Christians Just Booed Ted Cruz Off Stage

Rising star Sen. Ted Cruz ran into another hurdle on his way to the 2016 presidential ticket on Wednesday. While delivering the keynote address at an event sponsored by the group In Defense of Christians, Cruz was booed off stage after announcing his support for Israel. Perhaps the group being composed of Middle Eastern Christians, who are routinely persecuted in the embattled region, had something to do with it.

The dinner was apparently going swell for Cruz until he said, "Christians have no greater ally than Israel." That statement sparked his first round of boos and shouts of "stop it" from the audience.

Cruz seemed taken aback by the audience's response. Earlier in his speech, the junior senator stated that "we are all united in defense" of Jews and Christians. However, his unwavering support for Israel did not sit well with the audience of Middle Eastern Christians and other minority groups. Although a representative from the event came on stage, asking for "a respectful dialogue" from the audience, the shouts continued.

Cruz seemed unwilling to continue his speech, saying:

I will say this: I'm saddened to see that some here, not everyone, are so consumed with hate. I will say this: If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you. Thank you, and God bless you.

In a video from the event, captured by EWTN News Nightly’s Jason Calvi, shouts of "enough" and "no" and "you speak for yourself" before Cruz left the stage.

Following the event, Cruz released a statement denouncing anti-semitism and bigotry. He said he attend the event to "help shine a light" on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, and had "no choice" but to leave after receiving boos.

I told the attendees that those who hate Israel also hate America, that those who hate Jews also hate Christians, and that anyone who hates Israel and the Jewish people is not following the teachings of Christ. These statements were met with angry boos. I went on to tell the crowd that Christians in the Middle East have no better friend than Israel. That Christians can practice their faith free of persecution in Israel. And that ISIS, al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah, along with their state sponsors in Syria and Iran, are all part of the same cancer, murdering Christians and Jews alike. Hate is hate, and murder is murder. ... [B]igotry and hatred have no place in this discussion. Anti-Semitism is a corrosive evil, and it reared its ugly head tonight.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In Defense of Christians, which is a relatively new organization, also released a statement on Wednesday. The group blamed the incident on a few "politically motivated opportunists," one of whom may have been Cruz himself:

Tonight's injection of politics when the focus should have been on unity and faith, momentarily played into the hands of a few who do not adhere to IDC's principles. They were made no longer welcome.

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