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Cruz, Israel, and In Defense of Christians

Gage Skidmore [1] / cc [2]

Jonathan Coppage reports [3] on the embarrassing display that Sen. Ted Cruz put on at a summit organized to draw attention to the plight of persecuted Christians:

A humanitarian crisis. Christians, are being systematically exterminated,” Cruz then turned to the 1948 formation of Israel, a sensitive subject for many Palestinian Christians, and declared that ”today, Christians have no greater ally than the Jewish state.”

It was at that point that some in the audience objected to Cruz turning a celebration of Christian unity into a lecture on a divisive subject that many in the crowd experienced as part of their everyday lives. Cruz returned accusations of hatred.

In Defense of Christians [4] (IDC) put out an irenic and balanced statement [5] in response to the incident. As one would expect, Sen. Cruz pretended [6] that he had done nothing wrong, and went so far as to make the ridiculous claim that he had taken a stand against anti-Semitism. Cruz’s behavior was unnecessary, it was insulting to his hosts, it was needlessly provocative to the audience, and it was an embarrassment to his voters. Because he has proven time after time to be a shameless demagogue, none of that will bother him.

An important point that has been lost in many of the reactions to this incident is that Cruz was completely out of line to set some kind of ideological litmus test for the attendees that requires them to endorse the “pro-Israel” views that Cruz happens to hold. Cruz is free to hold those views, and many of his voters agree with him, but it is obnoxious to demand that others, including many Arab Christian clergy in attendance, subscribe to those views in order to obtain Cruz’s sympathy for their plight. Not only is “standing with Israel” irrelevant to the reason for the summit, but as this incident has proven it is a completely unnecessary distraction from the work of the organization that sponsored the event.

The issue should be important enough that it transcends other policy and political disagreements. The fact that Cruz could not recognize this, but instead chose to emphasize and dwell on those disagreements to the point of accusing members of the audience of being “consumed with hatred” reflects very poorly on him. Cruz chose to abuse his place at this gathering for cynical and self-promoting reasons, which unfortunately has become part of a recurring pattern for the junior senator from Texas. The good news is that his shameless behavior may have unintentionally helped to bring more attention to the suffering of Christians throughout the region.

30 Comments (Open | Close)

30 Comments To "Cruz, Israel, and In Defense of Christians"

#1 Comment By Aaron Gross On September 12, 2014 @ 12:45 am

I agree with everything you say about it, but the only thing that bothers me is how you take whatever politicians say at face value. This isn’t just some expression of Cruz’s views on the Middle East. It was a cynical political maneuver by an aspiring presidential candidate, a perfect example of the [7]. It’s almost identical to what Bill Clinton did in 1992.

It’s just bizarre to ignore all that political context and take his words at face value.

#2 Comment By R. Nobel On September 12, 2014 @ 1:11 am

I have a colleague who went to law school with Cruz and said it was apparent to all back then that Cruz suffered from grave emotional & mental disorders. That Cruz was consumed with paridnoid bizarre conspiracy therories, and constantly advocated that the Goverment banish all non-Christians from America & Canada. He said everyone would avoid Cruz at all cost because he was obsessed with trying to convince others that aliens have visited earth, and had planed to take over the world, and Cruz said the aliens were going to make him leader of the Alien world. Perhaps Cruz wasn’t mentally sick, and this is the aliens chosen one?

I’m befuddled as to who would vote for strange fellow, who obviously has many serious issues in matters regarding the health of ones mind?

#3 Comment By ABL On September 12, 2014 @ 4:10 am

Great article on what happened.

#4 Comment By Barry On September 12, 2014 @ 9:07 am

“It was a cynical political maneuver by an aspiring presidential candidate, a perfect example of the Sister Souljah slap.”

I disagree – what Cruz did was basically to go in front of a bunch of Arabs, and let them know that they are ‘Ayrabs’, and that Israel and the US can and fill f_ck them over.

Cruz stood with Likkud.

