After getting some negative attention from the far-right for agreeing to speak at an event for Arab Christians, Texas senator and likely future GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz encouraged his audience to support Israel, described those unwilling to do so as "consumed with hate," and left the stage to a chorus of boos.
Cruz was delivering the keynote address of an event held by In Defense of Christians, a group dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of besieged Christians in the Middle East, when he somewhat unexpectedly changed the topic from vulnerable Christian minorities to the importance of supporting the State of Israel. "Christians have no greater ally than Israel," Cruz said.
As some in the audience began to heckle the senator, Cruz interpreted their criticism as being anti-Semitic in nature, and chastised the audience for what he felt was a display of hate. "I'm saddened to see that some here, not everyone, are so consumed with hate," Cruz said, inspiring another, louder round of heckles. "If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews," Cruz continued, "then I will not stand with you." Cruz then thanked his audience and walked off the stage.
While some audience members would later tell the media their jeers were over Cruz's decision to talk about Israel at an event that, in their eyes, had nothing to do with it, Cruz himself saw the night's developments as the clear result of his audience's intolerance. "I came to this event tonight to help shine a light on the tragic persecution and slaughter of Christians by ISIS and Islamic radicals throughout the Middle East," Cruz says in a statement to the press.
"But bigotry and hatred have no place in this discussion," Cruz continues. "Anti-Semitism is a corrosive evil, and it reared its ugly head tonight. After just a few minutes, I had no choice. I told them that if you will not stand with Israel, if you will not stand with the Jews, then I will not stand with you. And then I walked off the stage."
You can watch video showing the end of Cruz's appearance below: