suggested His Son Is ‘Anointed’ to Bring About ‘End Time Transfer of Wealth’
    Posted by Bruce Wilson at 10:36 am @
    October 17, 2013

    Oct 17, 2013 – In a sermon last year at an Irving, Texas, megachurch that helped elect Ted Cruz to the United States Senate, Cruz’ father Rafael Cruz indicated that his son was among the evangelical Christians who are anointed as “kings” to take control of all sectors of society, an agenda commonly referred to as the “Seven Mountains” mandate, and “bring the spoils of war to the priests”, thus helping to bring about a prophesied “great transfer of wealth”, from the “wicked” to righteous gentile believers. link to video of Rafael Cruz describing the “great transfer of wealth” and the role of anointed “kings” in various sectors of society, including government, who are to “bring the spoils of war to the priests”.

    Rafael Cruz’ dominionist sermon given August 26, 2012, at the New Beginnings Church of pastor Larry Huch, in Irving, Texas has already received considerable scrutiny due to an excellent Huffington Post commentary by Methodist Associate Pastor Morgan Guyton, who noted the explicitly dominionist nature of pastor Cruz’ sermon, which concerned the divine mandate for believers, with anointing of “kings” in their respective spheres, to take control over all sectors of society.

    Cruz spoke of “Kings who are anointed to go to war, win the war, and bring the spoils of war to the priests.”

    Discussion of the now-notorious speech by Rafael Cruz has missed the fact that Ted Cruz was subsequently blessed and anointed by prominent dominionist pastors, in effect as a “king” in the political/governmental sphere, at a special blessing ceremony at the Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, at a July 19th-20th 2013 rally designed to draw pastors into politics.

    SOURCE –

  16. Walid on September 12, 2014, 1:04 am

    For those that aren’t familiar with what the problem and the conference were about, in a nutshell, before the US introduced democracy in Iraq, there were 3 million Christians; today there are 300,000 remaining. The West’s vocation of emptying the ME of its Christians and redrawing borders goes back to the days of Kissinger.

    Cruz’ opportunistic and shameful circus act came to a sudden end when Patriarch Laham (Melkite Greek Catholic) walked out. Later Maronite Catholic Patriarch Raii to diffuse the tension created by the Cruz incident erroneously made light humour of what had happened. This was the same Patriarch that had been insulted a couple of years earlier by Sarkozy’s offer to transfer all of Lebanon’s Christians to France. France, not one to give up in the West’s never-ending mission to fracture the ME recently made the same irreverent offer to Iraq’s Yazidis.

    There’s an Israeli hand in all this emptying of the ME of its Christians, but as with everything else devious in what it does, it has others doing this vile work for it.

  17. MRW on September 12, 2014, 3:59 am

    Cruz is playing to his donors, and reporters are playing to their editors. The grass roots are waaay beyond them. One woman on the Bernie Sanders video yelled “Fuck Israel” twice. I’ve heard it more than twice in the last eight weeks from ordinary people who don’t usually say “fuck” under any polite circumstances.

  18. piotr on September 12, 2014, 9:16 am

    The American empire policy in the Middle East was determined by the common denominator of the wishes of its clients, Israel and Gulf monarchies. This leads to a very complicated chart of (a) our dearest friends — Israel however radicalized (b) our friends, Gulf Sunni dictators (c) our bastards, “moderate Syrian opposition”, of which al-Qaeda affiliates are the strongest, (d) the axis of Evil, basically, anybody Shia and anybody related to Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaeda like radicals when not in group (c).

    Middle East Christians are outside the chart, but they are whacked by our dearest friends, friends and our bastards. Interestingly, one large group is Armenians, who are so disgusted with the Empire policies that did not bother to the gathering disrupted by Ted Cruz.

  19. ckg on September 12, 2014, 8:02 pm

    Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, a self-described Tea Party member and “full-throated” supporter of Israel, writes a piece in The Week titled “Ted Cruz and the most cynical, despicable political stunt of the year”.

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