Keeping It Simple

After a few days have gone by, I finally got around to watching the clip of Ted Cruz addressing a dinner hosted by “In Defense of Christians” (IDC). I had seen it referred to in various ways, but with some online calling it a despicable stunt on the part of Cruz.

I saw the entire clip, and not just the part where Cruz left the stage. And I have to say that my respect for Cruz has gone up significantly. It was not a stunt at all — but rather a plain statement of simple principles that ought to be unexceptional .

Having written on Israel fairly often, I believe that I am on the record with regard to the usual and necessary disclaimers. You can read some of that here or here. Zionism was a bad idea. Jews without Jesus need Jesus, just like everybody else. Israel is part of the secularized West, and fully partakes of all the corruption that this entails. This means that I am not shilling for anybody. If you find me something appalling that Israel has done — and this is not a hypothetical — then I will denounce it as appalling. For example, Israel’s tolerance of abortion is as despicable as our own.

But what we are talking about — what Ted Cruz was talking about — was the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Plight is too mild a word for what they have been going through, and Israel is a natural ally to them. And it will not do to point to what Israel has done to those Christians who have been used as human shields. The evil there is done by those who put up such a shield — Israel does have a shield in their Iron Dome, by which they protect their children. There is quite a difference between protecting your children with your weapons, which Israel does, and protecting your weapons with your children, which Hamas does.

It also will not do to point to the Muslim Kurds as friends to the Christians, as they have been. But those same Kurds, for the same reasons, are not hostile to Israel the way the radical jihadis are. There are 200,000 Jewish Kurds living in Israel. And the Kurds who have been providing safe haven for refugee Christians were trained by Israel.

There is, of course, more to say, but that will do for the present. A well done to Senator Cruz.

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Alan Stout
Member

When the Christians booed him at the conference there may have been some hatred for Israel, but it might also have been booing a foreign policy that puts Israel’s interests ahead of those Christians who live in countries where dictators kept a relative lid on decapitations. None of Israel’s enemies (with the exception of possibly Iran) are in a position to push them into the sea militarily even if they stopped hating each other long enough to work together to that end. Is Israel’s relative safety versus a purging of Christians from much of the Middle East a good trade… Read more »

Steven Wedgeworth
Guest
Steven Wedgeworth

I dunno. I watched it too, and it seemed like Cruz was presuming hostility very early on. He could have moved through any initial chatter but instead seemed to welcome the opportunity. Also, it wasn’t clear the precise nature of the objections from the audience– were they rejecting the “simple” part of the conversation, or did they feel than an unspoken implication was also being made, namely that they were wrong for opposing some or all of Israel’s political interests?

Matt Petersen
Guest
Matt Petersen

Yeah, the outrage is not “he said strong things in support of Israel” but “he used a platform designed to promote solidarity and unity among Christians to stump a divisive, jingoistic, message that many of the people in attendance did not agree with, and which was not related to the occasion.”

Jon L
Guest

Pastor Wilson, Perhaps you’re keeping it more simple than the situation merits. Early in his remarks, Cruz receives applause when mentioning unity “in defense of Jews,” but things took a turn when he began to lump that sentiment in with the state of Israel. It started downhill, when (2:25) he started in with “In 1948 …” and “Christians have no greater ally than the Jewish state.” From the perspective of Christians in the Middle East, whose lives have been destroyed by military destabilization of their entire existence, at the hands of the United States with the state of Israel cheering… Read more »

Katecho
Member

It does appear that Cruz expected a hostile reaction. It’s as if he had been tipped off that there was an element of hatred and hypocrisy within the audience, and that he just wanted to draw it out in the open and expose it. If that was his goal, he appeared to be brilliantly successful. I note that Cruz offered no defense of Israeli national policy, whatsoever. Contrary to Matthew Petersen’s specious remark about jingoism, Cruz advocated no particular foreign policy at all, let alone an aggressive one. Petersen is welcome to give us a quote from his address showing… Read more »

Daniel Alders
Guest
Daniel Alders

Katecho makes some excellent observations, particularly if this article was unread prior: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/09/12/Why-Ted-Cruz-Was-Right-to-Walk-Out-on-In-Defense-of-Christians-Conference Here’s a key quote from the above: Cruz had known exactly what he was doing. Indeed, he had read the article that had been published about the event just that day and which essentially repeated Frank Ghadry’s allegation that the conference organizers were close to Hezbollah. Whether Cruz ever contemplated withdrawing from the event is not certain, but what is clear is that he was keenly aware of the alleged links between the organizers of the event and Hezbollah, and he was not going to let that… Read more »

Allen
Guest
Allen

katecho – I’d say the big deal here is that the statement “Christians have no greater ally than the Jewish State” is indeed factually incorrect, since that state does not grant citizenship to Christians. The best allies Christians have had in Muslim-dominated areas have been governments controlled by secularists or religious minorities, since religious liberty has been politically necessary for those governments. Here’s an alternate perspective that goes into more detail: http://theden.tv/2014/09/16/ted-cruz-and-the-atrocious-anti-semitism-of-persecuted-christians/

RFB
Guest
RFB

Allen, After reading the linked article, I still think that katecho called it right. Telling Christians to stop hating is right and rational, and “but he has cooties, and they are Jooooo cooties” is no excuse. I carry no brief for the Nation of Israel; my faith is in The Israel of God. Nonetheless, if, as a Christian, I had to parachute into a country in the middle east and had to pick the one that would be the most survivable based upon keeping my head connected to my…nether regions, Israel is my number one pick. Do I want to… Read more »

Allen
Guest
Allen

RFB – I agree about where I’d want to land my parachute, too. But that’s rather different from having an ally.

Katecho
Member

Allen wrote: “I’d say the big deal here is that the statement “Christians have no greater ally than the Jewish State” is indeed factually incorrect, since that state does not grant citizenship to Christians.” Israel can have a goofed up policy regarding citizenship and still be the best ally of Christians in the region, since those are logically two different concepts. However, for the record, Israel actually does recognize Christians as citizens, and regularly grants citizenship to Christians of Jewish descent, or to Messianic Jews. Allen doesn’t actually name a secular state in the region that is a better ally… Read more »

Ellen
Guest
Ellen

The Christians from the Middle East are also citizens of various countries. I expect it can be very complicated for them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/opinion/sunday/ross-douthat-the-middle-easts-friendless-christians.html?_r=1

Barnabas
Guest
Barnabas

I agree with Allen’s own words as to why Assad might want to appear tolerant of Christian minorities. Allen said, “religious liberty has been politically necessary for those governments.” In other words, it happens to be politically expedient for Assad. Assad is, himself, from a Muslim minority. Israel is a true ally of Christians since they don’t behead them while accepting billions in military and financial aid from Christian countries ($11 million per day from the US) and maintaining an active espionage program against the United States. Assad actually protects Christians militarily when not actively prevented by U. S. armed… Read more »