#5 Comment By Barry On September 12, 2014 @ 9:10 am

BTW, the donation ad covers most of the webpage

#6 Comment By philadelphialawyer On September 12, 2014 @ 9:18 am

Aaron Gross:

Clinton’s Sister Soldier moment involved a rebuke of a person (albeit one expressing extreme views) from a voting bloc, African Americans, that Clinton, as a Democrat, would be relying on. In other words, Clinton’s actions, while politically motivated, calculated and theatrical, at least ran the risk of alienating a key group. Cruz, on the other hand, in his statements, was, far from rebuking, actually pandering to a key group, pro Israel, particularly non Jewish, Evangelical Christian pro Israel voters, in his presumed, GOP, constituency.

Clinton drew a line, and said he would not cross it, even if it alienated some of his most fervent supporters, ie Black folks. Cruz, on the other hand, basically reaffirmed that there is no line, as far as he is concerned. Israel can do no wrong, ever, period, not to Christian Arabs or anyone else, and he won’t be seen as endorsing, even by his silence, the notion that it could.

Clinton’s Sister Soldier moment, while not a profile in courage, was not quite the grotesque charade, the lick spittle, lock step, degrading display of spinelessness that Cruz engaged in.

#7 Comment By Fran Macadam On September 12, 2014 @ 11:46 am

It is true Cruz has no better friend than AIPAC.

That is not the same as being a Christian, or acting in Israel’s best interests. AIPAC distorts both American and Israeli politics with its casino magnate donorist extremism.

#8 Comment By icarusr On September 12, 2014 @ 11:51 am

“but it is obnoxious to demand that others, including many Arab Christian clergy in attendance, subscribe to those views in order to obtain Cruz’s sympathy for their plight.”

He is a charlatan and a knave, but I do not entirely agree with this line. We all have litmus tests of one sort or another for lending support to this group or that, even if the cause is perfectly just. (Here, I would distinguish between sympathy and support.) I can and do sympathize with the plight of Palestinians – whether in Gaza or West Bank or elsewhere – but my support of any specific policy related to Palestinians does hinge on their renunciation of violence – both internal and external. And I don’t think I am being obnoxious for that.

But – what was obnoxious was Cruz’s attendance and speech in the first place, and his use of the platform for grandstanding and hectoring and lecturing.

#9 Comment By Miles Hall On September 12, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

Orthodox Islam demands Jihad against Jews and Christians. While Palestinian Christians and Jews may certainly have their differences, I think Cruz’s point is that it would be logical for them to cooperate against such a mortal enemy. I wasn’t there to hear the tone, etc., but it seems like a pretty rational opinion that regional Jews and Christians could consider working to gether for thier mutual safety.

#10 Comment By Bill On September 12, 2014 @ 12:32 pm

What a purely evil thing to do. But why invite him to speak in the first place? A man who obviously hates Arab Christians and is openly cheering for their demise?

#11 Comment By jamie On September 12, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

I wasn’t there to hear the tone, etc., but it seems like a pretty rational opinion that regional Jews and Christians could consider working to gether for thier mutual safety.

A lot of Arab Christians are, in fact, Palestinian, Syrian, Egyptian and Lebanese, and have no idea that their Muslim neighbors are sworn to Jihad against them — probably for the very good reason that they aren’t and they have lived more or less at peace for a thousand years. One of Isarel’s most astounding achievements is making Dhimmitude look attractive, when the alternative is the depredations of the IDF.

#12 Comment By Fast Jimmy On September 12, 2014 @ 12:49 pm

I see this as a sign of progress. Apparently, a Missouri cop can pontificate about how enthusiastic he is about killing people at an Oath Keepers meeting and the audience will sit in silence.

At least this sorry demagogue was called out by audience members and now has even more circus type drama to, hopefully, help marginalize a fairly transparent manipulator.

#13 Comment By David Tomlin On September 12, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

“Orthodox Islam demands Jihad against Jews and Christians.”

Nonsense. Anti-Islamic propaganda nonsense, to be precise.

Arab Christians and Muslims have been allies against Zionism at least since the Balfour Declaration.

