WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Sen. Ted Cruz was booed off stage at a Christian conference after making comments in support of Israel.
Cruz was the keynote speaker at the In Defense of Christians summit, a group that focuses on minorities in the Middle East, in Washington Wednesday night. Video shows the Texas Republican making strong comments in support of Israel, much to the crowd's annoyance.
"Religious bigotry is a cancer with many manifestations," he said. "ISIS, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas, 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 loop these groups together, that we have to understand their so called nuances and differences," he went on. "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. Our purpose here tonight is to highlight a terrible injustice, a humanitarian crisis."
The audience turned against him when he said: "Christians have no greater ally than Israel."
Shouts of "stop it!" intermingled with boos, and demands for him to leave went on as he continued speaking.
"Those who hate Israel hate America," he said. "Those who hate Jews hate Christians."
"If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. 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 Jews for their faith, for the same reason."
IDC's president tried to calm the crowd, but Cruz said he'd had enough.
"If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews," he said. "Then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless."
In a statement to Breitbart, Cruz called the incident "a display of bigotry and hatred."
"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," he said. "American leaders have been far too silent as to this horrific evil. But bigotry and hatred have no place in this discussion. Antisemitism is a corrosive evil, and it reared its ugly head tonight."
"After just a few minutes, I had no choice," Cruz said. "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."