When Texas Senator Ted Cruz found out the hard way that he was addressing an anti-Israel crowd, he neither tried to temper his remarks, nor pander to the cries of his opponents. Neither, as the boos and hisses increased, did the firebrand conservative stalwart become combative. Instead, in a display of character and presence so rarely seen from politicians of either party today, Cruz calmly walked off the stage.
But before doing so, he paused, quickly collected his thoughts and without a hint of anger or trace of confrontation said, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jewish people, then I will not stand with you. Good Night and God bless you.” Then, smiling, he waved to crowd and left.
The event that Cruz and others thought would include a pro-Israel audience, was in fact, something quite different. The event was a dinner gala hosted in Washington by a new non-profit group about which much still remains unknown. Called “In Defense of Christians,” the “Tonight”, said Cruz, “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.”
According to those present and the amateur video clips that have appeared on youtube, Cruz spoke, as he normally does, without notes or props.
“Sometimes,” he continued, “we are told not to loop these groups [Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qeada, ISIS] together, that we have to understand their so called nuances and differences. But we shouldn’t try to parse different manifestations of evil that are on a murderous rampage through the region. Hate is hate, and murder is murder.”
The remarks that set the audience off started when Cruz said “Christians have no greater ally than Israel.” Boos and yells began. As did cries of “stop it.” Things got so heated that the leader of the group, Toufic Baaklini, was forced to take the microphone in order to implore his group to receive Senator Cruz’s greetings with common decency.
If Senator Cruz’s handling of the event was any hint as to how a President Cruz might work to restore moral clarity and US prestige in a world rapidly descending into chaos, perhaps January 20, 2017 can not come soon enough.