#14 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 12, 2014 @ 1:12 pm

Hmmmmm . . .

while I agree that some measure of consideration could be attended to the audience, I am not sure it’s as a big deal as it seems to be playing out.

Sure the conference is about how to address Chritians’ issues in the region. One doesn’t have to stump for Israel to do that I agree.

And while Sen. Cruz could have couched his comments with more fiinesse, there isn’t much doubt that any action in the region that includes the use of force requires some impact with respect to Israel.

Feel free to send me your next speech Sen. Cruz. Your advisors are not serving you well.

And do reconsider what more mayhem is reaping before advocating for the same.

#15 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 12, 2014 @ 1:16 pm

Note: It is possible to be supportive of Israelwithout being against christians whose views on Israel’s presence and behavior in the region is a bit more circumspect.

While I love Israel — granting any manner of carte blanche pass to do as she will is hardly wise, unless she acts accordingly,

. . . no one guarantees that.

#16 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 12, 2014 @ 1:44 pm

“Orthodox Islam demands Jihad against Jews and Christians.”

You are playing a card that is based on twisting the intent and meaning of ‘jihad.’

And it is nonsense.

#17 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 12, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

“I have a colleague who went to law school with Cruz and said it was apparent to all back then that Cruz suffered from grave emotional & mental disorders. That Cruz was consumed with paridnoid bizarre conspiracy therories, and constantly advocated that the Goverment banish all non-Christians from America & Canada.”

Even if true. I am not sure that is playing fair. I have never heard Sen. Cruz suggest any such thing. As for conspiracies:

Bay of Pigs
Assassination of Lincoln
the over throw of Iran
Arab Spring
9/11
CIA/FBI attempts to derail civil rights JFK actually thought civil rights might have been a communiust plot
Iran – Contra and the use of coacaine sales to fund opetrations
Plots to kill Castro
FBI poisoned pen letters to Dr. King — who’d a thought the rumors were true.

Our country is full of conspiracies real or imagined. That hardly makes someone unhinged. Nor does the support for Israel.

#18 Comment By HyperIon On September 12, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

Miles Hall wrote: Orthodox Islam demands Jihad against Jews and Christians.

As long as folks feel comfortable saying crap like this, there are going to be problems. Take some time and learn more about the variety of Islam.

I could just as easily (and incorrectly) write that Yahweh demands that his believers kill non-believers. Yes, that language is in the Bible, along with other language that contradicts it.

Things are much more complicated than you imply.

#19 Comment By Helvius Pertinax On September 12, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

Ted Cruz was raised in Canada, and now he’s our gift to our friendly neighbors to the south. No need to thank us, America: you gave us NORAD and NATO. It’s the least we can do.

#20 Comment By T. Sledge On September 12, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

Any sane person ought to have a healthy skepticism toward ANYBODY who claims that the SUPREME BEING in THE COSMOS has time to drop the task of keeping order in THE HEAVENS and listen to his/her petty, self-centered longings, be that person a Muslim, a Jew, or yes — a Christian.

This self-serving clown knew EXACTLY the response he wanted and he knew exactly how to get it. The much more effective response to this well planned provocation would have been to allow Ted to make his speech, leave the stage, and be rewarded with STONE SILENCE.

Come to think of it, that might be the best response in The Senate to this pompous fraud also.

#21 Comment By Andrew On September 12, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

@Hyperlon

As long as folks feel comfortable saying crap like this, there are going to be problems. Take some time and learn more about the variety of Islam.

I was born in Caucasus, I have a first hand experience with Jihad and, yes, I read on Islam, a lot, including first class scholars, such as Reilly or Anwar Shaikh. Ted Cruz could be (and most likely he is) a first rate a-hole but please, don’t try to BS about Islam’s “variety”. Jihad is Quran and vice-versa. So is Umdat Al-Salik. It is not a religion–it is a political ideology.

#22 Comment By c matt On September 12, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

Orthodox Islam demands Jihad against Jews and Christians.

It is fair to say that a not insignificant portion of adherents to Islam agree. But there are many that don’t. It may be monotheist, but it is not monolithic. The relative percentages are anyone’s guess.

