Texas Senator Ted Cruz was the honored guest and keynote speaker Wednesday night at a Washington D.C. dinner gala, part of a conference dealing with issues facing Christians in the Middle East. It was the sort of setting where one might expect the Texas Republican to be right at home.
But in a shocking turn of events, Cruz faced angry shouts and loud boos from members of the audience — a hostile reaction so intense that the senator abruptly walked offstage and left the event.
Why? What happened that led to this astonishing moment? At the center of the controversy was Cruz’s wholehearted support for Israel.
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The Daily Caller reports on the angry back-and-forth at the dinner for the recently founded non-profit “In Defense of Christians”:
Sen. Ted Cruz was booed offstage at a conference for Middle Eastern Christians Wednesday night after saying that “Christians have no greater ally than Israel.”
Cruz…began by saying that “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 disagree with their religious teachings.”
“Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” he said, at which point members of the crowd began to yell “stop it” and booed him.
EWTN News Nightly’s Jason Calvi caught the moment on video. [seen above]
Breitbart.com reached out to Cruz after the event, and the Texas senator offered his reaction to being shouted down:
“Tonight, in Washington, should have been a night of unity as we came together for the inaugural event for a group that calls itself ‘In Defense of Christians.’ Instead, it unfortunately deteriorated into a shameful display of bigotry and hatred,” Cruz said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “When I spoke in strong support of Israel and the Jewish people, who are being persecuted and murdered by the same vicious terrorists who are also slaughtering Christians, many Christians in the audience applauded. But, sadly, a vocal and angry minority of attendees at the conference tried to shout down my expression of solidarity with Israel.”
The Daily Caller piece offers insight as to what may have prompted the hostile reaction to Cruz’s outspoken defense of Israel:
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.
Image Credit: EWTN News Nightly