Washington (AINA) -- Speaking at the In Defense of Christians (IDC) summit in Washington yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz ran afoul of the attendees who had gathered to build support for the Christians of Iraq, who are facing a genocide by ISIS.
Senator Cruz was introduced by Nina Shea, the director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute.
Senator Cruz began by saying all gathered here are united in defense of Christians and Jews, and received applause.
He then said "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 to disagree with their religious teachings."
When Senator Cruz said "And today Christians have no better ally than the Jewish state" audience members began to object, saying "stop it" and booing. He immediately followed by saying "Let me say this: those who hate Israel hate America." At this point the audience became very agitated.
Here's the full transcript followed by the audio recording of the speech.
Good evening. Today we are gathered at a time of extraordinary challenge. Tonight 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 to disagree with their religious teachings.
Religious bigotry is a cancer with many manifestations. ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and their state sponsors like Syria and Iran, are all engaged in a vicious genocidal campaign to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East.
Sometimes we are told not to lump these groups together, but we have to understand their so-called nuances and differences. But we shouldn't try to parse different manifestations of evil that are on murderous rampage through the region. Hate is hate and murder is murder.
Our purpose here tonight is to highlight a terrible injustice, a humanitarian crisis. Christians are being systematically exterminated.
In 1948 Jews throughout the Middle East faced murder and extermination and fled to the nation of Israel. And today Christians have no better ally than the Jewish state.
AUDIENCE: stop it, stop it...boooh
Cruz: Let me say this: those who hate Israel hate America.
Cruz: And those who hate Jews hate Christians.
Cruz: And if this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps that the men and women here will not stand in solidarity with Jews and Christians alike who are persecuted by radicals who seek to murder them.
If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ--
AUDIENCE: nobody said we hate the Jews...the meeting is for the Christians...
Cruz: And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target and murder Jews for their faith for the same reason.
AUDIENCE: ...is not fighting Jews, it is fighting Christians...
Cruz: I will say this--
AUDIENCE: don't say anymore...enough...that is enough...enough
THE PRESIDENT OF IDC: please respect the...
Cruz: I am saddened to see some here, not everyone, but some here are so consumed with hate--
AUDIENCE: We are not consumed with hate, no, you are consumed with hate--
Cruz: ...if you will not stand with Israel and Jews, then I will not stand with you. Thank you and God bless you.
AINA interviewed several conference attendees after the event and most said that they were there to discuss the plight of the Christians in Iraq, not the Israel-Hamas conflict, and they resented the senator's attempt to "hijack" the summit.
IDC issued the following statement on the "disruption:"
In Defense of Christians President Toufic Baaklini issued the following statement in response to a disruption at the Inaugural Summit Gala Dinner:
As Cardinal Rai so eloquently put it to the attendees of the In Defense of Christians' inaugural Summit gala dinner: 'At every wedding, there are a few wedding crashers.' In this case, a few politically motivated opportunists chose to divide a room that for more than 48 hours sought unity in opposing the shared threat of genocide, faced not only by our Christian brothers and sisters, but our Jewish brothers and sisters and people of other all other faiths and all people of good will.
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.
When we set out to form In Defense of Christians, many in the foreign policy and faith-based communities said such an effort was impossible. That it would be too difficult to bring such a diverse group of Christian sects, religious and human rights organizations together to draw attention not only to the plight of the deteriorating situation facing our Christians brothers and sisters, but also to the plight of all people of faith, in the Middle East who are suffering.
For more than 48 hours, our initial IDC conference was successfully bridging divides of faith, language, geography and politics. It has not been easy, and not without challenges. Tonight's events make clearer than ever, that the In Defense of Christians is desperately needed in a world that remains divided to the point where even the most fundamental value of life and human dignity are cast aside.
We remain undaunted and focused on achieving our goals.
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