#23 Comment By Ben H On September 12, 2014 @ 5:30 pm

What’s the over/under on whether Cruz had plants in the crowd to encourage the booing, or did he do this hoping that would happen.

#24 Comment By David Naas On September 12, 2014 @ 6:01 pm

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. … I like to think I am a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me… . You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” — Joseph Welch to Senator Joe McCarthy June 9, 1954, “The Army-McCarthy Hearings”

#25 Comment By Andrew On September 12, 2014 @ 6:17 pm

@с matt

It is fair to say that a not insignificant portion of adherents to Islam agree. But there are many that don’t.

True. But doctrine is a doctrine and this cannot be changed unless that is done from the inside–so, don’t hold your breath. It will get much worse before it will get any better.

#26 Comment By a spencer On September 12, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

For everyone diagnosing muslims and Arabs, you all know muslims and Arabs on a personal basis, correct? You’ve had a conversation with one of the millions of woman who happily wear hijab? Or the millions of muslim women who don’t wear hijab?

No one has to like what I’m about to write, but you can go to South Lebanon and visit predominantly Shia Qana. Don’t worry, there’s a US AID sign on the outskirts and a KFC in town.

If you’re Christian you will almost certainly want to visit the grottos – that’s why you’re there – where, with some geo-historical authority the locals claim Jesus fed the five thousand.

People seem reflexively to refer to the Holy Land as Israel and Palestine. Whither Lebanon and Syria?

Here’s the part where some of you might need to grit your teeth and swallow hard, the Christians in Qana will tell you that it was Hezbollah, the modestly named Party of God, that escorted them to their grottos – the site of Christ’s first miracle – for safety during Israeli shelling.

By the by, there’s a UN monument in Qana dedicated to the Fiji Privates, Corporals and Captains who gave their lives as part of UNIFIL.

#27 Comment By Aaron Gross On September 13, 2014 @ 1:09 am

@philadelphialawyer, good point about Clinton, unlike Cruz, risking alienating an important interest group. But I still see the maneuvers as two instances of the same type.

#28 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 14, 2014 @ 6:18 pm

“Any sane person ought to have a healthy skepticism toward ANYBODY who claims that the SUPREME BEING in THE COSMOS has time to drop the task of keeping order in THE HEAVENS and listen to his/her petty, self-centered longings, be that person a Muslim, a Jew, or yes — a Christian.”

The problem with your observation is that anyone who believes in the supreme being as described in the Bible — understands that the term supreme being means, he could as he sees foit with the universe including spin the heavens like a top and no one be the wiser at the same time he is picking up a sparrow or tending to a nursing mother’s tears. Hence the term — God.
_____________________________________________
“I could just as easily (and incorrectly) write that Yahweh demands that his believers kill non-believers. Yes, that language is in the Bible, along with other language that contradicts it.”

If you are talking about in some general manner, that would be a hard sell. The armor of God is explained with respect to a spiritual battle. And in the old Testament such demands or expectations were directed a specific target.

But it would take some summersaulting to do with the NT. Unlike the Koran/Qu’ran i which it is referenced as a personal struggle and one upon an enemy who asails the faithful – listerally.

Christ makes no such admonitions.

#29 Comment By 055 On September 15, 2014 @ 12:27 am

Did Cruz ever explain WHY Israel is such a good friend to ME Christians? What, precisely, have they done or are they doing to combat the oppression Christians over there face?

#30 Comment By Maria Mitchell On September 15, 2014 @ 5:44 am

Former Secretary of State John Ashcroft is on the advisory board of “In Defense of Christians.” All of the hullabaloo regarding Cruz aside, how exactly do these people advocate “defending” Christians? I read one article that said this wasn’t supposed to be a political event, and yet they invited Ted Cruz to speak and John Ashcroft is associated with them. I would like to know more about them and what they stand for, because I have found that organizations with the words “defending Christianity” or “defending democracy” or “defending freedom” are just neoconservative organizations pushing for war.