Cruz Digs at Trump at AIPAC: As President I Will Not Be Neutral on Israel

Republican candidate tells Israel lobby's annual conference he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, veto any UN resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood outside context of talks.

Texas Senator and US Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz addresses the 2016 American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference at the Verizon Center March 21, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Texas Senator and US Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz addresses the 2016 American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference at the Verizon Center March 21, 2016 in Washington, DC. AFP

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, running second to Donald Trump in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, took aim at the front-runner in remarks to AIPAC’s annual conference.

In remarks to American Israel Public Affairs Committee activists in Washington, D.C., Monday night, Cruz said he would not remain neutral on Israel and would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — in contrast with positions Trump had adopted that earned criticism from some in the pro-community.

“Let me be very clear,” Cruz said. “As president I will not be neutral.”

Cruz’s broadsides, coming just after Trump had seemed to soften both positions in a well-received address to the conference, earned only polite applause.

Ted Cruz opened his speech by saying "God bless AIPAC, I am thrilled to be here today. Palestine has not existed since 1948."

Cruz reviewed his history of support for Israel in the Senate and criticized the Obama administration for its treatment of Israel in recent years, blasting the president for refusing to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a year ago when the Israeli leader spoke to Congress against the emerging Iran nuclear deal.

“We need a president who will be a champion for America, and we need a president who will be a champion for Israel,” Cruz said.

Cruz once again said he would “rip to shreds” the Iran deal and pledged to go to New York himself, as president, to veto any United Nations Security Council resolution that recognized Palestine as a state outside the context of talks with Israel.

“Indeed, I tell you today I will fly to New York to personally veto it myself,” Cruz said.