In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke about the current wave of violence in Israel and its connection to the Iranian nuclear deal, which Cruz remains determined to halt.
Cruz expressed disappointment with the Republican leadership in Congress for failing to take actions he proposed for blocking the Iran nuclear deal. He mentioned a letter he wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, in which he noted that the full deal was not submitted to Congress as required by the Congressional Review Act, making it illegal for the Administration to begin lifting sanctions against Iranian entities.
Knowing that such legal niceties mean little to President Obama, Cruz wanted congressional leaders to “make abundantly clear to each of the banks that are in possession of the frozen billions of dollars that whether or not Obama chooses to disregard or ignore federal law does not exonerate those banks from the obligation to follow binding federal statutes.” He wanted to advise the banks they would be held liable for releasing money to Iran in response to Administration decrees that ran contrary to federal law.
Cruz also wanted Congress to “fund the entire federal government but deny any federal funds to implement this catastrophic deal,” but this recommendation was also dismissed by the leadership.
This could be seen as one of the major themes of Cruz’s tenure in the Senate and presidential campaign: a determination to use all the instruments at the disposal of Congress to thwart the most dangerous elements of the Obama agenda. In other words, he wants to fight like Democrats would and is dismayed when the Republican leadership folds without having played all of its cards.
Nuclear Iran is an issue worth fighting until every card is on the table, in Cruz’s estimation. “Nothing is more important to stopping a nuclear Iran than the next presidential election in America,” he declared, warning that if Hillary Clinton is elected president, “We know to a virtual metaphysical certainty that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons. And if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the odds are unacceptable that it will use those weapons, either against Israel or against America.”
Cruz sees Iran’s renewed energy, increased political capital, and bolstered finances as contributing factors to the current wave of Palestinian unrest. Another factor is the Obama Administration’s constant resort to moral equivalence between terrorist violence and Israel’s response to it. Cruz noted that he has twice called for the resignation of Secretary of State John Kerry over remarks critical of Israel.
“This past week John Kerry and the State Department accused the nation of Israel of terrorism. That is a blatant lie,” said Cruz. “There is a qualitative difference between antics of Palestinian terrorists murdering innocent women and children in response to the relentless incitement from Hamas, from the PA. There’s a qualitative difference between that and the IDF defending the safety and security of the nation of Israel. And John Kerry’s suggestion that they are morally equivalent is wrong, harmful and deeply offensive.”
One of Cruz’s major points, repeated several times during the Jerusalem Post interview, is that the United States should not dictate the terms of peace to Israel. He was also strongly critical of massive American financial support for the Palestinian government, especially since the Palestinian Authority formed a unity government with Hamas.
“The idea that American taxpayer dollars are going to a government that is in unity with terrorists makes no sense whatsoever. The idea that American taxpayer dollars are going to the PA, which routinely engages in incitement, which celebrates the terrorists who murder women and children, makes no sense whatsoever. We should not be funding people who want to kill us. We should not be funding terrorists,” said the Senator.
Cruz is, in essence, saying that a stable peace agreement never develops with the Palestinian leadership because they do not want one and feel no great pressure to sign a reasonable agreement, because they are constantly protected from the results of intransigence. When U.S. Administrations – including the Bush Administration, which Cruz also criticized – impose conditions and dictate terms to Israel, the Palestinian leadership sees an opportunity to get more for itself by exploiting American preconceptions. Lavish foreign aid enables the Palestinian government to remain quite comfortable while its policies impoverish and jeopardize its people.
Ambitious terrorists crave legitimacy above all else, and the moral equivalence Cruz denounces is a means of conferring legitimacy upon the aggressors. It also encourages the aggressors to see terrorism as a rewarding policy and hope the day may soon arrive when their targets lack the will to resist.
Cruz made this point when responding to a question about whether Israeli settlements “cause” Palestinian terrorism. He said:
That is yet one more area in which the Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy is deeply misguided. The question of settlements is a question for Israel as a sovereign nation to decide. I don’t believe an American president should be dictating to the nation of Israel where Israelis can choose to live. And the fact that Israelis choose to live in Judea and Samaria is not justification for terrorism or murder. And it is yet another example of the Obama Administration’s repeated false moral equivalency to suggest that it is.
Cruz said there would be no such moral equivalence if he reaches the White House. In addition to “ripping to shreds this Iranian nuclear deal on my very first day in office,” Cruz said he would “begin the process of moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the once and eternal capital of Israel.”
“I believe one of the most, if not the most important issue in the 2016 presidential elections will be restoring American leadership in the world,” he said. “That consists of number one, standing by our friends and allies. And number two, standing up to our enemies.”
“In both regards, the Obama-Clinton foreign policy has been deeply misguided,” Cruz continued. “We have proven over and over again to be an unreliable friend to our allies under President Obama. Indeed, as I travel abroad and meet with heads of states, foreign ministers and defense ministers of allies across the world, the message is consistently the same, which is: ‘Where is America? We cannot do this without America leading in the world.'”